Come see me!

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I love you, Central Florida. Please come hang out with me today, 2 p.m. at Writer’s Block bookstore, 124 E. Welbourne Ave., Winter Park.

Today I’m celebrating the release of my new book, Jada Sly, Artist & Spy. I would love to share my story of perseverance with your kids as I discuss how I turned my lifelong dream of being an author/illustrator into reality.

Jada Sly is a book that has fun, intrigue and adventure. It also deals with complex issues of loss, grief and anxiety. It’s a great story and a fast-paced read. So bring the kids and come get the perfect book for your child’s summer reading.

THE SPIDER-VERSE

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“One of the best movies I’ve ever seen. Not just a must-see, but a must see again.”

Spiderman : Into the Spider-Verse    

Photo represents art from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Found on this website https://kotaku.com/the-art-of-spider-man-into-the-spider-verse-1831137867

If you’re into stunningly vivid artwork, jaw-dropping action, and a story that feels real and honest, Into the Spider-Verse is the movie to see. 

I saw it in 4D-X or something like that. Let me tell you, ladies you’re gonna need your strongest foundation garments! It was like watching a movie on a rollercoaster. Seeing the movie in 4D is a next-level sensory experience. 

The visuals in this movie were mind-bending. And as a mama of color, seeing that movie with my family and seeing the larger-than-life images of people of color reflected back on their faces, it warmed my soul. See the movie! 

History Is Made

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On Tuesday, Feb. 6, my nephew and I watched history being made when SpaceX launched into outer space.

Daelyn, my nephew, is a 17-year-old high school junior. I’ve been telling that boy he was a natural-born engineer since he was seven or eight. Did he listen to me? Noooo! Then along comes Elon Musk. Now the kid is monitoring the NASA website and reading about astrophysics, astronomy and, you guessed it—engineering.43B4868C-CF19-4D87-ABDC-6A7EE532CEEC

We waited from 11:30 am until 3:45 pm. A community of history-seeking sky gazers shared our experience on a rocky lip of land that overlooked a slip of Intracoastal water separating us from the Space Center. People of all ages and ethnicities strolled, chatted, sunbathed, snacked, read and prepped their cameras. All in anticipation of the launch.

Daelyn and I sat in canvas chairs. His youthful energy was a stark contrast to my need for a nap. Still, he looked over, face gleaming in the sunlight, and said, “This is it. We did pretty good, huh?”

Right now I am officially his BAE—Best Aunt Ever.

 

DARK PHOENIX

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DARK PHOENIX TELLS THE STORY OF JEAN GREY AND HOW HER ABSORPTION OF AN ALIEN POWER TRANSFORM HER NATURE AND HER WORLD–IMAGE COURTESY OF MOVIEWEB.COM

Reviews for the latest installment of X-Men Dark Phoenix were not kind. I was never a huge X-Men fan and was especially unimpressed with the taciturn, fractious nature of one of their lead female characters, Jean Grey. So when I heard the poor reviews for this latest film featuring the backstory of Grey, it did not inspire me to pay hefty movie fees for a night out.

However, my daughter and nephew wanted to see it. My sister, too. Who was I to say otherwise? Heck, if nothing else, I’d get popcorn and a few hours away from the scornful glares from my fractious and taciturn cat.

Ah, yes. My assessment of the movie. Here it is:

Dark Phoenix was a fun, bright, loud, fiery spectacle. Grey (played by smoldering actress Sophie Turner Jonas) became imbued with a power she couldn’t control and gained knowledge she was never supposed to possess.

Look, when I was a newspaper columnist at the Sun-Sentinel newspaper in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. I did my fair share of movie reviews. It taught me one thing–don’t EVER base your decision to see or not to see a movie on one or two dyspeptic reviewers. What I wrote as a reviewer on any given day was as much about my mood that day as it was on the merits of a film. Any reviewer who claims otherwise is liar-liar pants on fire.

Okay, I’ve talked long enough. Dark Phoenix is the perfect intro to the season of summer popcorn movies. If you’re into superhero sh%& and want to see a woman float through air and crush the souls of several condescending males, lace up your Wonder Woman bustier, slip on your boots and cape and get thee to the theater. Go. I mean it. GO!

A DREAM COME TRUE

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In a few short weeks the culmination of 10 years work, and a life’s worth of hoping and praying will come true:

My first novel illustrated by me!

Jada Sly, Artist & Spy releases on May 14. I am so excited and amazed and a bunch of other stuff.

Jada is a 10-year old wannabe spy who returns to her birthplace—New York City—after her mom dies in an accident. Or did she? Convinced her mother is alive, Jada uses the move back to The City to prove her father is wrong and her mother Is alive. Can she succeed? Or will her mission crash and burn?

In the Classroom (and Anywhere for that Matter): We MUST Do Better, Fellow White People — educating alice

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From Teaching Tolerance: Slavery Simulations: Just Don’t We’re saddened by the news of yet another classroom lesson on slavery involving a troubling simulation—but we’re not surprised. Our research has shown some common pitfalls when teaching and learning about slavery. In this edition of The Moment, we explain why mock auctions—along with simulations of the Middle […]

In the Classroom (and Anywhere for that Matter): We MUST Do Better, Fellow White People — educating alice

PRAYING FOR DEMI

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Addiction.

It sucks!

I wanted to be all poetic and throw in some amazing metaphors and similes, but, alas, ‘it sucks’ is all I’ve got.

Beautiful, soulful singer, Demi Lavato,, 25, was rushed to the hospital after a reported drug overdose Tuesday. Of course, the Twitter-sphere and other social platform are abuzz, feeding on whatever cadaverous nuggets of flesh the singer’s misfortune may have left behind.

That sucks, too.

My kids grew up on the Miley generation of the Disney Channel, which included That’s So Raven, The Cheetah Girls and the star platform for Demi, Camp Rock. The endearing brunette had an open smile and a voice that would elevate her above the bulk of her Disney peers.

And even then, she had her demons.

I’m not sure what happened this week in Los Angeles, but it was bad. A young woman who has struggled with past demons found herself in a nightmare. I want to pray for her not because she is a pop star or famous, or because she’s wealthy and beautiful and gifted. But because despite all of those things she is human, vulnerable and hurting.

I pray that she can forgive herself and love herself enough to take the blessing that was given to her in the form of not dying during her incident. I’m rooting for you, Demi. As a human, as a mom, as a fellow being on this imperfect earth, I am rooting. For. You.

A Writer’s Delight!

Stories
    Serendipity is a beautiful thing!

An unexpected email led to a delightful afternoon.

Hometown grandmother Nancy knew I grew up in Michigan and wondered if I’d autograph a book for her granddaughter visiting from Washington state. Then she realized I now lived in Florida. She expressed how much her daughter loved her new book, President of the Whole Sixth Grade—Girl Code.

Well, just so happened I was in Michigan for the wonderful author-illustrator experience, Nerd Camp, in Parma, Michigan. I reached out to Nancy, set a date, and it was on.

Meeting Nancy and Sarah was a true highlight to my week. Sarah, 10, was adorable and very smart. We sat around chatting like ladies who lunch.

Divine!

And if that wasn’t enough of the serendipity sauce, Nancy brought along a friend—my middle school civics teacher whose habit of teaching us to read newspapers in her classroom directly led to the plot of the third book in the President series—Mrs. Western. Now, I’m sure the woman has a first name but I still feel like raising my hand when I see her so I didn’t ask.

Thanks Sarah and Nancy for renewing my understanding of why I write stories for children. Your kind words motivated me to carry on. And thank you, truly, to Mrs. Western, whose caring yet no-nonsense teaching style helped open my eyes to the world around me, inspiring me to see greater and be greater. Thank you, ladies for a wonderful day.

WHO’S WATCHING THE CHILDREN?

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Getty Images Collection/Nazi Rally led by Adolf Hitler

We are being led astray.

Since May, the United States government have detained almost 1,500 parents or guardians at the southern border and separated them from almost 2,000 children. It is disgusting.

According to a report by CNN, Department of Homeland Security spokesman Jonathan Hoffman defended the policy during a conference call to  reporters. Hoffman declared that the administration was following its new policy of charging 100 percent of the people caught crossing our borders.

Since the government is charging the parents, they claim the legal right to separate them from their children—then warehousing the babies, toddlers and teens in, according to CBS Late Show host Steve Colbert, abandoned Walmarts.

You know what, America, Adolf Hitler and the Nazi movement mesmerized Germans, convincing them that they’d gotten a raw deal with World War I. With each advancement of the Nazis, Hitler declared it a point of national pride, a way for all Germans to feel empowered after being mistreated by the entire world.

Make America Great Again.

Sound familiar?

As Colbert stated in his broadcast, in honor of Father’s Day, ask yourself, “What can I do to reunite these children with their fathers?”

If you’re uncertain who your representative is, got to house.gov. We’re on our phones all the time anyway. It’s time to step away from Candy Crush, and crush something that matters. In the name of all that is honest, decent and right, we are Americans people. And we cannot let this stand.

Call.

U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 224-3121
TTY: (202)-225-1904

 

 

FIRST LADY OF SAN FRANCISCO

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London Breed, 42, was elected mayor of San Francisco! Woo-hoo! She is exactly the type of candidate Brianna Justice (President of the Whole Fifth Grade, President of the Whole Sixth Grade, and Girl Code) would support.

Breed, 43, is the first African American woman to hold the City’s top job. She is an enigmatic woman who grew up in one of the city’s low-income housing projects. Now she will occupy the grand office, providing hope to young women and young men across the country.

In a San Francisco Chronicle article, Breed was quoted as saying:

“I grew up in some of the most challenging of circumstances. The message that this sends to the next generation of young people growing up in this city is that no matter where you come from, no matter what you decide to do in life, you can do anything you want to do. Never let your circumstances determine your outcome in life.”