Kwanzaa: A Family Affair

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9780688115531: Kwanzaa: A Family Affair

Explains the principles and symbols of the special traditions associated with Kwanzaa and offers recipes, activity ideas, and craft suggestions that help families create their own unique holiday celebrations.

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About the Author:

Mildred Pitts Walter is one of those rare authors who have mastered both fiction and nonfiction, and who can write as effectively for the picture-book audience as for young adults. Widely admired for her positive, realistic portraits of African-American family life and insightful studies of African-American history and culture, she writes in response to what she once describe in a Publishers Weekly article as "a growing demand from Black parents who are looking for books that provide an authentic portrait of the Black experience written with an understanding that Blackness is more than a mere skin color."

A former kindergarten teacher, Mildred Pitts Walter truly enjoys the company of children and relishes the chance to hear what young people have on their minds during her frequent school and library appearances.

"One thing I always tell young people," she says, "is that I know a lot of people who read and don't write, but I don't know anybody who writes and doesn't read. If you really want to write you should read!"

She often asks her audience what they think a person should do if he or she wants to become a writer. "Look in the want ads?" one precocious kindergartner answered. She gets some difficult questions from her young readers as well. Once, while she was explaining why a good story needs a beginning, a middle, and an end to an elementary school audience, a hand suddenly shot up. "What about the sides?" the student wanted to know. Another time, a fourth-grader asked her, "What did the first writer read?" Mrs. Walter finds these encounters challenging-and grist for the writer's mill.

More grist comes from travel. Mildred Pitts Walter's love of exploration has taken her to western Africa, China, Cuba, Turkey, Europe, and all over the United States. Mrs. Walter is also a dedicated advocate for peace and equality whenever and wherever the opportunity arises. When her book Justin and the Best Biscuits in the World received the Coretta Scott King Award for Literature in 1987, she could not accept the award in person because she was participating in a peace walk from Leningrad (now called St. Petersburg) to Moscow. She has been honored with many other awards, including the 1993 Christopher Award for nonfiction for Mississippi Challenge (Bradbury), and the Parents Choice Award for Literature for Brother to the Wind. In 1996 she was inducted into the Colorado Women's Hall of Fame. When she is not traveling, Mildred Pitts Walter lives in Denver, Colorado.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

The seven priciples of Kwanzaa, called the nguzo saba, are:
Unity
Self-determination
Collective work
Cooperative economics
Purpose
Creativity
Faith

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