Hi, GoGABbers! What’s up this second week of August? How’s your summer going? What have you been doing? We’ve seen so many of you all over the city. Yep, GoGAB have checked you out at Central, Riverside, Marcus Garvey and Prospect parks, the Central Park and Bronx zoos, the swimming pools and beaches as well as on the basketball and tennis courts.

We’ve also seen you at the various branches of the New York Public Library, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Brooklyn Museum of Contemporary Art, the Queens Botanical Garden and the Museum of Natural History. Fantastic!

Please remember the GoGAB safety rules: Tell your parents or guardians or older siblings where you are going every time you leave the house. Don’t speak to strangers or go with them anywhere. We want everyone in GoGAB-ville to be safe while having fun this summer.

And here’s a GoGAB shout out to our community of parents, guardians and Older Siblings. Cheers.


GoGABbers, please tell us: Any science buffs out there in GoGAB-ville? Wow! Look at all of you GoGABbers representing! We love it! Well, guess what we will be focusing on this week? We’ll be checking out the sunlight, plants and the earth and how you are connected to this very interesting cycle. We’ll also be learning about some of the various kinds of rocks.

To do this, we have two very exciting books. For you, Young Readers in Middle School, we have “Brendan Buckley’s Universe and Everything in It.”

And for our Early Readers we have another book, “Living Sunlight: How Plants Bring the Earth to Life,” which we are asking all of our Young Readers to share with your younger brothers, sisters and friends. It makes a great read-aloud book.


As you know, “Switching on Literacy” is GoGAB’s home initiative designed to encourage our Young Readers to read. One of the exciting features of the “Switching on Literacy” experience is that it includes the seven principles of Kwanzaa. Each of our selected books will convey one or more of the Kwanzaa principles, which will be listed as the Kwanzaa Focus and will serve as a connection to our book’s theme.


Alright, Young Readers, as we move forward in our daily literacy commitment to read a book at home for at least 45 minutes every single day (or for our Early Readers, 20 minutes daily) let’s turn off all the gadgets. Now, let’s grab a book because it’s time to “Go Get a Book in Your Hand!” Let’s read, read, READ!


“Living Sunlight: How Plants Bring the Earth to Life”

Kwanzaa Principle: Purpose, Cooperative Work and Responsibility

Wow! “Living Sunlight: How Plants Bring the Earth to Life” (Scholastic, 2009), by Molly Bang and Penny Chisolm, illustrations by Bang, is a fantastic title. Wow again! There’s so much GoGAB loves about this book, which teaches us a great deal about the sun and plants and the connection they have to us.

We learn about sunlight, which gives energy to everything on earth. It

gives warmth to our land, melts our glaciers and create winds. We also learn that the sun’s light gives all living things energy. This includes plants, which in turn give human beings energy when we eat them. We also learn that we get oxygen from plants.

This fantastic book points out: “Without plants, you could not live.” Let’s think about that for a moment. Then, let’s say, “Thank you, sunlight,

Thank you, plants, thank you, oxygen.” And thank you, Molly Bang and Penny Chisolm for this very special title. Your prose breathes with life. Your illustrations sing with energy. Your prose engages and teaches us.

Yes, “Living Sunlight: How Plants Bring the Earth to Life” shows us that we are all truly connected. GoGAB affirms that in God’s universe, everything is created for a purpose, just as the Kwanzaa principle points out. We also learn about the principle of cooperative work and responsibility, as the sunlight provides energy for the plants, which in turns provides food for human beings, and it continues on and on. Thank you, Creator.


“Brendan Buckley’s Universe and Everything in It”

Kwanzaa Principles: Self-Determination, Creativity, Purpose and Faith

“Brendan Buckley’s Universe and Everything in It” (Delacorte Press/Random House Children’s Books, 2007), by Sundee T. Frazier, is a really cool fiction story about 10-year-old Brendan, who loves science.

School is out for the summer and Brendan, who is biracial, and Gladys, his African-American grandmother (his dad’s mother), unexpectedly meet Ed Dubose at the Super Mall in their town. Ed is a white man who, like Brendan, loves science. Also like Brendan, he is a mineral collector.

Later, when Brendan’s mom learns about the encounter, she gets very upset and forbids Brendan from seeing Ed again. However, Brendan is drawn to Ed and he intends to find out why and solve the mystery about this stranger.

Brendan is a page-stealer. GoGAB loves this bright young scientist who uses the principles he is being taught in his Taekwondo class to help him through the various challenges that he is facing, including prejudice, racism, and standing up for what he believes in: family, friendship, love, obedience to his parents and his love and dedication for science. We also like the relationship he has with both of his parents.

Frazier’s “Brendan Buckley’s Universe and Everything in It” is a pure gem. It is strong and powerful, beautiful and transparent, like some of the minerals that its memorable protagonist, Brendan Buckley, collects.

Many Kwanzaa principles ring through loud and clear in this great read.


“Brendan Buckley’s Universe and Everything in It” is the winner of a GoGAB Kwanzaa Purpose Award, and “Living Sunlight: How Plants Bring the Earth to Life” is the winner of a GoGAB Kwanzaa Cooperative Work and Responsibility Award.


For this week’s titles, please visit:

You may also visit our bookseller affiliates, in Harlem at Hue-man Bookstore (www.huemanbookstore.com) and in SoHo at McNally/Jackson Booksellers (www.mcnallyjackson.com).


All of these titles are highly recommended by Misani’s Go Get a Book in Your Hand (GoGAB) Literacy Group: Kesia’s Teens, Nas+ Tweens, GoGAB Young Readers for Mom-in-Chief and GoGAB Youth & MD Men for President Obama, and our partners, the Frederick Douglass Academy I, the ICAD-FTL Festival Inc. Literary Division, the “Switching on Literacy” 2011 Experience Group and the NY Amsterdam News

To contact the Go Get a Book in Your Hand Literacy Group and the GoGAB Reading Team, please email us at gogetabook@yahoo.com.