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Find an Untold Narrative In Our Library!

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  • Author Visits | Untold Narratives

    The Moonlit Vine The Moonlit Vine can be a wonderful addition to your English and History curricula. To learn more about the content of the book, visit The Moonlit Vine overview page. To enhance student understanding of the material, you can bring the author, Elizabeth Santiago, to your school for a visit. Here are details around school visits, lectures, workshops and other discussions . ​ Potential Curricular Topics to Accompany The Moonlit Vine To help scaffold integrating the book into your lessons, below are some potential topics, guiding questions, and articles to include in your planning . These are only a few ideas to consider. ​ Topic 1: Who are the Taínos? Background Reading (to begin): Genes of “Extinct” Caribbean Islanders Found in Living People . Science Magazine Researchers Find Cave Art in Uninhabited Caribbean Island . Repeating Islands Abuelas, Ancestors, and Atabey: The Spirit of Taíno Resurgence . Smithsonian National Museum of The American Indian What Became of the Taíno . Smithsonian Magazine Guiding Questions: Taínos are still here! Recent discoveries reveal the truth about the existence of people who were said to have become extinct. What does that say about the power of narrative and which stories and histories are elevated and learned ? Why are the Taíno called Taíno? Why do Puerto Ricans refer to themselves as Bori n queños? What are the Taíno contributions to language, history and culture? ​ ​ Topic 2: The History of Puerto Rico and Puerto Rican Identity Background Reading (to begin): The History of Puerto Rico . Puerto Rico - History and Heritage . Smithsonian Magazine History of Puerto Rico . Frommer's Guiding Questions: How has music, food, religion, and belief systems been influenced by Puerto Rico's African, European and Indigenous cultures? What is the Jones Act of 1917 and what is its relevance to Puerto Rican history and identity? How is Puerto Rican migration to the United States similar or different to other groups who have come to the U.S. to pursue economic stability? ​ Do you want something more in-depth? Check out publisher Lee and Low's Teacher Guide ! School Visits and The Moonlit Vine Specific Workshops ​ In person or virtual school visits, lectures or presentations 1-hour to 90-minute long presentation and book talk $500-$750 In an hour or 90-minutes, there will be an overview of the book and the inspiration for it, selected readings from the book​ and open discussion. Elizabeth has also met with student creative writing groups to review student projects and discuss writing craft. ​ In person or virtual workshops 90-minute to 3-hour long workshop $500-$1000 Workshops typically include an overview of the book and the inspiration for it, selected readings from the book​ and open discussion. Building off that, workshop topics include identifying and capturing little known histories, tapping into your story​, writing about ancestors and writing about family and community. ​ Covering Travel for In-Person Events Local (within 1-2 hour driving distance of Boston, MA) does not require an overnight stay. No additional coverage for travel needed. Non Local (more than 2 hours from Boston, MA) depends on location, but train or airfare should be covered by requester as well as one night of hotel stay, again, depending on location. ​ Visit Elizabeth's Teaching Books page to learn even more about her and The Moonlit Vine! ​ Reach out to discuss options and schedule a visit! Contact Us

  • Memoir | The Untold Narratives

    What is Nonfiction? Nonfiction is a form of writing that tries to accurately represent an event, information, people, or community. This means that the subject of the writing really happened. It is different from fiction because the writer does not make up the story, but it can be told from a subjective (how our biases, opinions and experiences shape an event) or an objective viewpoint (an attempt to be free of biases or a specific perspective). Nonfiction attempts to be accurate, but that doesn’t mean it always is, it just means that the author believes that their account of the subject is truthful. Nonfiction can take many forms including self-help books, biographies, memoirs, history, cookbooks, news articles, op-eds, and travel writing. Types of Nonfiction Did you know that nonfiction books are the most sold books in the United States? There are many types of nonfiction, so these are just some to get to you started: Narrative Nonfiction : Narrative nonfiction (sometimes called creative nonfiction) tries to tell a true story about an event, place, people, or community. This genre, although telling a true story, is written like a fictional story and flows as though it was a novel instead of real life. It often includes, like in fiction, a climax and a resolution to the story. Expository Nonfiction : Expository writing educates the reader about a specific subject and exposes new information or teaches them a new skill. It presents information and can come in many different formats. Examples include news articles, textbooks, or cookbooks. Examples of Nonfiction Here’s a list of nonfiction examples that can help you start thinking about your own writing. A couple of questions to ask yourself for further thinking are included after each link. If Your Schools Won’t Teach Anti-Racism, Here’s What You Can Do at Home : by Meena Harris How did the author use real life experiences and examples to support her thoughts? How does she provide new information? Teaching Ferguson & Black Lives Matter : by Bettina Love How did you feel reading about the author discussing events that happened in their classroom? How does the author convey a story through their writing? Exercise: The Ultimate Form of Self Care : by Dr. Jacque Strait, PhD What did you think of the way the information is formatted? How is the writer’s point made? Stay Curious in Tutka Bay: Because Small Things Matter : by Juno Kim What did you think of how the story of the travel is told? What impact does reading someone’s account of a place, you may not have been to, have on you? Nonfiction Topic Ideas When you write nonfiction you generally need to have some sort of research or knowledge of the subject to support your writing. You may need to do some additional research depending on the subject you wish to write about. Now You Try! Read the following topics and pick 1-2 that you might be interested in writing about. Try to come up with a few ideas for each topic, which can help you form an outline for your writing: What event in history do you find really interesting, or do you think needs to be told from a different perspective? Is there a person in your community or family who has a cool or interesting life? Who is it and why would you want to write about them? Are there recipes from your family or community you would want to share? What are some of the recipes? What current issue (schools, pollution, etc.) do you feel passionate about and have a strong opinion that you can express? What research would you need to support your opinion? Is there a place you’ve traveled to or a community you live in that you think the world needs to know more about? Where is that place and who are the different people or things someone would need to experience? Is there a skill or subject you know a lot about and want to teach other people? What is that skill or passion you have? How would you go about writing about it if you had to describe it step by step? Nonfiction Prompts Pick 1 of the prompts below and write a response to it: What event in your life has angered you the most? Write the scene where it happened, and tell us what you would do if it happened again. Write about a secret that you’ve never told to the person you love. Find an object that means a lot to you in some way. Using the memories, the connection, and meaning of that object to you, try to create an advertisement as to why someone else should have this object as well. Free write a diary entry about your schedule as soon as you woke up today. Pick a very specific topic you have always wanted to learn about. For Example, dark matter in space, cat’s purring, tornado weather, etc. Do research on this topic and explain how it works. Want More? Here are a few nonfiction works to help you generate ideas about topics you can write about: An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz: The history of the United States is often told through the perspective of those who have colonized others and held power. This history book is told from the perspective of Indigenous people on how history unfolded. The Memo: What Women of Color Need to Know to Secure a Seat at the Table by Minda Harts: Drawing upon her knowledge working in many businesses, the author wrote a book that helps women of color figure out how to navigate the workplace. The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey by Che Guevara: Born in Argentina, Che Guevara, then a medical student, took a journey across South America in honor of his friend’s birthday. In this book, the audience learns more about how the trip and how the people he met on it changed his life. Vietnamese Food Any Day by Andrea Nguyen: Our parents and families are often a key part of how and what we cook. In this cookbook, the author draws upon her experiences growing up and her mother’s cooking tips to write a book about the food of her culture. Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin by John D’Emilio: This biography of civil rights activist Bayard Rustin describes his life and the way his background and identity shaped his life and legacy. Other Helpful Examples The 20 Best Works of Nonfiction of the Decade ‹ Literary Hub Ten essential resources for nonfiction writers Learn About Nonfiction: Definition, Examples, and 9 Essential Nonfiction Genres - 2022 - MasterClass Are you ready to submit your nonfiction worl or a section of it? Upload here!

  • Healing Family Trauma | Featured Article

    Tags: Boricua, Puerto Rico, Colonialism, elders, Indigenous

  • Reflections on a Life | Untold Narratives

    Reflections on A Life by Rhonda Weaver An excerpt from a novel in progress ​ I remember a plaque a friend of mine gave to me about 40 years ago. I had left my very stable full-time job to pursue something less stable – writing. I wanted to bring the fantasies and the stories in my head into the world. It was such a need at that time that my friend, being a great supportive friend, gave me a plaque. It was one of those, “If I had my life to live over…” kinds of things. It was supposedly written by a 96-year-old women reflecting on her life. There were three paragraphs and each paragraph began with, “If I had my life to live over I would…” Some of the things the author would do if she had her life to live over again included running barefoot somewhere or traveling more. As I sit in my comfortable recliner with my cat, Lady Marmalade, on my lap, I can’t help think of that plaque. It was supposed to inspire its readers to live life to the fullest, but it always made me feel bad because there were some things that I didn’t care to do and some that I couldn’t physically do. Now that I am 67 years old and the cancer has decided to reappear, I can’t help but think about that plaque and wonder if I had my life to live over, what would I do differently? Now that I am feeling close to the end of my life, was my life a life worth living? I have been and continue to feel spiritually bankrupt. When I think of death, I think of eternal darkness. I think of not knowing life the way I had known it. All of my beliefs, desires and consciousness gone. I will never be a person again. I will never feel feelings again and it scares the crap out of me. I look to the clock. I have been sitting in this recliner for 6 hours. I had turned the TV off at midnight and had meant to go to bed, but the draw of the dark and the comfort of the recliner made it difficult to move on. There’s also something about sitting in the stillness of the late evening early morning that conjures up the darkest of thoughts like leaving this life and Lady Marmalade. I thought I had come to terms with where I was at this point in my short existence, but maybe I need to go back. Back to the beginning of my life to prepare for the end of it.

  • Join our Mailing List | Untold Narratives

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  • 30+ Islamic Stories for Muslim Kids | Featured Article

    Tags: Muslim, Children’s stories, Kid’s stories, Islam, Ramadam

  • Creaex Flex | Untold Narratives

    Excerpt from Creaex Flex ​ by Desmond Ugoji ​ “I don’t want any trouble at all.” I slowly brought my hands to the air and gave him my most innocent smile. “Relax,” I told him and myself. It was a bright sunny day, perfect for a stroll. The enormous trees of the forest surrounded us and I remembered passing by a dazzling pond. Of course, I would have loved to have taken full advantage of this beautiful day but with the patch of grass still on fire next to me, and a very unstable man with his hands ignited with fire in front of me, it was impossible to do. His skin was similar to mine, a coconut-colored brown. He had short, black hair that was cut in a mohawk and a sharp nose. He wore a black hoodie with ripped jeans, which looked more like this guy made the holes himself because they looked like the size of melons, and he finished the look with some grey, leather boots. I didn’t really know his name or why he was throwing fireballs at me. I was just walking casually through the forest till he started yelling. “Don’t try to hide it! I know who you are” he growled as he launched a barrage of fireballs. I shifted my body to the right to avoid one to the arm. I turned around and sprinted away from more fireballs heading my way. It had been a couple of months since I’d run anywhere close to as fast as right now. I’d been told that my speed put a cheetah’s to shame and since Primary 2, I’d been in a bunch of statewide races, winning gold in the 100 meters, the 1 mile, and the infamous 400 meters where, as a 14-year-old, I completed it in 10.7 seconds. I scurried up a short tree and lifted myself onto a long, sturdy branch. I leaned toward the bole of the tree and grabbed my heart. I haven’t run for at least fifteen seconds but I was already covered in sweat and my breathing was out of whack. I took out a small photo from my pocket of me and Leeb when we were eleven or twelve. I sighed in relief. “Good, the picture is safe.” Because of the flash from the camera, I was frowning while my left hand covered both my eyes. In contrast, Leeb was smiling widely as he always did. I put the photo back in my pocket and jumped down from the tree. I didn’t see any more fireballs so I thought it was safe, more or less. I’d love nothing more than to continue sprinting away but I left my bag back there. How am I gonna get my bag with that homicidal lunat—? “Found ya!” The crazy guy hollered. Around twenty feet in front of me, he stopped at a dime, and in his right hand, he held a fireball the size of a bicycle wheel. It looked just like a spitting image of the sun if it were smaller and way less bright. He took the stance of a major league pitcher and gave me a bitter stare. I put my hands on my knees to stop them from trembling. It’s like being held at gunpoint. I could either run or be a hero and fight. Of course, running is always my first option but I couldn’t afford to lose my bag. I sweated ferociously, so much that it stained my green sweatshirt and my grey sweatpants. A bird flew near the Fire Man and immediately combusted into a fire. I still heard the rapid pounding of my heart despite the loud cackles of the miniature sun. Suddenly, one by one, trees combusted as well. I’m used to heat, heck, I used to light stuff on fire when it was like 110 degrees. But when I tell you the heat the miniature sun was emitting, it was like living on the sun with another sun blasting a heat ray. It got hotter and hotter as more and more trees and birds combusted, and his miniature sun increased to the size of a truck tire. He finished his pitch by chucking the bigger miniature sun straight at me, and, in half a second, my feet moved before my brain could think. I sprinted toward the miniature sun. Now I had one option left and that was to use my own creaex. As I got closer to the miniature sun, my clothes cemented onto my simmering skin, and my right boot combusted on fire. I couldn’t breathe. At this point, it couldn’t be called sweating anymore; I was melting, dripping, possibly evaporating, and anything else ice cream did on a hot day. In a matter of seconds, I stood a few feet away from the miniature sun, showing why having speed can be considered both a blessing and a curse. I saw its ugly, fiery face. I also saw that if I messed up my estimation on the spacing between me and this giant fireball, if I missed one single second and if I overestimated how much heat my body can take, I will die painfully. “Die,” he snarled. I slid my hand to my butt and a thick, green tail, a couple of inches taller than me, appeared. At the base, it started a couple of inches wide and as it curved up it got wider and wider. Leeb used to tell me all the time that it looked like a green chili pepper from his grandma’s garden, which when I thought about it, was a really good comparison. I pivoted 360 degrees and with an immense swipe of my tail, the miniature sun instantly dispersed, leaving only fragments of cinders. To be quite frank, I didn’t know what to expect. I was just as surprised as the guy who threw the fireball. He was frozen stiff as a board and his eyes were wide, bitterly staring at me. I gave him a stare of my own that lasted a couple of seconds, just to show him he ain’t as tough as he thought. I exploded off my left leg and ran straight toward him at top speed. He tripped over himself and closed his eyes, probably thinking, I’m gonna get my head popped off, and he’d be exactly right. I leapfrogged over him instead and continued running because I was on fire. “Hot! Hot! Fire! Fire!” I screeched. I patted down my shirt and pants. I didn’t feel anything but heat. Just the thought that I could be engulfed in a fire had me shook. I ran frantically to the pond I walked by earlier. My tail wobbled up and down and, as usual, the tail felt a little uncomfortable and threw off my balance. But after a couple of seconds, I got used to it. “Ahh—” I was about to scream till I remembered that fire had smoke, and smoke was a big no-no to the lungs. So I held my breath and continued running. After about a minute or so, I spotted the large pond about twenty feet away. Just seeing it made me run faster. I’m not usually the religious type but I could only thank the Almighty up in the sky because I did not think I was going to find it, especially in such a small amount of time. I made it to a small beach and I felt the sand on the sole of my right foot, which was weird because my boot was supposed to be there, but I can solve that mystery another time. As I was at least eight feet away from water, I belly flopped into it and created a huge splash that scared some fish. The water immediately extinguished the fire. I’d never been so thankful for water. I couldn’t care less if the water was contaminated or had sharks. I floated on my back and swiped my tail through the water like it was a paddle. I drifted farther and farther away from the coast. I picked up my head and smelled a toxic scent of smoke coming from the forest. It burned fiercely. Wow. I thought it was just a saying, but fire did spread quickly. I don’t know how to feel about the forest burning. I was happy that I was not in the forest anymore, but I kinda felt bad for the trees that the animals used as their homes. And the burning forest, in a way, looked as if it was painted on a portrait. ​ ​ I looked at my favorite green sweatshirt that I knitted myself. The sleeves were burned off of my shoulder so it looked less like a sweatshirt and more like a tank top. I looked at my grey sweatpants and from the height of my knee to my ankle, it burned off and turned into shorts. I looked at my black fleece boot that I had also knitted as well. The sole of my left boot disappeared and my right boot was completely gone, probably somewhere in the burning forest. The sole of my right foot and toes could’ve been seen through a huge hole in my sock. I lifted my arms over my head and inspected them. I sighed in relief. “Ok, good. Only blisters.” I grabbed my chest. It felt like it’s on fire. But that’s nothing my good ol’ inhaler pump couldn’t fi—, I covered my face with the palms of my hands. “Crap. I forgot my bag.” I take my palms off my face. “I forgot my bag!” I cringed. I forgot! I forgot! I forgot!” What the heck?” ​

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