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.


Mother’s Day Post 2017

Happy Mother’s Day.  I’ve had a great day.  I hope that yours has been good too.  I saw my youngest grandson on Friday who was born on Thursday.  A really great Mother’s Day present.  I had dinner with my fiancée and his sister later that day.  He  cooked.  A present for his sister and I.  My son brought  flowers Friday when he picked me up for the visit with his son.  The flowers were from him and his oldest son, who came to see me today.  I went to the mall, later and bought a purse I had looked at a few months ago.  Got a great deal on it and a dress today.   Passed up another dress I really liked.  The cost.  It was cute. The son of a good friend from my secondary school days, was married yesterday, a happy Mother’s Day for her.

I wrote a youth baseball team into my children’s book, A Birthday Story.  It was named for a Negro Leagues Team the Detroit Stars who ended play in the 60’s.  The Negro Leagues were the teams owned and operated by Negroes/African-Americans.  Jackie Robinson played for Negro leagues teams before he was hired to play for the New York, Brooklyn Dodgers.   There is a Kansas City Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in  Kansas City, Missouri that honors this piece of African-American history.

Books for educators and writers:

Worth Writing About:  Exploring Memoir with Adolescents by Jake Wizner,, grades 6-10

Readers Writing:  Lessons for Responding to Narrative and Informational Text by Elizabeth Hale,, grades 6-10




The World’s Diversity

I’ve mentioned that in the publishing world, diversity is about those works that are culturally, ethnically, racially, gender and sexually varied from traditional books that are primarily about the same culture, gender and racial group.  The diversity category follows the natural world order that is filled with variety, in all aspects of life.
The World Wildlife Fund videos, speak to the diversity in  the natural world.  You can see and like their page on Facebook.  Put World Wildlife in your address bar and choose.

I copied my flyers and dropped them at Nobbies this week to start that phase of my advertising for the upcoming book signings.  The signings will be in June, the 1st weekend, the 3rd and 4th, and the following weekend., the 10th and the llth.

Found another blog I’d like to recommend, and another poet whose work I like, Krista Stevens.

Books I’ve found that the  writer in you  might like from  They market to teachers:

Close Writing:  Developing Purposeful Writers in Grades 2-6 by Paula Bourque, and

Conferring with Young Writers:  What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do by Kristin Ackerman and Jennifer McDonough.



Weeksworks Sharings

Good evening:

Want to let you know that I’ll be signing books at Nobbies Party SuperStore in June.  I’ve got four dates so far:  June 3rd and 4th, and June 10th and 11th.  A shout out to Store Manager,  Sara Gist for the hosting events.  The store location is 9999 University Avenue, Clive, IA.  I’ll keep the reminders coming.

A Birthday Story, my children’s book is selling. You should get your copy from, Barnes &, or in Des Moines, the independent book seller, Beaverdale Books on Beaverdale Avenue.

I  enjoyed a Fingerman Lecture earlier today.  The lecture was given by Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole.   I tried to put her picture into today’s post but the computer wouldn’t let me.  The lecture at the Des Moines Art Center, Levitt Auditorium, was entitled “My Love of Art:  A Lifelong Journey.”  A great way to spend a cold, rainy Sunday afternoon.  If she is speaking in your area go see her.  Her images/photos, stories of her family in the south, her work on the African continent,  her academic work,  and work as Director of the Smithsonian was engaging an interesting.

Here are the books for this week:

Sharing the Blue CrayonHow to Integrate Social, Emotional, and Literacy Learning by Mary Anne Buckley, for Grades K-3

Teaching Globally:  Reading the World through Literature, Edited by Kathy G. Short, Deanna Day, and Jean Schroeder, for Grades K-6





April 23, 2017

Habara gani!

I just reread last week’s blog.  Did you?  I hope so.  Despite the pronounced errors, it was a good blog.  Sorry for them.  I did spell check.  Today is another day to try again. To start, I’d like to add my condolences to the many that have been given to the family and friends of Caribbean poet, playwright Derek Walcott,  who died on March 17, 2017, at the age of 87.  Walcott was born and died on the island of St. Lucia.  He was a Nobel Prize winner for literature, whom I was introduced to through his play Dream on Monkey Mountain, which won an Obie Award.  The play was produced at the Cincinnati Playhouse Shelter House Theatre by Charles Holman.  In honor of the man and his work I present one of his poems, Mid-Summer,  Tobago

Broad sun-stoned beaches,

White heat.

A green river.

A bridge,

Scorched yellow palms

from the summer sleeping house

drowsing through August,

Days I have held,

Days I have lost,

days that outgrow,  like daughters,

My harboring arms.

Thanks to for reproducing the poem.

This week’s books from Stenhouse Publishers on teaching writing to children:  Sharing the Blue Crayon:  How to Integrate Social, Emotional, and Literacy Learning , by Mary Anne Buckley (Grades K-3);  Teaching Globally:  Reading the World Through Literature:  Edited by Kathy G. Short, Deanna Day, and Jean Schroeder, (Grades K-6).


On to the next project

Habari gani! Kuumba (Creativity):

I completed a book review for Confronting Slavery:  Breaking through the Corridors of Silence.  It was a project for which I was paid, so I can’t post it.  But,  I’d like to mention an argument that Alvin O. Thompson, the Caribbean  writer, writes about in the book.  It is of particular interest to me because I had a similar argument with a teacher, when I was in high school.  “Michael Dingwall, a Black Jamaican freelance writer… has argued forcefully that “slavery was good for the black man.”  In the book, Thompson continues to elucidate Dingwall’s argument.  He then counters with (and I’ve shortened it considerably),” …Dingwall demonstrates how little and/or ineffectively we have taught Black people about the horrors of New World slavery and its adverse impact on the development of post-slavery societies in this part of the universe…”

The Journal of African American History  (JAAH) Volume 102, No.1, Special Issue, Winter 2017,  published my review of  Ethelene Whitmire’s book about Regina Anderson Andrews:  Harlem Renaissance Librarian.  My copy came this week.

I told you about  my Amazon giveaway last week for my children’s book, A Birthday Story.  Write me and let me know if you received a posting on Facebook about it.  I requested that the announcement about it be sent to my Facebook friends.

I want to start a listing of works that I come across that I think my interest you.  I’ll list a couple each week for the next few weeks.  The first book  for grades K-5, is for teachers and is distributed by Stenhouse Publishers and entitled When Writers Drive the Workshop:  Honoring Young Voices and Bold Choices by Brian Kissel.  The second book Katie Egan Cunningham for grades K-8 is Story Still the Heart of Literacy Learning.

Well, on to the next project.


National Poetry Month

Habari gani!

April is National Poetry Month.  Visit a poetry site and read a poem.  I have one on Goodreads.  I would love for you to visit it and leave comments. also has a sit6e and here are some of the activities they suggest for the month:  tell students about the dear poet project; sign up for poem-a-day ( I suggest you begin with one by Maya Angelou).  Her poetry is inspiring. also suggest that you sign up for their monthly educator and weekly teach this poem newsletters and join in poem ion your pocket day on April 27th.

Announcement:  Dr. Johnetta B. Cole will be speaking in Des Moines on April 30th, 2017, 2:00 P.M. Levitt Auditorium, 4700 Grand Avenue, the Art Center.

The American Library Association has an article on its website entitled She’s Our Rock Star, about Carla Hayden, the 14th Librarian of Congress, and the first African American to the position.  She was appointed by former President Barack Obama.  You can also put her name into goggle search and read other articles about the Baltimore native.