21 June 2011

Commemorating Charles Dickens' 200th Birthday

February 2012 will commemorate the 200th Birthday of Charles Dickens, as his birthdate is February 7, 1812. He was an Aquarian. And don't forget that Dickens' taxidermic pet bird of which Edgar Allen Poe wrote the infamous poem, "The Raven," is an artifact on display at Philadelphia's Free Library.

Image source: Wikipedia

Anyhoo, a historical book for children is due for release November 2011 to honor Dickens. Entitled, "Charles Dickens and the Street Children of London," the book is authored by children's author and journalist, Andrea Warren.

Image source:

Published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, the book is for a tweener/YA reading audience. Nevertheless, it promises to be a very interesting and important read, particularly if you are interested in understanding street literature from an historical perspective. Here is the product description of the book:

Provoked by the horrors he saw every day, Charles Dickens wrote novels that were originally intended as instruments for social change — to save his country’s children.
Charles Dickens is best known for his contributions to the world of literature, but during his young life, Dickens witnessed terrible things that stayed with him: families starving in doorways, babies being “dropped” on streets by mothers too poor to care for them, and a stunning lack of compassion from the upper class. After his family went into debt and he found himself working at a shoe-polish factory, Dickens soon realized that the members of the lower class were no different than he, and, even worse, they were given no chance to better themselves. It was then that he decided to use his greatest talent, his writing ability, to tell the stories of those who had no voice.
Hmmm...the same can be said for many authors of today's street lit.....

Charles Dickens and the Street Children of London is available for pre-order on Amazon.com. It is already starting to get good pre-pub reviews. Rebecca Reid, of the reputable book review blog site, "Rebecca Reads" provides a particularly insightful review, and Booklist has given it a starred review. I am looking forward to reading this book. I hope you are too.

18 June 2011

Documentary TRAILER: Behind Those Books (2011)

Description of Trailer from YouTube:

The first and only comprehensive documentation, on film, of the urban literature genre, giving viewers a raw and uncut look inside the emerging industry. Behind the Books chronicles the evolution of Street Fiction through interviews with pioneer authors, industry insiders, fans, activists, Hip-Hop artists, book clubs, editors, literary agents, vendors and the like.

Featuring: Terry McMillan, Zane, Nikki Turner, K'wan, Omar Tyree, Cornel West, Michael Eric Dyson, Nick Chiles, Kevin Powell, Teri Woods, Vickie Stringer, Anthony Whyte, Treasure E. Blue, J.M. Benjamin, Randy "Ski" Thompson, Azarel, KaShamba Williams, Queen Pen, Brandon McCalla, Brandi Bowles, Momowilly and many more.

Executive Produced by: Mark Manderson and Elaine Watkins
Written & Produced by: Kaven Brown
Associate Producer: Franchesca Ho Sang
Edited & Directed by: Mills Miller


10 June 2011

Top 10 Street Lit Authors: UrbanBookSource.com

Urban Book Source published this list in 2007, but it is still relevant today. These authors continue to set the bar for the Street Literature genre. Urban Book Source lists the top 10 as follows:

1. Teri Woods, True to the Game trilogy, Dutch trilogy
2. Vickie Stringer, CEO Triple Crown, Dirty Red trilogy
3. Sister Souljah, Author of Coldest Winter Ever
4. Shannon Holmes, B-More Careful, Bad Girlz, Dirty Game
5. K'wan, Gangsta, Hoodlum, Road Dawgz, Hood Rat series (of which "Welfare Wifeys" was a 2010 Street Lit Book Award Honor Title)
6. Wahida Clark, Queen of Thug-Love Fiction
7. Nikki Turner, Hustler's Wife series
8. Mark Anthony, Diary of a Young Girl (2010 Street Lit Book Award Honor Title)
9. Treasure Blue, A Street Girl Named Desire, Harlem Girl Lost 1 and 2
10. Kwame Teague, Dutch III: The Finale, Thug Politics

Honorable Mention:
1. KaShamba Williams, Grimey, Driven, Platinum Teen series
2. Relentless Aaron, To Live and Die in Harlem, Bumrush, Push
3. Crystal Lacey Winslow, Menace, Life, Love and Loneliness
4. K. Eliott, Dilemma, Street Fame, Entangled
5. T.N. Baker, Sheisty, Still Sheisty, Dice 

To update this list a bit, I'd add the following authors to the Top 10:
1. Ashley & JaQuavis, The Cartel Trilogy
2. Joy Deja King, The Bitch series
3. Kiki Swinson, Wifey series
4. Keisha Ervin, Chyna Black, Hold U Down
5. Erick S. Gray, Streets of New York 1, 2, 3 (with others), Love and a Gangsta

I'd like to add these lesser known authors, who I believe deserve honorable mention:
1. Chunichi, Gangster Girl series, The Streets Keep Calling (2010 Street Lit Book Award Honor Title)
2. Deborah Cardona, Chained, Two Fold, Butterfly
3. Sidi IbrahimaFatou: An African Girl in Harlem 1 and 2

For the full 2007 article, go to: http://theubs.com/articles/features/top10.php

08 June 2011

Sister Souljah at Free Library of Philadelphia June 18, 2011, 2pm

Sister Souljah | Midnight and the Meaning of Love
Saturday, June 18, 2011 at 2:00 PM, FREE

No tickets or reservations required. For more info: 215-567-4341.
Sister Souljah's debut novel, The Coldest Winter Ever, sold more than a million copies worldwide and is credited with sparking the urban fiction reading revolution. A community activist who grew up in the Bronx projects, Sister Souljah founded the African Youth Survival Camp for homeless children, organized rallies against police brutality and racially motivated crimes, and served as the Executive Director of Daddy's House Social Programs, the charitable wing of Bad Boy Entertainment. Her 2008 New York Times bestseller Midnight told the compelling saga of a young Sudanese immigrant determined to make a safe life for his mother and sister on the tough streets of New York while struggling to hold onto his traditional values. Midnight and the Meaning of Love picks up after the kidnapping of Midnight's teenage wife by her father, who spirited her off to Japan. "There's not one drop of inferiority in my blood," Midnight says, before setting off on a perilous global trek to reclaim his love from her powerful family. -- Submitted by: Veronica Britto, MSLS

02 June 2011

Book Trailer: Flyy Girl

This is a book trailer for the classic Street Lit novel, Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree (1999). Based on the comments attached to this YouTube video, this was a school project based on a class having to read the novel. So this is a student-created video, based on curriculum. This class deliverable attests to the efficacy of having students read relatable literature in the classroom - at 1:36, I think you'll enjoy this!

YALSA Webinar on Street Lit for Teens - June 16, 2011

From YALSA's website:

June 16: Street Smart: Serving Teen Street Lit Readers

"Whether your teen population is urban, suburban or rural, they’re talking about street lit. What is this genre and how can you incorporate it into your library? Join Megan Honig, author of Urban Grit: A Guide to Street Lit, for a conversation about street lit. Megan will discuss how to use street lit and why it is important to incorporate it into your library’s collection. Participants will also receive a list of street lit resources.

Register today! Registration costs $29 for students, $39 for individual YALSA members, $49 for all other individuals, and $195 for group registrations. YALSA’s group rate applies to a group of people that will watch the webinar together in one location."

Go to YALSA's website for more information on their webinars.

StreetLiterature site *ON HIATUS*

Greetings, This site is *on hiatus* until further notice. There are reasons: 1/ Since street lit has become pretty mainstream in publicat...