A Message from Karyn

Can you believe it's been a year since we kicked off our monthly newsletter? Through our community's continued support we have grown by more than 300 subscribers. 

This month, Sweet Blackberry is proud to announce two social milestones. We are now on Instagram @swtblackberry and we have officially relaunched our blog! This month's blog post highlights poet Kwame Alexander on behalf of National Poetry Month and we've created an activity encouraging children to write their own poems as well. 

As we make our way into Spring, we will be sure to keep you up to date on the latest Sweet Blackberry happenings like school visits, and ways community organizations around the nation help educate children on lesser known parts of American history like Boston's Mary Baker Eddy Library's wonderful activities during Black History Month. If you are an educator, please be sure to participate in the survey on how you bring Black history into your classroom at the bottom of our newsletter and share with your colleagues. 

Bring Sweet Blackberry 
To Your School

Want to incorporate stories of African-American achievement into your lesson plans? Sweet Blackberry will come to your school to share these triumphant stories of individuals surmounting the odds and making invaluable contributions to our society. 

As you know, these American stories are rarely taught in our schools due to the lack of time and resources. Sweet Blackberry's stories illustrate for our children the concept that tremendous obstacles are actually opportunities for greatness! 

To learn more about our school visits, please contact us at admin@sweetblackberry.org
Celebrating African-American Poets

For many, expressing one's self through art creates a platform to aide in the communication of thoughts, hopes, dreams and even hardships. For the African-American community, poetry such as Langston Hughes' Mother to Son and Maya Angelou's Still I Rise have also served as a means to highlight the strength that many minorities posses despite life's unfair and unjust obstacles. 

This month, Sweet Blackberry is paying ode to African-American poets. We commemorate pioneers such as Nikki Giovanni, Gwendolyn Brooks, Claude McKay, Alice Walker, Countee Cullen and many others who have in someway not only enlightened people of color with relatable expressions but also inspired so many to follow in their footsteps. 

In addition to this month's activity, encouraging young people to write a poem of their own and having a parent, teacher or guardian submit them to admin@sweetblackberry.org , we are also highlighting poet and Newberry Medal winner Kwame Alexander and his new book of poems, The Playbook on our blog. 

Check out the post by author Kamichi Jackson, here

Follow Us On Instagram! 

Sweet Blackberry is delighted to announce that we recently joined the Instagram community! Be sure to follow us for the latest black history trivia and happenings. Simply search for   @swtblackberry  and be sure to follow. 

What We're Reading! 

Another Round - The Original Bad and Boujee (with Karyn Parsons) 

EBONY -  This Year's List of Pulitzer Prize Winners Is Full of Melanin

A Reunion For A Cause

Earlier this month the cast of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reunited to fulfill a prize won by a supporter of Sweet Blackberry though the charity auction site CharityBuzz. 

Congratulations to the Forever Hope Foundation for being our winner. We hope you all enjoyed the reunion as much as the cast did!
This month, we are continuing to raise funds for our latest project sharing the story of the first African-American female pilot, Bessie Coleman. This animated short will take children and adults alike through Coleman's journey and determination to defy odds by moving to France from Atlanta, Texas to learn to fly. 
Book of The Month
The Playbook By: Kwame Alexander

You gotta know the rules to play the game.  Ball is life. Take it to the hoop. Soar. What can we imagine for our lives? What if we were the star players, moving and grooving through the game of life? What if we had our own rules of the game to help us get what we want, what we aspire to, what will enrich our lives? 
Illustrated with photographs by Thai NeaveThe Playbook is intended to provide inspiration on the court of life. Each rule contains wisdom from inspiring athletes and role models such as Nelson Mandela, Serena Williams, LeBron James, Carli Lloyd, Steph Curry and Michelle Obama. Kwame Alexander also provides his own poetic and uplifting words, as he shares stories of overcoming obstacles and winning games in this motivational and inspirational book just right for graduates of any age and anyone needing a little encouragement.

Check it out on Amazon Smile  here. 
A Sweet Blackberry Treat: 
Mary Baker Eddy Library 

In February, our friends at the Mary Baker Eddy Library in Boston, Massachusetts screened Sweet Blackberry's animated films on Henry "Box" Brown, Janet Collins and Garrett Morgan to their your library go-ers during their "February Vacation Week." 

Throughout the week, children were also able to see the Harvard Passus Stepping Team lead a demonstration and learn about historic African-American fraternities and sororities, create writer and illustrator Ashley Bryan inspired puppets and even color Jean-Michel Basquiat inspired illustrations. 

Thanks to Marie Palladino and the staff at Mary Baker Eddy Library for sharing images of this amazing event with us. These ideas are truly amazing and we deeply appreciate you including Sweet Blackberry among your Black History Month activities. 

See the full gallery of photos from the event here.
Request For Educators: 
How did you celebrate Black History Month? 

Black History Month has come and gone, and we're curious to know how educators around the nation celebrated the month long holiday with their students. 

Submit photos of your students Black History Month activities to sweetblackberrynewsletter@gmail.com and we will share the photos on our blog and in next month's newsletter. 

Of course, Black history should be shared year-round! So tell us your plans for the remainder of the school year. What historical figures will you highlight in your curriculum? What books will your students read, or what videos will they watch? We'd love to know! 

Simply fill out this form, if interested, and you might just find your classroom featured in an upcoming blog post or newsletter.

My writing career spanned over nearly fifty years. 
I received a PEN Open Book Award for Tales of the Out and Gone. 
I was previously names Everett LeRoi Jones. 

Who am I? 
Tweet your answer to  @SwtBlackberry  for a shout out in next month's newsletter! 

The answer to last month's trivia question was Toni Morrison! Congratulations @BlackMail4U for answering correctly.