November – Native American Heritage Month

Correction from last post:

Sherman Alexie, was not the poet from whom I learn about November being Native American Heritage Month.  I owe a thanks to Winona LaDuke for that information.

November is Native American Heritage Month said Winona LaDuke”  in an article titled “I am Tired of Being Invisible to you all” –  Inforum,,  November 11, 2017.  LaDuke, an Ojibwe writer and an economist on Minnesota’s White Earth Reservation is also an executive director of Honor the Earth.

Simon Moya-Smith, CNN Opinion, “Some uncomfortable Truths about Thanksgiving” tells the story of the naming of November as Native American Heritage Month.  Simon is a citizen of the Ogala Lakota Nation and culture editor at Indian Country Today.  In 1990 President George H.W.  Bush decreed November as Native American Heritage Month.  George W. Bush signed into law legislation by Congressman Joe Bach designating the Friday after Thanksgiving, Native American Heritage Day – October 8, 2008.  See the CNN Opinion site for additional information.

Multicultural Children’s Book Day (MCCBD) – January 27, 2018

Multicultural Children’s Book Day,  an online event that 1) “works” to get the books of multicultural authors reviewed and;

2) to get free diversity children’s books into the hands of young readers.  Multicultural Children’s Book Day is January 27, 2018.  See more information on multiculturalchildren’s

Women and Children First

Women and Children First’s Annual Wishing Tree Kick-off & Storytime Book Drive starts, December 2nd 11:15 a.m. to December 22nd.  The event’s goal is to put diverse books in the hands of area elementary school students.  If you are in Chicago drop by the store at, 5233 N. Clark Street, 773-769-9299, Chicago, Ill.

  A Birthday Story is my diversity book that would fit with their goal.  (smile)


Simmons College, Boston, Massachusetts has renamed the College of Media, Arts and Humanities in memory of Journalist and Alumna Gwen Ifill. Ifill died in 2016.  Gwen joined Public Broadcasting System(PBS) in 1999 were she was working when she died.  A co-anchor of the News Hour moderator of  Washington Week, Ifill was the author of the nonfiction book The Breakthrough Politics and Race in the Age of Obama.  Simmons College President Helen Drinan in her announcement renaming the college said, Gwen’s example of leading a meaningful life and building a successful career stands tall in the mission of Simmons.  She further honored Gwen by stating “We are extraordinarily proud of her and so pleased to formalize her legacy at Simmons this way.”


My condolences to the friends, family, and Ojibwe people of Warrior Dennis Banks, co-founder of the American Indian Movement (AIM) and Civil Rights Leader, who on October 31, 2017, at the age of 80 years, died of complications from pneumonia after open heart surgery. “One of the most influential Indian leaders of our time-” Tevye.   (KOS Liberation League) and – Ojibwe Warrior American Indian Movement Co-Founder And Civil rights Leader Dennis Banks Has Died, Tevye, Tues. Oct. 31, 2017.







Happy Holidays!

“Black Friday”, has become as big as some holidays. . .C. D. Wright’s poem is a good fit for this post since I’m also discussing poetry.

“Poetry seems especially

like nothing else. 

Poetry is not like,

it is the very lining

of the inner life.”  C. D. Wright


Black Friday

I started this post yesterday,  November 24, 2017, “Black Friday”, a commercial day that has become as big as some holidays.  I want to mention,  before I get into that short discussion, however, about the poem above by C. D. Wright, which I received on a post card from the Academy of American Poets, with the greetings “Happy Holidays”. It, C. D. Wright’s poem,  is a good fit for this post since I’m also discussing poetry.

The term “Black Friday” according to an article in the, was first used in a New York Times article in 1870.  The 11/23/ article by Hilery Stout, “Why Do We Call It ‘Black Friday?” also discussed other uses of the word black in reference to days.  A good read.  “Black Friday” has changed since the first Times article, from a day with a negative meaning,  to a day when businesses, professionals, etc.  celebrate the end of the day,  if they  are in the black or have made money.

I came across a poem “Happy Holiday” by Sherman Alexis, a Coeur d’Alene Native American in Washington, state which asks, “Do Indians Celebrate Thanksgiving?”  Alexis says in the poem, he gets the question a lot.  I found the poem on or put his name in your address bar and you can probably get it.  Sherman says that “Black Friday” falls on Native American Heritage Day.  Good to know Sherman.  Thanks.

Shop Local

Today is another day to help small businesses.  I was selling A Birthday Story, my children’s book in Beaverdale Books, an independent bookstore yesterday.  John Warner, Biblioracle, a feature in the Chicago Tribune, says “When you buy at a local business, think of it as buying not one gift, but three:”  the recipient, the business from which you purchased, and you, because the stores remain part of the community for the “foreseeable future.”

Spirit Sampling

Spirit Sampling, the title of my manuscript that I submitted to The 17th A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize.  The winner will be announced in the spring.  Will be back with you with the name at that time.

Showcasing – Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder wrote the lyrics to the songs on Talking Book, a cd that I picked up last week.  I’m a fan of Wonder’s and like Talking Book, and most of his recordings, a lot of which are like poems to music.  Stevie was born blind in May of 1950.  He won 15 grammy awards during the 1970’s, which says that others like his music too, especially Jeff Beck on drums.  On the Arts & Literature section they talk about his many hits, his signing to Motown Records in 1961, the fact that he is father of seven and his work with Mrs. Coretta Scott King, to establish the federal holiday to honour Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He released “Happy Birthday”, which became a hit, and celebrated Dr. King’s birthday.  also has information about his life.


Condolences to the family, friends and fans of Della Reese, Singer and Actor who died this past week at 86 years old.  Della Reese  played an angel on the T.V. series Touched By and Angel, and received four grammy nominations, seven consecutive NAACP Imaage Awards and 1998 Golden Globe nod.  Win she passed she was the pastor of “Understanding Principles for Better Living,” church.

Habari Gani!!


Habari Gani (What’s the News)

Habari Gani (What’s the News) – “Our crown has already been bought and paid for. All we have to do is wear it.” James Baldwin.

“Our crown has already been bought and paid for.  All we have to do is wear it.”  James Baldwin.

It has been a busy time since I last posted.  I’ve been selling A Birthday Story and preparing a poetry manuscript. ( I mentioned the poetry competition last week.)  The books I sold  for gifts to some young people who are in a YMCA program. A member of the Y’s  AARP Silver Slippers  program, a fitness program for seniors, thought the group of seniors could provide books for the children. This group is continuing to pay for the crown that Baldwin talks about.   You can get more information about the Silver Slippers program at

The poetry manuscript is being prepared for the 17th Annual A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize.  The deadline for submission for the competition is the end of this month, November 30, 2017.  I will know the winner, spring 2018. Wish me luck.  I will tell you the winner when I find out.

CABA – Children’s Africana Book Awards

Africana Access and the Outreach Council of the African Studies Assn. (ASA) presented its 25th CABA – Children’s Africana Book Awards on 10/31/2017.  The award is given to the authors and illustrators of the best children’s and young adult books on Africa published or republished in the U.S.  The awards were created by Africana Access and the ASA to encourage the publication and use of accurate, balanced children’s materials about Africa.

Booklife Prize – 2017

The seven finalists for the 2017 BookLife Prize have been announced. OK, Booklife first. is a blog for self-published authors.  It was previously posted on the  Publisher’s weekly blog.  It now has its own site.  Booklife is awarding $5,000.00 to the grand prize winner of its competiton to be announced December 18, 2017.  The seven book finalists  are six novels and a memoir.  The categories and authors are General fiction, A Hundred Veils by Rea Keech, Mystery/Thriller, Face Value by Ian Andrew, Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror Transference, Kate Jonuska, Romance/Erotica, A Scandelous Matter, by Margaret Locke,  Memoir, Beautiful Hero by Jennifer Lan, YA (Young Adult) Faithful and Devoted by Jenna Rose Robbins and Middle Grade, The Accidental Pirate by Denise Dugan.  The BookLife judges or guest judges who are  award winners or best-selling authors.

The Great Cursive Writing Debate:  Lost Art or Vital Skill?

Then there’s this debate about cursive writing that I know those of you who are my age or older or somewhat younger, are sure to be interested in.  Kelly Gurnettt, a writer for “The Write Life, wrote about the debate on “The Write Life .com.  If you would like to join the debate go there and comment.

Showcasing:  Freedom’s Journal 

First African-American owned and operated newspaper published in the United States.  The journal was a weekly tabloid founded by Rev. Peter Williams, Jr. and other free black men in New York City according to  The first issue was published March 16, 1827.  The founders of the journal selected Samuel Cornish and John B. Russwurm as senior and junior editors.  Russwurm and Cornish were community activists.  African American journalists irvine Gaarland Penn says that Cornish and Russwurm’s objective with the journal was to oppose New York newspapers that attached African-Americans and encouraged slavery.

Colin Kaepernick Signs a $1 Million+ Book Deal with “One World.”

Colin Kaepernick, football quarterback signed a one million dollar plus book deal with Random House imprint “One World”.  The former San Francisco 49ers player was signed by Editor-in-Chief for “One World” Chris Jackson.  “One World” was relaunched by Jackson after several years of inactivity says Wiki-leaks.  Its initial launch in 1992 met the demand for books telling stories written by and featuring African-Americans.  Jackson with his new title is currently the most powerful black man in mainstream publishing.  Troy Johnson,

Buy books for gifts this season.  They can also  be learning “toys.”  I will be reading and signing at Beaverdale Books on “Black Friday” between 11:00a.m. and 1:00 p.m.  Come and listen.  I was by the store today and there were mountains of books.

Comments at the bottom please.

Lana Jean Mitchell










“Why Reading for Self-Care Is The Perfect Way to Unplug, Even If You Hate The Idea Of Self-Care”

Habara Gani!!

Bustle Magazine published the Sadie Trombetta article that is the title for this blog,  in a November 7, 2017 post.  It’s an article that as an author/writer I’m recommending because I agree that self-care is one of the benefits of reading.   Read the full article on I shared it on my Facebook page also.

“Jackson Elementary bench honors beloved principal”

Another thing about reading is that you can do it almost any place.  The family of former principal Robert Langbehn commissioned a bench in his honor at Jackson Elementary school to “serve as something of an outdoor library”, according to Michael Wellman, in an article for the Des Moines West Register.   The bench features slats designed to resemble book spines.  The area where the bench has been placed will also have “Two Little Free Libraries” when it is complete.  Mr. Langbehn who has been resting in peace since 2016 has been remembered with this “piece of art” that will provide a resting place where  students and staff at the school can read.

“New York University Study Shows Diversity in Schools Has Positive Impact on Student Achievement.”

A report by David E. Kirkland and Joy L. Sanzone  posted on, says  that a “New York University Study Shows Diversity in Schools Has Positive Impact on Student Achievement”.  One of my blog post last year discussed the importance of diversity to student achievement, and thus the need for diversity in literature.

The title of the report by the metropolitan center for Research on Equity and Transformation of Schools at New York University, is Separate But Unequal:  A Comparison of Unequal Outcomes in New York City’s Most and Least Diverse Schools.  David E. Kirkland, the lead author for the report, said that the data analyzed, suggests that increasing equity in New York city schools, significantly decreases gaps in some student outcomes such as high school graduation.  New York plans to stimulate the diversity in its schools, which can pay off for its most vulnerable students.

Showcasing: “Civil Rights Icon Roger Wilkins Honored with Building at George Mason University”

Angela Cabrera, President of George Mason University, announced the naming of North Plaza at the university, in honor of Roger Wilkens, a former long-time faculty member who died this past March.’s post said that Wilkens’ served as a special assistant to the director of the Agency for International Development during the Kennedy Administration.  In 1965, he was appointed an assistant attorney general by President Johnson.  Wilken’s was author of Jefferson’s Pillow:  The Founding Fathers and the Dilemma of Black Patriotism  ( Beacon Press, 2001.)  Roger Wilken’s was a native of Kansas City, Missouri.  He moved to Harlem at the age of 9 and later settled in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Wilken’s earned a Bachelor’s degree and a law degree at the University of Michigan.

The season’s for gift giving are here.  Please remember that books are good gifts for the young and for helping them to achieve.  I recommend my children’s book, A Birthday Story.  I replenished my supply for sale this week.  Please consider the Kwanzaa stamp to recognize the Kwanzaa celebration.

Until next post.

October – National Bully Prevention Month

A fun children’s poem about being yourself, by Rolli: “The oughtabees are circling! One’s sitting on my chin! Don’t listen to a word they say! Don’t let their poison in!”

via Poem For Children: Oughtabees — Discover

I’m sharing the above poem by Rolli,  to honor National Bully Prevention Month which was initiated by Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center, in October, 2006.  This poem is dedicated to all of those who are children, or were children who have ever felt bullied or who have been bullied.

The Bullying Prevention Center

The Bullying Prevention Center’s motto for the month is “Stop Picking On Me” by Pat Thomas and Lesley Harker.   Over a decade old the Center list four books to help with the problem of bullying: The Power of Validation, Arming Your Child against Bullying; Peer Pressure, Addiction, Self-Harm and Out-of-Control Emotions by Karyn D. Hall and Melissa Cook:  Bully Busters and Beyond:  9 Treasures to Self-Confidence, Self-Esteem, and Strength of Character (Morgan James Kids) by Master Phil Nguyen and What YOU Can Do About Bullying by Max and Zoey: Second Edition by Ari Magnusson and Greg Marathas.

The Center’s observance is timely given the increasing revelations of sexual abuse, predominantly by men, in places of importance.

National Author Day – November 1st, 1949

November has started. Today is the second day of the month, and it is the day after National Author Day, which falls on the first day.

National Author Day was made an official holiday by the United States Department of Commerce in 1949.  The day was initiated by Nellie Verne Burt McPherson a teacher , avid reader and President of the Bement, Illinois Women’s Club.

“Gazing into Rawling’s World”

Gazing into Rawling’s World” by Jeremy Mikula is a “fun, fact filled book that takes readers on a tour through Hogwarts’curriculum” according to its author.   The book serves as a preview to the British Library’s new exhibition, “Harry Potter:  A History of Magic.”  The exhibition will be in the New York Historical Society next fall, says the article in the Chicago Tribune Life & Style, section 6.

The book is a tour through the Hogwarts curriculum – Potions, Herbology, Charms, Astronomy, Divination, Defense Against the Dark Arts, and Care of Magical Creatures.  It explores the professors who teach the subjects and some of the historical origins for items and  characters.

Create Space Is Closing

Mercy Pilkington Publishers’ Weekly,  on informed readers that CreateSpace Is Closing. CreateSpace, a print-on-demand solution online bookstore, carries the amazon trade mark and is owned by amazon.  Indie authors who published through CreateSpace have until April 30, 2018, at their current sales rate.   The amazon paperback sales rate of 60% will apply to all paperback sales on Amazon after that date.  Other customers who produced other forms of consumable media, videos for example,  through CreateSpace will also be affected by the closing.

How Southern Socialites Rewrote Civil War History

The United Daughters of the Confederacy (TUDC) altered the South’s memory of the Civil War.  Coleman Lowndes, in a or YouTube video, says the books were updated by the TUDC.   Lowndes added that TUDC changed history “and they did it without the vote.”  The right to vote had not been won by women during the period of the history’s rewriting.  Formed in 1894, the (TUDC) led the effort of the “Lost Cause” (The rewriting of the history of the Civil War.)  The campaign or effort portrayed Confederate leaders and soldiers as heroic, targeting the minds and identities of children growing up in the South so they would develop a personal attachement to the Confederate cause.  Extremely influential, they lobbied local governmnets to erect memorials to the confederacy all over the South, they pressured governments they banned books, they formed an auxiliary group called the Children of the Confederacy to get children actively involved in “Southern” history.  Now I know I should get comments on this piece!


“A Good Cry” by Niki Giovanni is her most recent book.  In an article about Ms. Giovanni, “Sitting Down for A Good Cry” Lolly Bourean talks about the life of the activist, writer, poet and educator.  “What I’ve always loved about Giovanni’s work is she is able to write about the dignity and struggle of black life in a way that relates the journey broadly to other ethnicities.”  A Good Cry is a collection of poems, short stories and essays written by the 10th grade dropout, who eventually graduated from her grandfather’s Alma Mater,  Fisk University and became a Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech University.   “Life, as it is, is often worthy of a good cry,” Lolly Bourean quoting Niki Giovanni.


Started this post with a children’s poem.  Poetry is on my mind.  I’m preparing a collection for submission.  I think I’ve mentioned it to you.  I’m trying to read  some poetry every day.  And of course I’m selling A Birthday Story.  Reread a couple of the reviews for  the book.  I’d like to share them with you.

This one is from a mother and grandmother.  “What an original and creative way of telling a birthday story.  As a mother and grandmother, I recommend this story about Kyeisha’s birthday,and the other positive stories included in the book, for all ages of children.”

A pre-school teacher wrote, “Kids like stories about birthday parties, bright, color pictures that grab your attention, diverse pictures.”  Those she said are her positives ideas about the book.

You can add your comments and/or a revidew on or below in my comments section.  You know of course you need to purchase A Birthday Story.  Look for blue Grover.

Okay I’m out.

Habari gani!






Site Upgrade

Upgraded my site this week.  I wanted a website, my unpaid site was a blog page on’s website.  This is my 1st post on my upgraded site.  I still have some changes to make to the siteI want  to add a store to sell my poetry and my diversity children’s book, A Birthday Story.


I’m preparing a collection for submission to a competition and have been working on the poems this week.  I need 38 to qualify for submission.  I have also been reading the poetry of other authors.  I read several poems this morning by Rae Armantrout.

I came across, a poet who writes poetry in a form called “Golden Shovel”.   The Golden Shovel  form was created by Terence Hayes, said the write up.  The poem is written by borrowing lines from existing poems to create new ones. The poet borrowed lines for this poem from the bible.


I listened to a 58 second podcast by Maurice Broaddus, titled The Necessary Elements for Defining Unique Characters earlier this month. The podcast was on the ALC (author learning center site.  Broaddus is an Arab American poet and writer of African American Speculative Fiction.  His books include Pimp My Airship (2009), King Maker (2010), The Voices of Martrys (2017).  The write-up on states that he is best know for his short fiction and his Knights of Breton Court novel trilogy.  Maurice has researched author African-American writers who write in this genre.  The names are on his site, Maurice

Showcasing – Ta-Nehisi Coates:  “Chicago is ‘code’ for black people.”

“Chicago is ‘code’ for black people” is an article written by Kim Janssen, Tracy Swartz and Phil Thompson that appeared in the Chicago Inc. – Chicago Tribune, the “quatrology section which attributes that quote to Ta-Nehisi Coates. “Coates is the National correspondent at the Atlantic and  writes Marvel’s Black Panther comic book. He is also that one that won the National Book Award for “Between the World and Me”,  his memoir and bestseller,  in 2015.  Coates has been called the “darling of the left for his trenchant criticism of the central role of white Supremacy in U.S. history,” which might explain the quote.    He was raised in Baltimore in  the 1980’s.  Coates is a prolific writer and one whose work I grab.

New Independent Bookseller

J. thompson Books is an independent bookseller where I am selling A Birthday Story, my indie, diversity children’s book.  The shop is located in the West Des Moines area, in a coffee shop and also offers other art and wi-fi capabilites.  I bought a classic of African American literature, The Interesting Narrative Of The Life Of Olaudah Equiano, OR Gustavus Vassa, The African, Written By Himself, while I was in the shop.

Look for blue Grover on the cover of my book.




Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome – What I think is important about the definition of imposter syndrome is that the individuals with the “syndrome” have accomplishments.

I saw the term “imposter syndrome” while reading a piece about writing.  I looked it up, on to make sure I understood its relevance to writing.  (I am always reading about this craft and increasing my knowledge of how it works.) says – imposter syndrome is held by “individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud”.  I don’t fit the definition. (smile) What I think is important about the definition is  that the individuals with “imposter syndrome” have accomplishments.

Webinar  “Simple, Direct, Doable, Hacks that Can Improve Your Sales on Amazon – Session 2.”

This webinar was held on 10-4-2017.  It was taught by Amy Collins, President of New Shelves Books, book sales and marketing agency in the U.S.  Collins is described as an expert, sales consultant for some of the largest books and library retailers and wholesalers in the publishing industry.  Her website is  The webinar was an hour and a half long and worth my time.

Diversity of Libraries:  State of Working American Data Library, the Chilton Library, and the Protest Banner Lending Library

Libraries are places of learning for all subject matter. These three are examples of the diversity of libraries and what libraries offer.   They are not just holders of books but also catalogue other kinds of resources.    I was reading a 9/11/16 EPI – Economic Policy Institute newsletter  in which it discussed the launching of their State of Working American Data Library.  The library provides researchers, media persons, and the public with easily accessible up-to-date and comprehensive historical data on the American labor force.

Chilton Library

Picked up a newsletter at a local library and found information about the Chilton Library,  a virtual library resource for auto repair and maintenance.  The Des Moines Public Library describes Chilton as away to take simple auto repair into your own hands.  Look for a similar library in your area, or country.

Protest Banner Lending Library

Aram Han Sifuentes is the founder of the Protest Banner Lending Library, a  lending library for protest banners.  In a Chicago Tribune article, Sifuentes was interviewed by cborrelli.

Aram Han Sifuentes’ library makes, lends and receives banners used by protesters.  Sifuentes, is Korean by birth, who has becomea an American citizens. Aram Han has created a card catalogue that travels with the library.   Big subjects are immigration, citizenship, race and craftsmanship. A co-author with artist Ishita Dharap of the book Taking Receipts’, the authors made the book to resemble a diary.  The “diary was intended to be a log of aggression for people of color- for registering everyday racist behaviors and microaggressions.”

Is The Cat in the Hat, by Dr. Seuss, Racist?

Stephen Sawchuk wrote an article exploring this question, which was published by John Wilkens in Written in a racist and sexist culture says Sawchuk, The Cat In the Hat, is less explicitly racist, than some works.

 The Cat… whose main character owes a debt to blackface vaudeville, was based on a black woman who worked as an elevator operator, said Phillip Nel, a professor of English at Kansas State University…

Flotus (First Lady of the United States),  Melania Trump, reopened this  discussion about the Dr. Seuss book when she sent a package of Dr. Seuss books to schools,  and a school librarian in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Liz Phipps Soeira, rejected the books.

18th Iowa Author Awards Dinner

Join Iowans at the Iowa Event Center, on October 31, 2017 for the 18th Iowa Author Awards Dinner.  The guest of honor, John Irving will be awarded the 2017 Iowa Author Award.  Irving is a national book award winner for The World According to Garp.

Showcasing:  Kazuo Ishiguro, Nobel Prize Winner

The Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded to 62 year old Kazuo Ishiguro, a Japanese born British novelist, who wrote, The Remains of the Day, Never Let Me Go and other novels that, according to the Associated Press writer, “captured memories lasting pain and dangerous illusions in precise, elegant prose.”  Ishiguro, a fiction writer, won $1.1 million dollars in prize money.

Look for blue Grover on the cover of A Birthday Story,
by Lana Jean Mitchell.