One Book, One Bakersfield, One Kern has announced the Fall 2012 book will be “The House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros. What do you think? Have you read it before, or will this be your first time? What are your thoughts going into the read? The themes seem to echo many that our youth here in Kern County face as they grow up — regardless of race or ethnicity. (Although the book will certainly resonate with our 40 percent Latino population.) Please feel free to post your thoughts in the comment field below.
One Book, One Bakersfield, One Kern is pleased to announce our Fall 2012 read will be “The House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros. The book jacket says it all: “Acclaimed by critics, beloved by readers of all ages, taught everywhere from grade schools to universities across the country … ‘The House on Mango Street’ is the remarkable story of Esperanza Cordero. Told in a series of vignettes — sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous — it is the story of a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago, inventing for herself who and what she will become …”
Lead partners, The Kern County Library and California State University, Bakersfield, are currently seeking local organizations and schools that would like to participate in the read as community partners by creating specific programming for your communities. The read coincides with National Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 16-Oct. 15), and we would love to include any and all events related to this annual event. To learn more about how to get involved, contact Kristie Coons at email@example.com or 661-203-2528. Partners so far include the Bakersfield Museum of Art and Russo’s Books.
Mark your calendars! Sandra Cisneros will give a free, public talk about her literary works and inspirations at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, at the CSUB Icardo Center.
After a lightening storm caused the cancellation of a Bakersfield High School home football game in September, a planned tribute for the school’s former long-time band director Wes Moore was rescheduled for Nov. 4. This time, the only thing flashing were smiles by all involved in the half-time ceremony: Moore’s widow, Mary, and her family; retired BHS announcer Hal Silverman as emcee; Bakersfield Mayor Harvey Hall; and Kern County Supervisor Karen Goh.
“Being on Griffith Field brought back so many good memories, and the Drillers won 46-7. The ‘Colonel’ would have loved it,” Mary Moore wrote in an email after the event. “I feel very appreciative and in awe of the respect still given to my husband.”
Her late husband, known to most as “Colonel Moore” or simply the “Colonel,” was director of the BHS bands for 33 years, from 1946 to 1979. During that time, he positively influenced countless students through the power of music and the discipline that comes with being an award winning marching band. The Colonel passed away in 2004 but his memory lives on.
As Bakersfield and Kern County read the best-selling book “The Other Wes Moore” by New York-based author Wes Moore this fall, the community couldn’t help but recall the memories of our own own Wes Moore. The many themes of the book included the importance of education, mentoring, and positive role models for youth. The Colonel embodied all three of these themes in his career at Bakersfield High School.
During the half-time ceremony, Mayor Hall and Supervisor Goh both presented certificates to Mary Moore and her family for the contributions the patriarch made to Bakersfield High School’s students and the greater community. The BHS band played the Driller Alma Mater, which Moore himself composed. And Hal Silverman, who used to announce the Driller band formations during football half-time performances under Moore’s direction (and who in his own right is a BHS legend after announcing games for 40 years), acted as emcee for the ceremony.
It was a moving tribute and a wonderful example of how a common read can pull a community together in celebration, reflection, and discourse. The One Book, One Bakersfield, One Kern committee seeks opportunities like this to expand our annual reads to reach all corners of the community.
You can read memories of The Colonel submitted by community members here on the One Book, One Bakersfield, One Kern website: onebookonebakersfieldonekern.com/category/stories
Hi All – What happens when a community comes together to discuss the strong themes of one great book? Isn’t it time you saw first hand what effect this Read is having in our community?
Here’s your next opportunity to find out! Saturday, Oct. 22; 11 a.m., 2nd Floor Founders Mt. Room – The Legacy of Friendship House. For over five decades, the Friendship House on Cottonwood Road has inspired and mentored families of Southeast Bakersfield. Friendship House pioneer Fuchsia Ward, will tell the story of the founding of the Friendship House against the backdrop of an era of exciting political change. Please support Fuchsia in telling the story of one of our community’s great mentoring resources by your attendance.
Program treats you may have missed:
Moore or Less: You Get What You Give – An evening of dramatic readings. Approximately 32 folks enjoyed great art, wine, conversation, and terrific excerpts from The Other Wes Moore given by Empty Space and Bakersfield Community Theatre actors. A winning combination!
Winning our Future and Life Choices panel discussions on Oct. 15 and 18 – If there is a better way to present the themes of a great book than a panel discussion, it is hard to say what it would be. Thanks to Harlem and Beyond for creating the Winning our Future panel, which cleverly chose community members – parents, grandparents, single mothers, ex-gang members, teachers, military boot camp personnel, all who reflected characters in Wes Moore’s memoir. (50 people attending) The Life Choices panel at Bakersfield College, sponsored by Safe Streets Partnership and coordinated by One Book community partner, Bakersfield Police Department Sgt. Mary DeGeare, featured memorable, heartfelt life stories from local ex-gang members as well as longtime youth mentors. (over 100 attending)
We’re in the home stretch for our The Other Wes Moore programming. Make it your business to attend one of remaining programs, so you can put our Nov. 8 Evening with Wes Moore, in a local context.
– Kristie Coons, Coordinator of One Book, One Bakersfield, One Kern
Here is a report on the progress of our One Book read of “The Other Wes Moore”:
Tues. 9/20 – Kick-off Day was busy! That morning the Read was officially proclaimed by the Kern County Board of Supervisors, with brief comments by Emerson Case, CSUB, 1st Year Experience Coordinator, and Andrae Gonzales, Read community partner for Children First.
Tues. 9/20 – The Kick-off at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center gymnasium was attended by about 80 people, including students at the community center after school. David Gordon did a great job as master of ceremonies. Thomas Robinson of Russo’s not only sold books, he also opened the kick-off with a dramatic reading from the book, and wowed the audience with a moving rendition of “I think I can Fly.” All three major TV stations covered the opening event. The student performers were very entertaining. Next year we’ll have to insert all that inspiration and entertainment in a more time-efficient package! Thanks to all who participated and/or attended.
Thurs. 9/22- East Bakersfield High School’s Associated Student Body sponsored the film screening of “The Pursuit of Happyness.” I had forgotten how powerful that film is, and applicable to the themes of “The Other Wes Moore.” Around 100 students and families from the neighborhood attended. East High’s Workforce students (an evening high school diploma program for kids who have previously dropped out up to age 19) were there with their history teacher and participated in the discussion. When discussion leader Andrae Gonzales pointed out how the Will Smith character needed to concentrate on numerous daily survival tasks, while still planning for job success in the future, a young woman raised her hand and said, “That’s why I am still in high school!” That’s the kind of insights a community read is all about.
Fri. 9/23 – A One Book first – a One Book event cancelled by a lightning storm. Yep – after waiting through three 30-minute delays at the Bakersfield High School/Foothill High School football game, with the planned half-time tribute to our own (Colonel) Wes Moore being presented to the Colonel’s widow, Mary Moore and family, the game was cancelled. Now you all have a chance to attend the rescheduled presentation at the Nov. 4 BHS football game!
Sat. 9/24 – Senator Michael Rubio’s office presented personal copies of “The Other Wes Moore” to all Sgt. John Money’s Lamont Sheriff’s Activities League participants today after a discussion of personal choices led by Rubio field rep. Leticia Perez. Attending CSUB students/recent graduates told the SAL kids their own stories overcoming obstacles, and the young SAL students shared their academic/career dreams. All the kids were excited about hearing Wes Moore on Nov. 8 and transport for the group is being planned.
What terrific One Book program will you be attending, telling your circles of influence about, and bringing friends to in the next few weeks?
– Kristie Coons, Coordinator of One Book, One Bakersfield, One Kern
One Book, One Bakersfield, One Kern invites the community to the kick off for the latest read, “The Other Wes Moore” by Wes Moore, at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20, at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center, 1000 S. Owens St., Bakersfield. The event is free and open to all ages.
Community figures will speak at the event, and youth performances will showcase positive life choices. Performers include an oral language festival team from Thorner Elementary School, youth actors from Bakersfield Community Theatre, and dancers from Penn Point Dance Academy. The Bakersfield Police Department and the Arts Council of Kern will also unveil a community mural project that will depict themes of the book along Union Avenue – a central location that bridges Bakersfield’s diverse communities.
The speaker lineup includes:
Kristie Coons, Coordinator of One Book, One Bakersfield, One Kern
Diane Duquette, Director of Libraries, Kern County Library
Dr. Soraya Coley, CSUB Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs
Fuchsia Ward, Director of Alternative Education for Kern High School District
Rudy Salas, Bakersfield City Council Member
Tony Martinez, Bakersfield Police Department
Claire Putney, Mural artist
The master of ceremonies will be David Gordon, assistant director of the Bakersfield Museum of Art. There will also be a dramatic reading and song performance by Thomas G. Robinson, business development manager at Russo’s Books, and director of marketing for Bakersfield Community Theatre.
For more information, call the Kern County Library at 661-868-0745.
One name, two fates. “The Other Wes Moore” is an inspiring true story of two kids with the same name and similar backgrounds who both lived in Baltimore. One grew up to be a Rhodes Scholar, decorated combat veteran, White House Fellow and business leader. The other is serving a life sentence in prison. It’s a powerful story of hope, the influence of family and community, opportunity, and the cultural and societal barriers to success.
One Book, One Bakersfield, One Kern invites the entire community to read “The Other Wes Moore” this fall and join the conversation that asks questions and searches for solutions to help Kern County youth come of age in a healthy and meaningful way. Get involved by:
- Leading a read at your school or workplace
- Adding this book to your book club’s fall reading list
- Attending the various programs planned around the read
- Donating books for disadvantaged readers
The author, Wes Moore, will be visiting Bakersfield and speaking to the community at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8, at the CSUB Student Recreation Center. Mark your calendars now for this culminating event, at which you will be able to meet the author and get your book signed.