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Free theatrical reading at HSA November 4

Art Shrian | 11/2/2017, 3:58 p.m.
The new multimedia, multicultural children’s reading series, KaZoom Kids iStoryBooks has teamed up with Harlem School of the Arts to ...

New Yorkers know the ins and outs of the subway. It’s part of growing up, it’s a part of our rights of passage. In case you did not know, next year, when you are in the dog days of summer, take a ride on the E train because it has the very best air conditioning and like every subway in the city, there is always a show.

The new multimedia, multicultural children’s reading series, KaZoom Kids iStoryBooks, the brainchild of founder and CEO, Donna Beasley, has teamed up with Harlem School of the Arts to create a series of free readings of the books published by the new company.

KaZoom iStoryBooks was created because, frankly, there is a great need. “There is a real shortage of multicultural children’s books for Black and Latino families,” said Beasley, who discovered that only 5 percent of children’s books published feature children of color. Her way of solving the problem was to create greater diversity in children’s literature.

“At KaZoom iStoryBooks, we are changing things, but we can’t do it alone,” said Beasley.

This limitation is why partnerships such as the one with HSA are extremely important in helping to connect with audiences who will appreciate finding relatable stories featuring characters who look like them, reflect their communities and experiences and strengthen their children’s imaginations and sense of self.

Author Lapacazo Sandoval, who wrote “Taking the E Train” and “Everybody Loves Cake,” was first to respond when the call went out to the community of writers attached to KaZoom Publishing to participate in the series.

The series came to life because of HSA’s commitment to connecting with the community and other creatives of color. Yvonne Garcia, vice president of Development & External Affairs, warmed to the idea of the new children publishing company and connected with Beasley.

The creative idea grew again because of the life force that embodies Artistic Director and Theater Director Alfred Preisser, a man of great vision. He placed the reading of “Taking the E Train” performance in the capable hands of Amanda McDowall, one of the most respected musical theater teachers at HSA.

“Taking the E Train” is about an adventurous abuela who takes her three grandchildren on an adventure on NYC’s E train during one of the hottest days of summer. Directed by McDowall, the reading will include live music, song, African drumming and a choreographed hip-hop dance number. All performed by HSA students.

For more information on registering for the event, visit HSA presents Storytelling with KaZoom iStorybooks, https://hsa kazoombookseries.eventbrite.com.

For additional information on HAS, visit www.hsanyc.org, and for more information on KaZoom Digital Publishing, go to www.kazoomkidsbooks.com.