June 16, 2014

ONE BOOK, ONE BARRIO WITH LA CASA AZUL BOOKSTORE

 
History:  In 1998, Nancy Pearl from the Washington Center for the Book in the Seattle Public Library launched the campaign "If All Seattle Read the Same Book,” designed to unite the community of readers under the same book. The goal of the campaign was to encourage the public to read one particular book and to participate in several educational and literature-based programs associated with the chosen book. Today, countless libraries, schools and bookstores across the United States have adopted their own version of “One Book” with the same enthusiasm and vision as its original campaign.

Today:  La Casa Azul Bookstore has begun a community-wide reading campaign to promote literacy and foster community through literature in East Harlem. On June 7, they announced the first book in their One Book, One Barrio project -- The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano, by Sonia Manzano.

Now through November, there will be events each month to complement the One Book, One Barrio project, including film screenings of documentaries of the Young Lords, music festivals, celebrations and more. Visit www.lacasaazulbookstore.com for calendar of events.


BOOK SUMMARY:  Evelyn Serrano, a young girl growing up in East Harlem in 1969, finds herself in the quest to reconcile with her Puerto Rican heritage, all the while history is being made right outside her door in the streets of El Barrio. In the summer of 1969, The Young Lords, a group of activists that sought to bring basic rights to the forgotten community of Harlem, organizes their first action known as the “Garbage Offensive.” In this bold move, The Young Lords, with the help of the community gathered piles of uncollected garbage that the Sanitation Department refused to pick up from the streets of El Barrio and set them ablaze on large street intersections of the city to protest the inequalities and neglect the community of Harlem was subject to. This urgency for change that prompted groups such as The Young Lords to rise is the same that would push Evelyn to find her voice and pride in her community. Evelyn Serrano is moved by the brave activist group and with the support of her abuela, joins the movement that captivated a generation of Latinos in East Harlem.


About the author: Sonia Manzano has been a presence on Public Television since the 1970's. Raised in the South Bronx, she attended the High School of Performing Arts. A scholarship took her to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and in her junior year, she came to New York to star in the original production of the off-Broadway show, Godspell. Within a year Sonia was cast as "Maria" on Sesame Street. After ten years as an actress, Sonia began writing scripts for the series and has fifteen Emmy Awards as part of the Sesame Street writing staff. Sonia also wrote for the Peabody Award winning children's series, Little Bill, for Nickelodeon and for a short time wrote a parenting column for the Sesame Workshop web site called Talking Outloud. She returned to the New York stage starring in The Vagina Monologues and The Exonerated. Sonia has received awards from The Congressional Hispanic Caucus in Washington DC, and The Hispanic Heritage Foundation, and she received an honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts from Nortre Dame University in 2004. Closer to home, she was inducted into the Bronx Hall of Fame in 2005. Sonia was twice nominated for an Emmy Award as "Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series.” For more information please visit her website www.soniamanzano.com.