Reach And Teach future author (Spring 2011 - Ivy, Homeless in San Francisco), Summer Brenner, is being honored for her book Richmond Tales: Lost Secrets of the Iron Triangle. What's most interesting about the award, is that it is a Historic Preservation Award, something that usually goes to buildings. But the city of Richmond knows that preservation is about much more than that. "When you think of preservation you think of buildings," said Sandi Genser-Maack of the Richmond Historic Preservation Advisory Committee, "but we don't have many buildings. We have people, we have publications, we have exhibits, which to me is exciting."
Reach And Teach is really pleased that Summer Brenner is being honored this way, and also thrilled to learn that the Mayor of Richmond is proclaiming this to be the first book for an all-city family readathon this Summer. Thousands of school children have already read this wonderful book about Maisha and Mario, who become friends and then take off on an adventure through time, learning the amazing history of their community. We were totally engrossed in this book when Summer shared it with us, with its fascinating characters, a roller-coaster adventure, lessons in courage and compassion, and an intriguing glimpse into how Richmond was born and has changed over many years.
What better way to get children excited about their community, get involved in shaping its destiny, while also getting reluctant readers to devour a book, than to create such vivid characters who can (and do) live right next door!
Here's an excerpt:
Maisha bent down to look inside Misty Horn’s giant egg. Like the sugary Easter eggs, it too had a little peekaboo window. Inside was a miniature picture of a marsh, a bay, and fountain-shaped spouts she recognized as whales. There were scores of whale blows in the air. There were seals, lounging on rocks. There was a bear, clutching a large fish. Maisha couldn’t tell what the creatures were made of, but it certainly did not look like sugar.
Along the inside of the egg were horizons dotted with green hills and tall trees. At first, it looked like a picture. Then, something stirred in the colors, shapes, and lines as if the picture were really alive.
There aren't many adventure novels written for young people that feature characters like Maisha, her friend Mario, and the magical Misty Horn. This book was funded by grants and copies were gifted to thousands of children so that they could read a book that featured kids just like them, kids they could imagine seeing in the neighborhood every day. And, this is a story that could give children a sense of pride in their community, the way it is right now, the way it was, and give them inspiration for helping to bring about whatever next evolution makes sense for the town.
One of Summer Brenner's dreams is to create more books in this series, so that other communities can celebrate their people, learn about and preserve their history, and give a boost to the love of reading in children. If you're a leader in a community that could benefit from Maisha and Mario, or perhaps their local cousins in your town, having an adventure written about them... let us know. We'd love to connect you with Summer Brenner to see if you can make your town the next "Lost Secrets of..." Contact us if you'd like to make the next book happen!
Ivy - Homeless in San Francisco
In Spring 2011, Reach And Teach, through our imprint with PM Press, will release an updated and revised version of a book Summer wrote a while back. In its new release, the book will be called Ivy - Homeless in San Francisco. In this book, 12 year-old Ivy and her father Poppy, an artist, find themselves homeless after being evicted. Struggling with every-day survival, they are befriended by a puppy who brings them to "Tosca," the home of a quirky brother and sister pair, the Orrs. Adventures follow!
Ivy and Poppy are not the typical characters one would expect to read about being homeless. That's one of the reasons we're so excited about publishing this novel next year. According to reports, the average age of a homeless person is... watch this video to find out.
As we work on the manuscript and artwork for this new book, we would love to have a few partners in peacemaking come along for the ride. If you're interested in reading early drafts, and writing reviews (some that could be used in promotion for and on the cover of the book), please contact me. If you are a teacher who would like to write lesson plans to go along with this book, we would love to hear from you. Please contact us!
Finally, if you are an independent book store, curiosity shop, or other store/organization that would like to carry some of Reach And Teach's products, including our books Girls Are Not Chicks, Abe in Arms, Sometimes the Spoon Runs Away with Another Spoon (Fall 2010), Ivy - Homeless in San Francisco (Spring 2011), or our great game CIVIO - A Civil Rights Game, please contact us.