Essay contest for Cupertino residents
announced in conjunction with Silicon Valley Reads
SAN JOSE, CA An essay contest with $1,200 in prizes is asking Cupertino adults and high school students to write about the outsider themes of the Silicon Valley Reads 2009 book selection, Not A Genuine Black Man: My Life as an Outsider by Bay Area radio personality Brian Copeland.
Sponsored by the Cupertino Library Foundation, the essay contest will award $500 to the top entry, $300 to second place and $200 each to two third place winners. It is open to adults who live or work in the City of Cupertino and students in grades 9-12 at Cupertino area high schools.
Copeland's book is a funny and poignant memoir of his experience growing up in the 1970s as one of the first African-American families in San Leandro. The book is based on Copeland's one-man play that he has performed throughout the Bay Area, Off Broadway, in Los Angeles and other U.S. cities.
The essay contest asks writers in connection with their reading of the book to describe their experience or reactions, in 500 words or less, about people being labeled, as Copeland was, as an "Oreo" (white on the inside), a "banana" or a "coconut" and other aspects of being labeled a "non-genuine" minority. Entry deadline is January 7, 2009.
Winners of the essay contest will be announced on Wednesday, January 21, at a Silicon Valley Reads event at Cupertino Community Hall featuring a talk by Brian Copeland and a panel discussion on the same topic as the essay. The event is free and begins at 7 p.m.
Other Silicon Valley Reads events will take place throughout Santa Clara County between mid January and the end of March. Information is available on the Silicon Valley Reads website, www.siliconvalleyreads.org.
Silicon Valley Reads is presented annually by Santa Clara County Library, Santa Clara County Office of Education, and the San Jose Public Library Foundation with funding from corporate and individual donors and community organizations such as the Cupertino Library Foundation.
Companion Books for Children
Selected for Silicon Valley Reads 2009
SAN JOSE, CA - Silicon Valley Reads today announced the selection of two children's books as companions for its 2009 community-wide reading choice, Not a Genuine Black Man by Brian Copeland. It is believed to be the first time that a "community reads" program has offered recommendations of books for early readers, schoolchildren and adults so that families can discuss together the overlapping themes of the books.
For readers in grades K-3, SVR is recommending The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrator E.B. Lewis, a picture book about the friendship of two girls of different races who live on opposite sides of a fence. For those in grades 4-8, the selection is The Liberation of Gabriel King by K.L. Going, the story of two friends who conquer their fears of being different, one because of race and one for being small and bullied.
"All three of the books for Silicon Valley Reads 2009 focus on what it feels like to be an outsider, to be different," said Dr. Charles Weis, Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools. "Everyone has had the experience of feeling out of place and unwelcome, for one reason or another. These books spark discussion and dialogue about diversity, empathy, and tolerance."
SVR 2009 will kick off on Tuesday, Jan. 13, with an on-stage interview of author Brian Copeland by Mercury News columnist Mike Cassidy. The free event begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Campbell Heritage Theatre. Other programs at locations throughout Santa Clara County will be offered during January, February and March.
The children's books were selected by the SVR Community Advisory Board, based on suggestions from a group of 20 teachers and school librarians who looked for books that were similar in theme to Copeland's memoir of growing up as one of the first African American families in a community.
SVR is presented annually by Santa Clara County Library, Santa Clara County Office of Education, and the San Jose Public Library Foundation with funding from community groups, corporate and individual donors. For more information, visit www.siliconvalleyreads.org.
Silicon Valley Reads Book for 2009:
Not a Genuine Black Man by Brian Copeland
SAN JOSE -- The funny and poignant memoir of Bay Area broadcast personality Brian Copeland about growing up in the 1970s as one of the first African-American families in San Leandro has been selected as the book for Silicon Valley Reads 2009.
"Not a Genuine Black Man: My Life as an Outsider" will be discussed at dozens of events throughout Santa Clara County during Silicon Valley Reads Month in February. Many of the programs will feature talks by Copeland. Other activities will focus on the themes of the book to prompt community discussion of racism and diversity.
For the first time in its seven-year history, Silicon Valley Reads will also select a companion book for children with similar themes so that families can read and talk together about the experience of growing up "different." The title of the book for young readers will be announced in September.
Copeland, an author, actor and comedian, hosts a weekly radio show on KGO. The book is based on his one-man production of "Not a Genuine Black Man" which he has performed in the Bay Area, Off Broadway, Los Angeles and other cities in the U.S. It is scheduled for the Hoover Theater in San Jose in August.
"I am honored that my book has been selected for Silicon Valley Reads," said Copeland. "I hope that my story will resonate with readers and spark meaningful dialogue about racism in America."
Since its publication in 2006, "Not a Genuine Black Man" has received positive reviews by the New York Times and other publications, and been adopted as required reading for all freshmen at California State University, East Bay. Copeland, who still lives in San Leandro, now one of the most diverse cities in the state, speaks frequently to high school classes, educators, child development specialists, mental health workers, and fair housing advocates about his experiences.
Silicon Valley Reads is presented annually by Santa Clara County Library, Santa Clara County Office of Education, and the San Jose Public Library Foundation with funding from community groups, corporate and individual donors.
"Each year we work hard to choose a book relevant to Silicon Valley that will encourage more people to read and participate in community conversations," said Melinda Cervantes, Santa Clara County Librarian and co-chair of Silicon Valley Reads. "Every year we have more participants in our programs and more individuals looking to us for recommendations for their book clubs and personal reading."
More information about Silicon Valley Reads and programs in 2009 can be found
on the Web site
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