Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH April 09

Vintage Argentina through My Father’s Lens

  Last year I published a small collection of color slides taken by my father in 1983 or ’84 during a trip to the Andes region of Argentina. These slides turned up in a plastic box I’d squared away among my mother’s things following her death. It never occurred to me that a mundane storage […]

Image March 28

Kids Like to Write About These Six Things

Thank goodness for the Hardy Boys mysteries or my husband might never have cared about books. He and his identical twin, both of whom grew up to succeed in technical professions, got off to a rocky start in first grade because they couldn’t crack this thing called reading. By second grade, it had finally clicked, […]

IMG_0376 March 12

Dear Eleanor Estes: An Homage to a Children’s Classic

Dear Eleanor Estes: Your book, The Hundred Dresses, came out in 1944, eleven years before I first saw the light of day. This leads me to wonder: how did you presage my heart so well? Gosh, even now your characters are like honest-to-goodness girls in my third-grade class. Some of them are practically me.  I […]

Ch8JLJobitWeb February 16

Jimmie Lee Jackson, A Civil Rights Martyr

February 18th is the anniversary of a milepost event in the history of the Civil Rights Movement. It occurred in my hometown of Marion, Alabama, in 1965. On that night, a 26-year-old protestor named Jimmie Lee Jackson was shot by an Alabama state trooper. He died eight days later. His death and the official exoneration […]

What’s Going On in Multi Culti Lit: The librarians speak

Originally posted on Meg Medina's Blog:
What’s going on in multicultural lit?  This month, the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) at the University of Wisconsin is opening a discussion by posting its latest data on diverse literature – and by reading two novels involving Native American culture:  How I Became a Ghost (Tingle) and If…

Reel January 31

Civil Rights March Home Movie

This is the footage that my father took of Civil Rights marchers in my hometown of Marion, Alabama, during February 1965. The exact date of this home movie is uncertain. All the scenes take place around the town square, with Perry County Courthouse at the center and  Zion United Methodist Church across the street. You […]

Darkroom counter December 07

My Father’s Photography

My father’s cameras took him to all sorts of places: weddings, school events, and a darkened street corner where a dangerous mob ensured no photographs would survive the night.  Throughout Darkroom, you can find images of my father with camera in hand and a sampling of his photos replicated in pencil and ink. In this […]

Lila bed reading October 20

How One Latino Family Raised Readers

How can anyone become a writer if she is not first a reader? I owe my love of books to my mom and dad, who put us kids on the road to literacy through conscious and not-so-conscious means. The fact that we were Latinos was beside the point. My parents believed that literacy was the […]

IMG_0022 September 18

Retrieving Memories, A Challenge for the Memoirist

You are probably wondering what the heck this bird, a brown thrasher, has to do with memoir. Good! The writer and teacher Marion Roach Smith, author of four books, including The Memoir Project: A Thoroughly Non-Standard Text for Writing and Life, invited me to contribute a guest post to her blog on writing lessons, a […]

IMG_0032 September 04

Of Books and Soundtracks

My book comes with a soundtrack of sorts—not the kind you can pop into a CD player, but one evoked by musical references. “We Shall Overcome” enters in Chapter Four, excerpted below, as a cut on my sister’s Joan Baez album. Later in the book, it reappears as the song that marchers used to fortify […]


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