Nubian Book Club launches into summer

Donna CardozaFrancine Buchner


The Nubian Book Club has returned for another year and this summer the literature chosen is another by author Hill Harper: ‘Letters to a Young Sister, Define Your Destiny’.

Facilitator and teacher, Josh Cardoza, explained that choosing the sibling book to last year’s Letters to a Young Man was the natural choice, “Really, it’s about staying with a concept that kids felt good with the first time around.”


High school students, younger children with their parents, teachers, principals, and even superintendent Cecil Roach of the York Region District School Board, gathered in the backyard of Nubian Book Club founder, Donna Cardoza’s home last Thursday (July 8), and they began – Chapter One, “Empowerment 3.0.”


Harper addresses an array of topics from boys, morals and self-esteem to sexuality, sexism and racism to education, faith and fathers.

And as they read to the end of the paragraph, all that could be heard was the crisp sound of pages turning, in unison, an indication too that everyone was indeed ‘on the same page’.

Then, Anton Skerritt, head of Business Studies at Milliken Mills High School took some time to ask questions and reflect on what they had just read: Are girls smarter than boys? How many men in the room feel additional pressure to be successful, to get a good job so you can buy a house and take care of a wife and children?

“There is a gender gap between girls and boys in terms of achievement in the school system today,” said Roach. He said boys are more likely than girls to drop out of high school, thus the number of girls pursuing post-secondary education outweighs their counterparts. But, this evening in Donna Cardoza’s backyard the boys outnumbered the girls.

“Information is power. Words are powerful. It can be used to start propaganda and it can be used to spread love,” said Itah Sadu, keynote speaker for the evening. Sadu is owner of A Different Booklist bookstore in Toronto that specialises in African/Carib-bean literature, a niche, she said, which has attracted famous personalities like US rap artiste and actress, Queen Latifa and basketball icon Shaquille O’Neil.

Sadue notes that the store’s emphasis on discovering and nurturing the Black identity have been the pull - ‘they recognise the importance of reading about oneself, to know oneself; and that getting books published whose subject matter is Black people is scarce, much less a part of the school curriculum’.

next meeting

The next meeting is on July 22, 2010 at 6pm, and Chief Armand La Barge, York Regional Police will be the guest speaker.

“There is no pre-reading and we don’t worry about deadlines of each chapter. Our vision is to use literacy as a tool for incubating student success, leadership skills and community engagement among our youth, particularly those of African and Caribbean heritage,” said Josh Cardoza.

Xavier McLaughlin and Shane James attended high school in the York region and, through mentorship and networking at these Nubian Book Club meetings, today have founded, Triple Balance, whose focus is positive reinforcement for youth through recreation and arts, youth employment and mentorship, and just recently added legal services, perhaps they will have to change their name to quadruple balance!

Source: Gleaner Extra NA

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