Annual African American Read-In: Book of Addis: Cradled Embers

African American Read-InOn February 22, in honor of African American History Month, Broad Run High School‘s English Department and chapter of National English Honor Society hosted the school’s fourth annual African American Read-In.

As the guests settled into their seats in the auditorium and the lights dimmed, the program began. The event opened with a recitation of the Black National Anthem. Following the anthem and an opening by an English teacher, Tilly Blanding, a local community leader, sang Wade in the Water, and encouraged the audience to sing along as well. Her voice rang through the auditorium and settled in our ears. Shortly after her beautiful performance, the Broad Run’s Step Team, Triumphant, danced grandly. Each step filled the air with empowerment. Each call impressed the audience. They were truly stellar.Mrs. Michele Evans, the coordinator for the event and an English teacher at Broad Run, introduced the main guest speaker, Brooke C. Obie. Obie began by talking about her journey. As a child, she craved for the praise of those around her. She wanted to do something amazing, so that she could leave a positive influence on society. She decided to become the first female, African-American Supreme Court Justice. She would eventually go to law school at Mercer University where she was the Eleventh Circuit Survey Editor for the Mercer Law Review. Obie mentioned that while she was at Mercer University, she worked on the defense team for several cases, including the US vs. Harris case. Obie said that while working on those cases, she realized that this wasn’t the way she wanted to change the world. She would eventually come upon writing fiction again after a long time. Obie read a few pages of her book, Book of Addis: Cradled Embers, to the audience. Her words resounded within the auditorium as we were brought into the world of Addis. Those few pages left us wanting more of the empowering book about a girl escaping her enslaver.

The program then transitioned so students and teachers could share their original pieces, and the work of some African-Americans whom they enjoy. There were poems, musical performances, and excerpts from books—all of which were amazing. The students and teachers truly displayed their emotions during the entire program. Finally, the event ended the way it began with the Broad Run chorus singing Wade in the Water.

It was an outstanding night. Voices echoed throughout the auditorium as the students and staff painted beautiful, and vivid images into our minds. The food, which was served after the program, melted into our mouths leaving us craving more. That night, tears and laughter roamed the halls of Broad Run.

Aazeen Bashir
Psi Epsilon Nu (PEN) Chapter
Broad Run High School, Ashburn, VA

Promoting Diversity: The African American Read-In

AARIIn February,  the National English Honor Society (NEHS) Cardinal Chapter at Chippewa Falls Senior High School participated in the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) sponsored African American Read-In. Members prepared for the event beginning in early February, which was also African American History Month.

After researching several African American writers’ websites, members created a shared slideshow that highlighted  those authors. The slideshow was shared within some of our school’s English classes along with being included as part of our school’s digital daily announcements. The members then met for an official “Read-In Day” on February 14  to share their slides and to listen to Ms. Ambelang, our school librarian, read aloud from Jacqueline Woodson’s  book Show Me. Over twenty members participated in the Read-In, and we sent our number count to the official Read-In count.

AARI Show Me

To further the event, other members created a library window display highlighting the books of these same authors. This was a great way to learn more about these authors while sharing our learning with others.

AARI Library WindowOur Read-In slideshow already has made a difference with at least one of my students. Last week, after I had used the slideshow to teach students about some of these amazing authors, a student emailed me to report overhearing racial slurs that another student in our school had said to one of her close friends. The reporting student told me she was inspired by learning about these authors and felt comfortable reporting this event to me. The power of literature!

How did your chapter participate in the African American Read-In?

PBowePam Bowe
Cardinal Chapter, Co-Advisor
Chippewa Falls Senior High School, Chippewa Falls, WI

How to Serve Books With Cookies

How to Serve Books with CookiesFor our annual Holiday Literacy Celebration this year, Saint Mary’s Hall‘s National English Honor Society chapter, the Charles Dickens Chapter, hosted the Boys and Girls Club for a night of cookie decorating and reading. From the moment they spilled out of their school bus, the children had smiles stretched across their faces, enthusiastic about their new adventure. Stacking their plates with pizza slices, our guests eagerly inquired about our plans for the night. I spent most of my time with two brothers, Marquel and Marquo, chatting about baseball, sugar, and mushrooms.

Holiday Literacy CelebrationAfter munching down their dinner, the children were split up by gender, the gals decorating sugar cookies with Christmas trees and flowers, while the boys visited our guest reader, Miss Anastasia. Enthralled by her animated character voices and facial expressions, the children giggled and gasped at just the right times during the plots of Bad Kitty and Poor Puppy. When one member appeared in a Bad Kitty costume, the kids absolutely exploded with excitement, hugging and running around with their new favorite character. The girls spent some time in the world of Bad Kitty next, while the boys turned their cookies into sprinkle cakes and famous basketball jerseys.

Holiday Literacy CelebrationAfter bagging up extra cookies for the ride home, each of the children chose their own book, which we purchased with our chapter’s bake sale profits. As the children loaded onto the bus, they held their new books to their chests, arguing about who loves Bad Kitty more—and believe it or not, their smiles had even grown a little bit wider.

How does your chapter promote literacy and engage with your community?

Emery Wright
Charles Dickens Chapter, President
Saint Mary’s Hall, San Antonio, TX