Activist Honored

Habara Gani!  The news is about an activist visiting professor at Iowa State  University and DMACC (Des Moines Community College).   Simone Estes received an award for his efforts fighting malaria. The award was from the United Nations Foundation’s Nothing But Nets.  Mr. Estes,  a 79 year old bass baritone opera singer, says a July 18, 2017 article by Kelly McGowan in  the West Des Moines Register, was honored with a Lifetime Impact Award, and a Hall in his name at DMACC,  for raising more than $500,000.00 for the UN Foundation.

Courtney Crowder, writing in the Tuesday, June 20, 2017 issue of the West Des Moines Register, show cased the graffiti students of Movement 515 Color Codes, the graffiti workshop.  The students, Kenny “Sol” Tram and JJ “Zero” Emanuh, painted a mural “that featured images of labor leader Ceasar Chavez, author Maya Angelou and Civil Rights Activist Yuri Kochiyama.”  Why do people do graffiti? I once asked.  The workshop answer,  it’s art.

One more article from  a back issue of the West Des Moines Register.  Phil Roeder a Des Moines Public School writer,  wrote in a May 23, 2017 article  that students at Moulton Elementary School are studying Brazilian martial arts, in an after school program.  The Capoeira arts trace back to the 16th century and incorporates dance, acrobatics and music.

I submitted an application to review a children’s book for the “We Need Diversity Books” yesterday.  I reviewed for them last year.  Hope to be selected again this year.  I’m working on a poetry submission for a book of poetry and I’m selling A Birthday Story.

A Birthday Story is available on B&,, and Beaverdale








Habara gani!

I’ve already heard it a couple of times since yesterday, the first day of August – we only have 4 more months until the end of the year.   Not the exact words, but words to that effect.   The year has flown by.

I will be continuing my discussion. You  have not sent me any comments to engage in this discussion about readers of diversity books. The discussion started with comments about whether or not white readers should read books by white authors about whites.

Before the discussion I would like to note the death of  writer, actor Sam Shepard.  Condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.  Shepard wrote Buried Child a book for which he won the Pulitzer Prize, films, plays, and other novels.  Sam Shepard died on July 30, 2017 of ALS.

Last week I said that black is a color.  I said that it is a color because it is pigmented.  I said that there are colors that are pigmented and there are colors that are light waves.  I said that the primary colors (red, blue and yellow) are determined by the light wave test.  I said that the test is conducted with a white light.  I said that white is not one of the colors that is picked up by the light wave test.  I said that black is not one of the colors picked up by the light wave test.  I said that white, however, is said to be a color.  I said that black is said not to be a color.  I said  the reason for the color white being determined a color is because the light wave test uses a white light which separates into colors during the test.  The test therefore, determines the color white exists by using a white light.  Not from the test itself, but from the testor’s use of a white light that separates into colors.

LIGHT is the rays from the sun, also.  If the light waves/rays from the sun are blocked by clouds, buildings, trees, etc.  you get shadows or dark.  Dark is light’s opposite.  I said that last week.  You cannot have light and dark in the same space at the same time.  For the white light to have picked up black, the black would have had to be in the prism.  The prism is usually a diamond.  It, because it is a part of a test is probably the clearest and best diamond that can be used.  For it to have black in it, the prism/diamond would be flawed.  For black to be reflected in the prism,  the prism would be reflecting pigmented black not a wave.  Black is therefore, said to not be a color.  It does however, have a lot of colors in it, just like the white light that is used in the light test.  But, it is pigmented.  To get  pigmented black, I think you take pigmented dark colors, put them together and see if you don’t get something dark or close to black.  Not something white. I say if you use light colors, you will get dark light colors or light colors that stay the same color not lighter colors.

What is really interesting about how we deal with color is that, white is considered a color by artists, and scientists, etc.  If you randomly ask say your man on the street (smile), white probably will not be considered a color.  You can get into a fight, brawl, etc. over saying it is.

As I leave, I’d like to say I’m finish with this talk.  You should, in the words of Maulana Dr. Ron Karanga, however,  “rescue me if I am wrong” about my thoughts on the color situation, by putting your thoughts in the Comment section below, or on my Facebook Page, tweet me on Twitter, or send me and email.

A Birthday Story is my diversity book.  Sold one today.  p You can pick one up on, B&, or Beaverdale





Habara gani!  Another week and I am continuing the discussion, on the readers of diversity books.  Well!!!, because I haven’t receive any more comments from you,  my readers,  I think it is more of a talk by me.

Before I get to my continuing subject I want to recognize the passing of Mrs. Willie Stevenson Glanton on July 6, 2017.  Ms Glanton was Iowa’s first black female legislator who passed at age 95.  Originally from Hot Springs Ark., Willie Stevenson Glanton, was admitted to the Iowa State Bar Association in 1953.  She was the first black member of the Des Moines City Council on an interim basis in 1985 says Charly Hale, Des Moines West Register, July 18, 2017 and along with her many awards was inducted into the Iowa Women’s Hall of fame in 1966.  Condolences.

To continue – black exists.  My argument is that color is pigmented.  Those whose argument is that black does not exist,  base this argument on the light waves test.  I point out here that we have gone from pigment to light waves.  The light test is conducted with a white light.  The white light is passed through a prism that separates the white light into the primary colors.  The primary colors are red, blue and yellow.  The colors in the rainbow.  Those who say that black does not exist say that because black is not one of the colors that is separated by the prism from the white light.  Notice that white is not one of the primary colors separated by the prism.   White is named as a color, it is said, because it contains the other colors that are reflected from the light by the prism.  The opposite of light is dark.  You can’t have dark with light.  You turn on  light to remove dark.

White as a color is on the color palette.  Black as a color is on the color palette.  The color pallet is what artist use when they paint, or what paint companies might use, etc.  This is because they are pigmented.  All of the colors on the color pallet are pigmented.  Skin is pigmented.  The color exist in the object, the skin, not in the light that reveals the color.  The color of a light can be say red, you will see the red color over the color of the object.  Get a red light, and whatever color you are will be overlayed with the red.  It will not become only red.

Okay, I will stop here.  Discuss it with me for next week’s blog.  Use the reply area below this blog, or one of my links, facebook, twitter, linkedin.

A Birthday Story is my diversity children’s book that can be purchased online at, B&, and





Publishers Weekly,  July 3, 2017, Angie Thomas author of The Hate U Give, a YA (young adult) book states in an article written by Sue Corbett,  “A book I was so afraid of has touched so many people and more than that, has shattered so many myths.”  The word was books about black kids or with black people on he cover didn’t sell.  That black kids didn’t read.   But my book is showing that if we give them books they see themselves in, they will.”  I should mention that Thomas is African American.  Corbett says that four months after its release, The Hate U Give (Harper Collins/Balzer + Bray, Feb.) is in its 13th printing, with more than 200,000 copies in print. Everybody loved it:  The Hate U Give received eight starred reviews.  A film adaptation is in development at Fox 2000.

I’d like to add that with that many copies sold, there are probably other color readers buying her book.  Diversity books really will sale,  is the message I get from the quote.  It is also (the quote) in agreement with what Dr. Charmaine Wilkerson said in her Facebook comment that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago.

The negative message that is out there about diversity books then has another source.  It isn’t the readers, or the  sales.  Maybe it has to do with something else I’ve heard about, people who are black.  We don’t exist.  Why, because the color black does not exist. I first heard about the non-existence of the color black in a junior high art class.   I can and have defended the existence of black as a color.  I think my defense is on it, can’t be topped, can’t be proven wrong by those who are willing to go with the science and not their emotions and the need to be right.  I will post my argument  next week.  You can submit your argument for or against the existence of the color black in the mean time in my comment section below or on one of my links, Twitter, Facebook, Tumbler, Linked-In.

I’m going to stop here.  My information for the blog is piling up, but I’m, trying to keep the blog short.

My diversity book, I hope you will purchase between now and then also:  A Birthday Story.  It’s a children’s book.



Continuing Discussion on The Type of Readers Who Should Read Diversity Books.


Today is July 11, 2017 and it is time for this week’s post.  I want to start again with the continuing subject about diversity books. I did not receive any comments on last week’s post.  I hope you will comment this week as it helps the flow of the discussion.

As I said last week I write  diversity books.   In selling and promoting my current  book I run across individuals who don’t see the need for culturally distinct books.  I continue to write believing that these individuals are not the majority, and some of them will come around to an understanding of the need for all people and cultures to be represented in literature.  The thinking that in a diverse world there should only be one culture that is acceptable, seems to me to go against all that we see around us.  The earth, the universe is diverse. I have written in previous blogs, about teachers in schools, and professionals on jobs who also believe and are working to reflect this world in their  chosen areas.  I look for articles and materials that support this idea. I will continue to do this.  If you have articles, etc. that support the idea of diversity or the opposite idea of a world where only one culture should exist, I’d like to share it and examine it with my blog followers.

I try to keep it short.


White Readers, No Black Books.

I’ll begin by stating that I am an African American writer.  I write black books.  The blog title is a continuation of the blog from last week.  Same theme.  The theme is the result of a belief by some that white readers should not read black books.  I’m discussing this with the readers of this blog.  I’d like your comments (below) since I plan to continue on this subject as long as it is of interest and I can add interesting content.

Dr. Charmaine Wilkerson on June 29, 2017, commented on the topic on my  Facebook link – “I  think the books written for our children should be the foundation, and then they should read about others – once we know who we are.”  Dr. Wilkerson’s, is saying that children should get a foundation from the works they read, and that those books should help to give them a sense of themselves.  So black children should read black books and white children should read white books.  Once the foundation is laid, she says, they should read other books.  I agree about the reading of books that give you a sense of who you are.  I think that books that are diverse should be included in this reading as they will help to give you that sense of self as you see it in contrast with others.  Thank you Charmaine.

Webster’s New World Fourth Edition College Dictionary defines culture as the ideas, customs, skills passed along, as in or to succeeding generations; b) such as ideas, customs, etc. of a particular people, c) the particular people or group having such ideas, customs, etc.  The word culture is often  used with the assumption that everyone shares the same meaning.  I gave you the meaning so that when you see it used in this blog, you will know how it is being defined.

The Tuesday, June 6, 2017, edition of the Des Moines West Register’s front page story was about celebrating culture.  King elementary school celebrated the schools different cultures on May 25th, 2017.

As I leave – A Birthday Story, my divesity book is still available on,  at Beaverdale Books, and on and Barnes&




May 21, 2017 Blog Entry

Habara gani!

An email this past week from lee&, diversity book publishers, contained items I’m sharing today, along with other items I hope will pique your interest.

First, Rent Party Jazz, a video on YouTube about a rent party for a down on their luck African American family in “nuawleans” (New Orleans),  is a book  being read by triple crown of acting (Oscar, Emmy and Tony) winner Viola Davis, as part of the Online Collection of children’s stories that are being read by notables.  LeeandLow also shared the video in their email.

Second, there’s a survey, for teacher’s to use to determine the strengths and gaps in diversity in their class library collection.  The title of the survey is “How Diverse and Culturally Responsive Is Your Library.” 

The American Writers Museum, opened on May 16, 2017 at 180 N. Michigan Avenue, Ste. #505, Chicago, IL., according to the Chicago Tribune. 

(A personal note.  Writing this takes a lot of serious thinking about because of the widespread killings in Chicago.  The drive-bys especially appear to be aimless.  The Chicago Tribune reports that they are on their way to 700+ again this year.  They say they were in that range in 2015.  Well!!)

I asked readers to let me know if they had attempted to participate in my amazon give-a-way.  I understand from amazon that I got no taker’s.  So I wanted to know from you, WHY!!.  If you tried to be a participant, please let me know in the comment section.

I have been to the sites where my books can be purchased and found that you must use my name, Lana Jean Mitchell, when ordering the book online, because there are other works with the same title, “A Birthday Story.”  I also suggests if you are in Des Moines the weekends of June 3rd and 4th, and/or 10th and 11th,  join me at my book signings at Nobbies in Clive.  You can also pick up a book at Beaverdale Books in Beaverdale.

No books today from the Stenhouse catalogue.