Amanya Maloba: I only have memory of growing up in one house. This house is a good house in a good, suburban neighborhood, with a lot of good memories associated with it. It used to be brown, but is now off-white. There used to be a swing set in the backyard, but it’s not there anymore. There used to be an enormous tree stuck at a 45-degree angle with a groundhog living under the exposed roots. The tree has been cut down, and I suspect the groundhog was eaten by one of the foxes that run through the yard. There is a creek that runs behind this house that is home to snakes and tadpoles. When I was small, I used to walk the path that led to an opening of the creek hand in hand with my father. In recent years I’ve taken to sitting alone on a rock at this opening. However, none of these images is a complete description of what and where home is.
Click here to read the rest of my latest piece on where the stories in Harvest were born and where I call home.
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Splish! Splash! Sploosh! An Afro-sporting little kid decides to paint an Elephant bright Blue! EleBooyah was the Elephant’s name and she wants to help paint too! Pretty soon the kid and her elephant are playing with all the colors of the rainbow. What do blue and yellow make? A funky green frog! And red and blue? An enormous purple octopus king! Discover all of the whimsical things one can create with a splatter of paint and be amazed by a twist ending that you’ll never expect!
Amanya Maloba: Why children’s books? Charles Esperanza: My decision to pursue children’s books is very influenced by my former professor and mentor, Eric Velasquez. I realized how awesome children’s books could be—they are basically like very detailed, rendered movie storyboards. Through children’s books I could fuse my love of poetry with my love of painting. Also, I felt like my voice and ideas were very different from anything else in the children’s book field and people would recognize that and give me lots of money for it!
I only just realized that these two poems (one musical and one written) share the same title. I happen to love them both. It’s a total love crime experience to listen and read at the same time (although I hear for some people those are conflicting tasks)! I chose this dark poem, breaking with the overall celebratory theme of the month, since it would be inaccurate to portray love without the shit that threatens it or makes people act to defend it righteously.
I am absolutely delighted that February is finally upon us. I’ve always loved this month because of the colors—red, pink, and black. Throughout February we’ll be featuring posts that fit within the colorful umbrella of the month with a good combination of interviews with young black talent, short biographies of black leaders and pioneers, editorials, and maybe even a love poem or two 😉
I finally made it around to Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I say finally because I had been trying to find a copy of the book in multiple different libraries in the year following its release. Just this past Christmas I received Americanah as a gift (thanks Mom!), and at long last was able to get into Ms. Adichie’s work.
I spend a lot of time with this guy, so I’m a bit biased, however this new one, “Ride or Die,” by Das Leune is epic! Dude’s the only one I know who can start a song screaming punk rock style and end it rapping. Many artists like to hop on bandwagons with musical styles and fashion, or feel frustrated when halfway through their career they receive criticism for organically shifting their direction. Das Leune transcends both of the aforementioned categories by simply refusing to stay in one lane. As the opening lyrics state, “Fuck race. Fuck class. Fuck sex. Fuck genre…ahhhhhhh.” This guy’s got a lot of cool things coming up so stay tuned. In the meantime you can listen to his album Intro to Krul on iTunes or Spotify.
If you’ve seen me at all, chances are you’ve seen a pair of Converse on my feet. They are hands down my favorite type of shoe to trek in—and I do quite a bit of trekking. I always wished I was a sneakerhead, but I’m too clumsy and adventurous to keep any shoe un-scuffed and unsoiled. Therein lies the beauty of Converse—the more grody they get, the better they look. I love that these shoes have been with me on three different continents and 10 different states and are still going strong! Below is a photo compilation of some Northern California adventures—just one of their many.