In conjunction with the March 25th celebration of World Poetry Day with The Last Hoisan Poets & Friends at the de Young, poets of all ages and abilities are invited to write a short poem inspired by the work of two American artists – sculptor Ruth Asawa (1926-2013) and poet Adelaide Crapsey (1878-1915).
We welcome your participation!
Celebrate Women’s History Month 💗
Poetry in Motion: Participate in the creation of a community poem.
In 2005, artist Ruth Asawa donated 15 sculptures to the deYoung museum.
Write a cinquain inspired by Ruth Asawa’s looped wire sculptures.
Poet Adelaide Crapsey(1878-1915) is credited with invention of a new poetic form: the American cinquain. Her poems share a similarity with the Japanese tanka, another five-line form, in their focuses on imagery and the natural world.
Our friend Tyson really enjoys plants and being outside in nature. He wanted to have the experience of planting and caring for a real tree, in conjunction with a special book project that he is working on with his grandmother. They are collaborating to write story of hope and compassion that involves the history of immigration to the United States through Angel Island.
Tyson and his Paw Paw are excited to collaborate on this story of love, gratitude, and healing that bridges generations, with help from the natural world. Thanks to a project mini-grant from Roots and Shoots USA, we were able to purchase a cherry tree, soil and planter, and give Tyson some money to buy art supplies that he needs to create the illustrations for his storybook.
Through this project, we certainly learned a lot more about cherry trees! Andi’s cousin Todd, who is also an Angel Island descendant, absorbed a lot of knowledge about planting vegetables and fruit trees, passed on from his grandparents who tended their home gardens. Todd shared some very important advice with us about cherry trees— we would certainly need to purchase a second tree, if we wanted fruit in the future, because most sweet cherry trees do not self-pollinate without the help of honeybees. Jan suggested that we go to Green Acres in Elk Grove to look for some nice trees. Since we knew that Tyson would like to enjoy cherries with his friends, we purchased two trees – one cherry tree is a Bing; the other is a Lapin. Tracy, who works at Green Acres, offered Tyson some great tips on how to plant and care for his new cherry trees.
Good for All: Roots & Shoots Celebration 2023
When Dr. Jane Goodall came to the Oakland Zoo for the Good for All Roots & Shoots Celebrationon Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022, there was time after her remarks for a Q & A session hosted by April Z, a freshman at UC Berkeley. We recorded the response to our question, “Do you have a favorite myth or story that you heard as a child, that you would like to share with future generations?” Of course, Dr. Jane wanted to share what she learned from animals, saying of her dog Rusty, “I think he was sent to teach me” because Rusty didn’t actually belong to her family, but lived in a hotel around the corner. “Out of nowhere comes… the most amazing intelligent dog that I’ve ever known.” The young protagonist in Tyson & Genny’s story finds an injured golden finch, which the boy names “Tien-si,” which means “Angel” in Chinese. The boy and the bird become friends on Angel Island.
Dr. Jane also answered a wonderful question from the 5th graders and their teacher Carol at San Dominico School asked “What student activism has made an impact on you? What story has stayed in your mind and your heart?” She responded with a moving story, about planting trees for the future, involving the first group of Roots and Shoots started in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
National Angel Island Day 2023 at the de Young Museum
In the coming weeks, Tyson will be picking out a few of his illustrations to share in a special pop-up exhibiton created for National Angel Island Day at the de Young Museum in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. In 2010, former president Barack Obama proclaimed January 21 as National Angel Island Day, calling upon the people of the United States to “learn more about the history of Angel Island and to observe this anniversary with appropriate ceremonies and activities.”
On January 21, 2023, the de Young Museum, Angel Island Immigration Station and UC Berkeley’s Future Histories Lab present a special free Saturday program, “Echoes from Angel Island” with The Last Hoisan Poets & Del Sol Quartet, dedicated to the ancestors and descendants of Angel Island immigrants. We invite the public to join us to learn more about Angel Island history through poetry, music and art, including Tyson’s illustrations for “The Bird from Heaven,” a story written by his grandmother, poet Genny Lim.
For the 2023 National Angel Island Day program, Genny will read her poem, The Journey, which closed Del Sol Quartet & The Last Hoisan Poets virtual presentation of Angel Island Insightfor APICC’s United States of Asian America Festival 2021.
“The Journey” was originally written and performed as the concluding poem for Lenora Lee Dance’s Within These Walls, an integrated, multi-media contemporary dance project performed at the Angel Island Island Immigration Station in 2017.
Within These Walls, choreographed by Lenora Lee Dance, performed by the Berkeley Dance Project, directed by SanSan Kwan, will be presented at the Zellerbach Playhouse from February 23-26, 2023, in conjunction with UC Berkeley’s Arts + Design Initiative and Future Histories Lab’s project, A Year on Angel Island,
This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit http://www.calhum.org
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily represent those of California Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.
ANGEL ISLAND: IN SIGHT 2021 at the Angel Island Immigration Station is made possible with support from North East Medical Services (NEMS). https://www.nems.org/
Mendell Morgan, the public library director, thought about closing on Wednesday, out of respect for those who’d lost their children. Ultimately he decided to keep the library open. He wanted to show his community what, in his view, a library really is.
“A refuge. A safe place. An escape.”
Every Wednesday at El Progreso Memorial Library in Uvalde, the children’s librarian, Mrs. Martha Carreon usually does story time for young children, but she didn’t know if she could do it that day. “I felt like it was going to be too much to look at those little faces. I didn’t think I would be able to bear it.”
About 24 hours later, Carreon stood in front of a group of 10 smiling faces, struggling not to cry as the children giggled and sang along with her.
600 Books of Hope for The Children of Uvalde
Carreon’s wish to create a safe space for children and community after the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School, inspired @pinatadirector, children’s book author e.E. Charlton-Trujillo, founder of the nonprofit Never Counted Out, to organize a book drive called 600 Books of Hope.
“600 Books of Hope is an opportunity for us as a community of artists and writers, along with the companies that publish us, to embrace the children of Robb Elementary School. My goal is to collect a minimum of 600 books of hope which would ensure that every child there would receive one book. One tangible thing they can take with them that might shine a ray of promise in their unbearable darkness. My ideal goal is to collect an additional 1,300 books to gift to the town’s remaining K-6 schools: Anton Elementary, Benson Elementary, Dalton Elementary, and Sacred Heart, knowing they too suffer the consequences. This would allow for every grade school kid in Uvalde to have at least one book, one token of hope to grab onto.”
We sent a note to e.E. to find out how to best participate and received this email in response.
Thank you for reaching out. I am so grateful to our community of librarians, authors, illustrators, and publishers who are showing up for the kids of Uvalde. People across America, Canada, and elsewhere have messaged, making this goal achievable. It’s truly a beautiful thing…
… In a time where we can feel powerless and overwhelmed, we as a community are shining the light of what we do into the hearts of those we create for. By doing that, we are giving these children a safe place to be held. To feel seen. To feel hope. I am so grateful to you for that.
The Asian-Pacific Islander Cultural Center (APICC) proudly presents GENERATIONS OF POWER, a multi-disciplinary showcase featuring The Last Hoisan Poets & Del Sol Quartet (spoken word with live instrumentation), Autonomous Region (jazz fusion), First Voice (story theater), Asian American Dance Performances (contemporary dance), Leela Youth Dance Company (classical North Indian dance), and tashi tamate weiss (movement/ritual).
Each year on Martin Luther King Day of Service, ArtsEd4All officially launches the Blake Mini Library Book Drive. Founded in December 2013 by then six-year old Blake Ansari in New York City, Blake Mini Library supports the reading, writing and science literacy of children ages birth to 21 living in homes for runaways, homeless shelters and foster care. Here on the West Coast in San Francisco, we’ve shared our love of books and reading with the children and families at the Hamilton Families shelter in the Tenderloin since 2016.
In 2022, we are pleased to kick off the 7th Annual Blake Mini Library Book Drive with a special online film screening of OBAMA: In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union. This three-part documentary chronicling the personal and political journey of President Barack Obama is available to registered viewers via View on Demand. Please RSVP on Eventbriteto receive a link and password enabling FREE unlimited access to our virtual screening room from Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service through Presidents’ Day — Monday, January 17, 2022 at 12 noon PST to Tuesday, February 22, 2022, 12 noon PST.
The New 3Rs
It is especially exciting to present this film in partnership with The New 3Rs, an educational program that uses stories of social justice to dismantle racism. The New 3Rs educates and empowers through the art of social justice storytelling, building relationships, and fostering a sense of responsibility. By offering programs and resources, the organization educates and empowers children, parents, educators, and workplace leaders through a lens of racial justice and racial awareness.
“The New 3RS is a diverse group. We listen to each other’s stories. We talk about the great things Black people gave the world and racial topics that usually are not taught in school. The New 3Rs gives me hope and strength. And for that, I am grateful!”
Students of The New 3Rs, including Blake Mini Library founder Blake Ansari, plan to participate by viewing the film. The students will select a racial inequity issue from The New 3Rs curriculum and envision how they or their nation can become a more perfect union in areas such as education, health, environment, and other topics of concern? The New 3Rs will create A More Perfect Union Anthology that will share student essays and art which they will send to Congressional Black Caucus and President Biden in late spring.
Download The New 3Rs 2019-2020 Student AnthologyHERE.
Take Action: My School Votes!
When We All Vote is a leading national, nonpartisan initiative on a mission to change the culture around voting and to increase participation in each and every election by helping to close the race and age gap. Created by Michelle Obama, When We All Vote brings together individuals, institutions, brands, and organizations to register new voters across the country and advance civic education for the entire family and voters of every age to build an informed and engaged electorate for today and generations to come. https://whenweallvote.org/
My School Votes is an action-oriented civics program where students learn by doing, to build student leadership, advocate for local issues, create exceptional voter registration campaigns, and together, launch young people into cycles of life-long civic engagement.
Geared towards children in Kindergarten through 5th, Parent Read Alouds feature Michelle Obama, WWAV co-chairs, and parents from around the country reading civics themed children’s literature paired with tangible learning opportunities for parents to engage in with their children.
“Change only happens when ordinary people get involved” – @BarackObama.
ArtsEd4All invites young artists to design a one-word poster reminding grown ups of the importance of voting. The poster criteria: The one word, VOTE, should be big, clear and visible. The rest, images & media, size is up to you. Parents can share photos of poster art (no faces, hands only please) and credit the artists with first name & last initial, age & city of residence.
Fill Yourself with Hope
Each year, former President Barack Obama releases a list of favoritebooks, music and films, and we enjoy doing the same! We hope that you will enjoy our recommended reading list compiled for this year’s 2022 Blake Mini Library book drive.
“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.”
Del Sol Performing Arts Organization’s ANGEL ISLAND INSIGHT explores the history of the Angel Island Immigration Station by offering a suite of virtual and in-person programs examining the musicality of the disappearing Hoisan-wa dialect by The Last Hoisan Poets and Del Sol Quartet.
These presentations expand public engagement with composer Huang Ruo’s Angel Island – Oratoriofor Voices and Strings. World premiere performance with Del Sol Quartet and Volti, directed by Robert Geary on October 22 2021, 8pm at the Presidio Theatre in San Francisco, with performances on Angel Island on Saturday, October 23, 2021, pending safety restrictions.
“As an Asian American artist, this opportunity to showcase a history that has both a direct connection to my ethnicity as well as a global connection is incredibly empowering.”
– Charlton Lee, Del Sol’s founder & Artistic Director
In a journey that flows from anger and sorrow, using gratitude as a way to find joy, this Zoom program weaves together their poetry with performances by the Del Sol Quartet, music by Asian-American composers Kui Dong, Theresa Wong, Jungyoon Wie, Huang Ruo, and a collaborative composition performed by The Last Hoisan Poets with the Del Sol Quartet. Artist Q&A moderated by Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation’s executive director Edward Tepporn.
Online program held via Zoom on Saturday, May 22, 2021, 2pm.
Three descendants of Angel Island immigrants, The Last Hoisan Poets – Genny Lim, Flo Oy Wong and Nellie Wong – use poetry to speak their individual truths and creatively reclaim the Hoisan-wa language and culture, with performances by the Del Sol Quartet, music by Asian-American composers.
APICC USAAF 2021 Digital Program
Haw Meong Suey (Good Life’s Water)
This collaborative poem written by poets Nellie Wong, Flo Oy Wong, and Genny Lim, was performed with accompaniment by the Del Sol Quartet on Saturday May 22, 2021 for the United States of Asian America Festival 2021, presented by the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center. “Haw meong suey” is a Hoisan-wa phrase that translates as “good life’s water.” A person who has “haw meong suey” is a vessel of blessings.
On Tuesday morning, artist/poet/educator Flo Oy Wong shared her photo of these gorgeous peaches ripening on a tree in school garden near her home. Sweet Dawn, Flo’s neighborhood walking partner, wanted to bring her friends to enjoy the vibrant school garden, home of milkweed plants and more.
“From my morning exploration at the school garden behind my house. The insects – wasps, bees, ladybugs, Monarchs (big ones) – were plentiful.”
wasps lady bug bees buzz
on sunflowers milkweed grapevines
FLO OY WONG July 28, 2021
Two days later on Thursday morning, Flo and her neighborhood walking partners, Wonderful Wendy and Sweet Dawn were so sad. They discovered that the peach tree had been cut down. Flo wrote a poem, Robust Peaches 2, about the giving volunteer tree — now a memory shared by friends.
Robust Peaches 2
kissed by the sun,
grow by a low concrete
wall at the neighborhood
The peach tree’s inviting
palette, a deep reddish hue
with gold undertones, glow
under azure sky.
Abundance of fruit weighs
heavily on limbs limping
towards ground, enchanting
walkers who pass by.
One day, workers tear down
the peach tree, a volunteer one.
No one planted it.
It just grew.
Soon, when children return,
masked or double-masked,
to start the new school year,
the peach tree, pregnant with
bounty, will no longer be there.
FLO OY WONG
July 29, 2021
THE PEACH (Prunus persica, Rosaceae) is a deciduous tree native to the region of Northwest China between the Tarim Basin and the north slopes of the Kunlun Mountains, where it was first domesticated and cultivated. It bears edible juicy fruits with various characteristics, most called peaches and others, nectarines.
Peaches are not only a popular fruit, but also are symbolic in many cultural traditions, such as in art, paintings, and folk tales such as Peaches of Immortality.
The Peach Blossom Springis a fable written by Chinese poet Tao Yuanming (365-427) in 421 CE about “the chance discovery of an ethereal utopia where people lead an ideal existence in harmony with nature, unaware of the outside world for centuries.”
This stunning video is generated by a model which simulates complex interactions within the tree, including growth, carbon partitioning among organs and responses to environmental, management and genetic factors. The model presented here is of a peach tree but is not calibrated to a specific tree. Developed by Mitch Allen, P. Prusinkiewicz and T. DeJong in partnership with The Virtual Tree. From the UC DAVIS Fruit & Nut Research & Information Center.
The Heirloom Project with Roots and Shoots was created by ArtsEd4All to encourage the harvesting and sharing of free seeds with friends. The project shares stories and free resources about seed saving, planting and other small acts of kindness that can be taken to help pollinators, people and the environment.
In normal times, today is the day that we would be delivering the Blake Mini Library book donations to be enjoyed by the young readers in celebration ofRead Across America Day. But as you know, the times are anything but normal.
Thanks to Christina and the fantastic team at Hamilton Families, we were able to find a way to help fill a need. The shelter was in need of Spanish language books.
We are happy to report that thanks to the generosity of community. We received the email this afternoon from First Book confirming that our shipment of 100 Spanish Language children’s books is on its way! We would like to offer our deepest thanks to the following individuals for their generous support of the 2021 Blake Mini Library Book Drive.
Young Wong Tony Fong Patrick Wu Dennis Austria Noel Santos Sam Hom Victor Yan Alan Hom Dennis Dong Andy Kwong Loangle Newsome Karl Chan Jill Haw Karin Rylander Frank Bravo Olga Kiselev Kim Altamero
Felicia Westphal Frank Obi Gurneet Kaur Edgar Cardenas Brentyn Carder Chris Wong Aida Austria Tony Miranda Jun Merced Mao Elma Noel Asiatico Jerry Poblador Stephen Macasero Paul Campbell Dori Garcia Campbell Teresa Proano & Family Ruby Roque Quan
Theng Mangabat Ryan & Michelle Wong Cindy Castronovo Jon Wong Jelin Hoh Airene Austria Joey Jao Emmanuel Alan Merced Aldrin Austria Todd Fong Debbie Fong Jan Willemse Jamie Willemse Olivia Hicks Charles & Nuria Higueras Alex Higueras
¿Cómo usas tu voz? (How do you use your voice?)
In celebration of Read Across America Day, we started working on a new project – a way to safely celebrate reading together. Today, we are inviting friends to help to record a short reading from Sonia Sotomayor’s wonderfully story for young children, in both Spanish (¡Solo Pregunta!) and English (Just Ask!).
If you would like to help to record either the Spanish or English Language text for one of the characters in the book, please reach out and let us know that you would like to help by recording a reading for this special Read Across America Day project.
Readers are using the voice memo app on their phones or downloading a free app such as Audacity to record their readings in a quiet spot. Once we receive all of the audio files, the individual readings will be used to create one community read aloud file which we will share with the shelter.
A big thank you to our community of read aloud volunteers:
Alec Hawley, Antigone Trimis, Audrey Pasillas, Charles Higueras, Charlton Lee, Joanie Juster, Kathryn Bates, Linda Higueras, Maggy Frias, Mara Grimes, Maribel Pasillas, Miriam Magaña, Norma Rodriguez, Nuria Higueras, Pat Zamora, Rosa Rodriguez Perry and Tara Cartegena.
If you are interested in joining this project, we are keeping track of the people who have volunteered to read HERE, where you can see which characters are spoken for so far.
If you know of anyone who would really enjoy reading for this project, please invite them to join us for Read Across America Day. We welcome and celebrate community participation!
“There are uses to adversity, and they don’t reveal themselves until tested. Whether it’s serious illness, financial hardship, or the simple constraint of parents who speak limited English, difficulty can tap unexpected strengths.” – Sonia Sotomayor
Every year, since 2016 when the small rainbow-colored librarywas first built and donated by San Francisco school children to the homeless shelter, ArtsEd4All has hosted the annual Blake Mini Library Book Drive benefitting the Hamilton Families. Our connection to this philanthropic effort began in 2014, after reading a story about a 6-year old boy in New York City named Blake Ansari who began a book drive with the support of his family and friends. Our annual Blake Mini Library book drive in San Francisco is typically held from Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service to Valentine’s Day, with delivery to the shelter taking place on Read Across America Day. The project presents an opportunity for people of all ages to work together to share a love of reading through small acts of kindness that also encourage and support the philanthropic efforts of school children.
The 2020 Blake Mini Library Book Drivewas one of the last in-person events of 2020 where we were able to work with children, prior to the closing of San Francisco public schools due to the coronavirus pandemic. Last year, thanks to the efforts of students and community at Dianne Feinstein Elementary School, we delivered 800 books with handwritten notes of encouragement to the shelter in March.
2020 was a year unlike any other, and we knew that it would be highly unlikely that we would be able to host the book drive as we usually do this year in 2021. We explored alternatives, such as direct purchase and shipment of books, but soon learned from the shelter that there are additional issues of capacity and storage to consider for organizations operating under these challenging present conditions.
¡Vámonos! Let’s Go!
This year: A new challenge for the 2021 Blake Mini Library Book Drive
In searching for a way to best help with pressing needs, we learned that there is a shortage of Spanish language books for children at the shelter. After confirming the shelter’s storage capacity, we are happy to share that we will be able to support the children at Hamilton Families with a Spanish language book drive.
For the Shelter:
0-3y= 20 books
3-5y= 20 books
For Transitional Housing:
0-3y= 20 books
3-5y= 20 books
We seek 49 sponsors who will pledge to donate $5 each towards the purchase Spanish language books for the children at the Hamilton Families.
After pricing the costs for an order of 100 Spanish Language children’s books from First Book, we have come up with this modest, but meaningful goal. While we are unable to work directly with children this year in support of their acts of kindness, we hope to continue supporting these efforts again in the future. We welcome your participation in this year’s Blake Mini Library Book Drive and thank you for sharing your love of reading with the children at Hamilton Families.