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WEEKLY PICKS for reading & exploring

Calling all writers: Join the Why I Rise Poetry contest: deadline is May 8th
“Turn a bad experience into something good” Details here.

This is a short doc about the Why I Rise movement:

Along with ART, we celebrate the EARTH with the Staten Island Museum–April 25th at noon a whole playlist of How-to videos will drop….how to make ink with walnuts, how to make a hydroponics system using a recycled 5-gallon water bottle, how to infuse cooking oils with seeds and herbs, and much more!

NY Wild Film Festival – Watch films about our EARTH….check out the free streaming movies on darkness and endangered “language of light” of fireflies celebrating WILD NYC:

Brilliant Darkness: Hotaru in the Night from BonSci Films on Vimeo.

NYC’s 520 miles of waterfront!:


And, as always, find some time each day to immerse yourself in a book to de-stress, empathize with others and know you are not alone…..Here is a curated list of ebook & audiobooks for City-As-School students & staff. For access for those outside of our community, please send a request!

 

 

 

YA lit

after my one hour/per day of news….

talking books, instead: what are you reading? 

i’m reading…..

Now many people who live with HIV are undetectable, and therefore can’t transmit the disease, but are still living with shame and real fear of rejection despite their caution, their honesty. Meet three guys with three different statuses, whose lives intersect at an HIV clinic in Brazil…..and walk in their shoes for a while….and enter their world…..for fans of Raziel Reid’s jaw-dropping, unforgettable When Everything Feels like the Movies .

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Queer New Year at City-As-School with Kelly Fernandez

Comic book artist Kelly Fernandez came to give our student artists a glimpse into the ways young artists move with integrity, hope, and poise into the publishing world. She was warm, creative in her presentation and very hands-on in her demo of zine making. With the funds from the NYCDOE grant to support our Respect for All events to promote underrepresented voices, we were able to invite her and give students a copy of Latinx comic anthology Tales from La Vida. 

The students said her talk was VERY helpful–here is a glimpse. Can’t wait for her debut graphic novel, Manu, in Fall 2020.

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Our CAS Reads Reading and Discussion Club

Dear Readers&Writers,

Abdii of the Beacon Program and I are co-hosting a discussion and writing group around speculative fiction. Come join us Wednesdays and Thursdays at lunch. We will send stories out a week in advance and meet to discuss them together or write together using prompts.

For our first week of cycle 2 (Wed Nov 20 & Thur Nov 21), we will discuss the 1-2 of stories we read cycle 1: 
There Will Come Soft Rains” by Ray Bradbury
“Repent, Harlequin, said the Ticktock Man” by Harlan Ellison (request pdf via email–email me to get a copy!)
A Descent into the Maelstrom” by Edgar Allan Poe
“Was it a Dream” by Guy de Maupassant
“The River” by Adrienne Maree Brown (request pdf via email–email me to get a copy!)

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Cyrus and the Importance of, One In A Minyan

by Raven K.

Last month, the Disney Channel made history by having the character Cyrus Goodman on their show, Andi Mack, state that he is gay. Cyrus Goodman had previously stated that he was interested in boys twice (in the episodes,Hey, Who Wants Pizza?and, “Cyrus’ Bash-Mitzvah!”). The first time was to his best friend Buffy (echoing the groundbreaking coming-out scene in Buffy The Vampire Slayer when Willow tells Buffy she was into Tara 19 years ago), but he never said explicitly that he was gay until “Once in a Minyan.”

 

Andi Mack isn’t new to breaking new ground in children’s entertainment. They have been tackling topics like teenage pregnancy, mental health, different cultures and learning disabilities for a while now. One such instance was when the show’s love interest at the time, Jonah Beck dealt with panic attacks (which is another thing that also happens in this episode).

 

The episode, “Once in a Minyan,” now available on the DisneyNow website and app, is about Cyrus’ bubbe’s (or grandmother’s) shiva (funeral) which is tackled with grace and respect as are all of the things this show takes on. He tells his friends that he wished his bubbe would’ve seen the gay part of him before she passed, which then inspires him to come out to his former crush/friend by saying the words, “I’m gay.”

 

I was a year younger than Cyrus when my bubbe died. Much like his, mine was my role model and my biggest supporter. She’d watch all of my theater performances even though we all knew that they were garbage, she’d read all of my stories and had taken care of me when others couldn’t, but I never got to tell her I was a lesbian. She died before I learned to accept myself. It never was a confusion about what she would’ve said (she wore crop tops in her 70’s)–she would’ve said that she loved me no matter what–but I still wish I could’ve said the words even now, more than 5 years later. But much like the first gay character on the United States Disney Channel, I used my bubbe’s memory to come out. Not at her shiva like Cyrus, but at my bat mitzvah where members of my family and congregation could see me embrace my authentic self.

 

Andi Mack has been a show in which many people have seen themselves on the screen when they hadn’t growing up, including me. Not only has this show been the winner of a GLAAD media award, but it has been also nominated and has won other accolades over the two years it’s been airing. It has not been renewed for season 4 yet – so I implore you to reach out to Disney and keep watching to let them know that this is a show that’s important and tells kids that they “may be weird, but [they] are no different.”

 

** Andi Mack’s next episode won’t air for another month for editing out a certain actor which you can read about elsewhere. But this also gives everyone time to catch up! Here is a masterpost with links for every episode.

 

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Teens on Twitter

by Raven K & Gabriela D

Of all the social media apps that we personally spend time on, Twitter is probably the most bizarre. Unlike other apps whose main focus is to have its users pretend their lives are really eventful, Twitter is basically a hive-mind of niche communities all focused on freaking out about pretty much nothing. Besides politicians attempting to stay “hip” with the kids to the endless accounts hoping to convince you that Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes are canonically dating, social media can actually be a very great source for more informational content, from tips on how to construct just about anything to any current news.

Entertainment: Humor and Other Fun Stuff

 

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Beyond Entertainment: Our social criticism

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Saying Twitter has practically everything would be a huge understatement. As more teens switch their attention from traditional places of getting entertainment and news such as newspapers to Twitter, it continues to provide teens with fun viral tweets and big news stories as they break.

YA lit

CAS READS Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

Our book club read Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man: This epic of a man’s explanation of how he became invisible and why he is now underground is one of the most brilliant, tragic, elucidating books on the Black experience in America. Ellison dissects paternalism. In his pocket, the invisible man carries the visual relics of how he is seen by mainstream Americans, as a paper Samba doll, as a chain link that was used to enslave thousands of intelligent men and women, based on race. These concrete objects are his burden. They blind those who look at him, which is their failure at vision and undoing of their moral fiber. We cannot turn a blind eye.

We are all invisible to those who are spiritually unable or mechanically refuse to look beyond our circumstances, into who we are as single, ejected-from-the-womb human beings. This book is unforgettable. It makes us look into our own blindnesses, our own projections, our own reactions to violence. What do we do? Destroy or corroborate? Or, do we contemplate, until we have an answer? Will we be given the luxury of time and seclusion to “figure it out”?

We had a wonderful discussion and read aloud important passages in our discussion. Big thanks to Helen for her critical questions and curiosity that kept the conversation and reading going at a clip, and Thomas and Brian for sharing their ideas, and to Ash for jumping into a difficult book.