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WSSN Stories

A Hilarious New Book Guaranteed to Get Teachers and Students Excited About the Common Core

UPLAND, CA– Keisha Harris, an educator in the Rialto Unified School District, took a leap of faith when she decided to embark on a new journey to publish her first children’s book.

“Giving children a voice has always been  been my mission as a writer.  I want to give life to their adventures,”  Keisha Harris states.

“Beware of the Common Core” is a comical adventure about a boisterous six year who will be entering the world of first grade.  She’s excited about starting school this year until she receives a suspicious letter in the mail about some strange “common core” that has invaded her school over the summer.  Convinced it must be a contagious virus, she tries to devise a plan to send it back to Washington only to discover the true meaning of the Common Core.

This is the first book released in the Alley Petes series.  Each book concentrates on a core standard and introduces new strategies and techniques to help children comprehend new concepts in language arts and math.  The book’s comical flare is designed to captive a young audience while incorporating literacy and language skills. The concept behind the Alley Petes series is to create a series of short stories that demonstrates a child ability to overcome her struggles with mastering complex standards.  The use of humor is a guaranteed motivator to encourage children to read.  “Beware of the Common Core” will keep young readers engaged and wanting to read more about Alley’s adventures.

PAFF Celebrates a Night of Tribute

Honorees with their awards posing with PAFF Founders Ja'Net DuBoise(left) and Ayuko Babu (right)

Honorees with their awards posing with PAFF Founders Ja’Net DuBoise(left) and Ayuko Babu (right)

LOS ANGELES, CA- On Saturday, February 1, the Pan African Film Festival kicked off its’ festivities with ‘A Night of Tribute’ where they honored legendary icons Charles Dutton, Roz Stevenson, Jeff Clanagan, Emayatzy Corinedaldi and Tequan Richmond for their achievements in the film industry.

Bling It On: The Sad Redundancy of a Show and Tell Mentality

Hakim Hazim

Hakim Hazim

It’s lamentable when I turn on the radio and hear many young men talking about what they have, did or will do. This show and tell false bravado seems to permeate the air waves.  Attention-seeking behavior rarely appreciates the level of appreciation it receives. It’s never enough. Modern day hip-hop culture has helped to norm this approach to life for many of our young. Now this begs a question about a certain segment of our culture, the poor and marginalized youth who seem to use self-glorification as a way to build their persona due to the fact that most visible means of support are missing from their lives, and the question is this: why? Why do so many feel compelled to act in this manner? Dr. Ryan T Howell hits the nail on the head when he wrote this article “What Drives Us to Get Our Bling On?” (Psychology Today):

“According to the urban dictionary, the term bling came in to the modern vocabulary in the 1990s, possibly imported from Jamaica by American rappers, and meant to indicate either the imagined play of light bouncing off shiny jewelry, or the sound of the metally bits of jewelry “blinging” against itself.

Whatever the specifics of its origin, it turns out to be no accident that a term meant to describe and draw attention to shiny, expensive possessions grew out of low-income, inner-city environments. As a new study in the Journal of Consumer Psychology demonstrated, the ostentatious display of expensive personal adornments is most likely to be practiced by people who perceive themselves to be of low status.”

As a black male raised in an athletics-oriented family, I remember a gnawing desire to distinguish myself and be good at something. Muhammad Ali was my idol so I learned to talk trash, play the dozens and stay witty. Most of this was fun, but some of it was insecurity and false bravado. Fortunately I had a strong father who curbed a lot of this. I learned from his example that self hype was meaningless. He said, “Let someone else toot your horn. If you are really worth something they will.” Sadly, many of our youth don’t have a strong male figure in their lives to curb the excessive showmanship that constantly competes with peers in the form of possessions, women and trash talk. Stuck in a state of perpetual adolescence, the music reflects the wounds of children screaming for affirmation, even when they are well into adulthood.

This social commentary is about a chronic insecurity that has caused many of our young, disadvantaged youth of today to substitute gimmickry, fashion, sexual prowess, material possessions and catch phrases in the place of substance and gravitas. The unfortunate thing is this: once that behavior sets in it proves difficult to change and continues well into adulthood. The cries for attention can be concealed in religiosity, business, sports, entertainment, athletics and just about every other platform. Sadly, no amount of applause, bling or recognition can fill that void. Bling is to fool’s gold what character is to a good name. This is what we need to teach. This is what we need to live.