Around Our Way on Neighbor’s Day

Written by: Tameka Fryer Brown

Illustrated by: Charlotte Riley-Webb 

For ages: 4-7 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: Community, POC-Centric Narratives, Friendship, Poetry.

Summary: This is a bright, fun, lyrical adventure through a close-knit neighborhood during the celebration of Neighbors’ Day (which could be described as a block party).  The narrator is a young girl with yellow ribbons in her hair.  She travels around the neighborhood seeing what festivities everyone is partaking in, and describes them for the reader in short poetic bursts.  People playing chess, a set of triplets and their sour lemonade, as well as a plethora of delicious dishes made with love.  The pages burst with friendship, love, and joy.  The painted illustrations convey so much movement and excitement they practically jump off of the page!

This is a fun and quick read.  The words make the reader want to chant them like a handclap game or jumprope song.  We were left wishing we knew where this magical neighborhood was, and how we could score an invitation to the next Neighbors’ Day!

Reflection Questions:

  • Do you live in a neighborhood?
  • If so, do your neighbors hang out and do things together like the characters in the book?
  • What kind of event or party would you like to have?
  • What types of responsibilities do you think go into planning a large party like Neighbors’ Day?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Charlotte Riley-Webb has a creative and unique painting style!  Experiment with different mediums of art, and pick one that is your favorite.  Maybe you can design the invitations for your next party!
  • Have your own classroom Neighbors’ Day!
  • Learn more about cartography, or map-making.  Look at maps of your community and make a road map out of masking tape on a carpet.  Can everyone put their houses on the map, or do some friends live farther away?
  • Design and draw your own neighborhood!  What do you wish was near where you live, and what are your favorite parts of the community?

About the Author & the Illustrator:

Tameka001-hires2smaller2Tameka Fryer Brown is a writer now, but she didn’t plan on being one when she was young. Tameka thought she was going to be a lawyer. When Tameka went to college, though, she changed her mind and majored in business instead.

Since Tameka worked very hard, she graduated summa cum laude (which is a fancy way to say “Tameka got excellent grades”). After college, she got a job as a medical supplies sales representative. Tameka sold products that hospitals need to perform surgery. Tameka actually got to watch them do surgeries, too. It was very cool. But she used to have to travel a lot with that job. Once Tameka was a mom, she decided she didn’t want to travel so much anymore. That’s when she became a Full-Time Mother instead. Being a mom is a lot of fun! After a few years, Tameka wanted to add another job, too. She made a list of all the things she was good at doing, and writing was at the top of that list.

Since Tameka’s children and Tameka LOVE to read picture books, she thought that would be a great type of writing for her to learn. Tameka studied and practiced, and studied and practiced some more. Finally, all of her hard work and practice paid off…She sold a book!

That’s the story of how Tameka became a writer and a published author. Tameka hopes you like her books. Tameka writes them for kids just like YOU.

DSC_0076An Atlanta native, Charlotte Riley-Webb moved with her family to Cleveland, Ohio as a toddler, where she was educated in the public school system and earned her B.F.A. degree from The Cleveland Institute of Art but has continued her education throughout the years. As a professional visual artist, Charlotte documented the essence of her culture in her three year traveling painting exhibition, “From Stories of My America”, which debuted at the Hammonds House Museum in Atlanta in 2001 and exhibited in seven different museums and fine art galleries in the south. Over the years her venues extended across the country and beyond the states to include Surinam, South America and Anguilla, British West Indies. Webb’s work is included in numerous, private, business and corporate collections. Her public works installations include Faces and Phases of Fulton, a mural size painting installed in the Fulton County Public Service office in Atlanta and the installation of her collaborative medium, “sculpted paintings” which she creates with her sculptor husband, Lucious. The couple installed an outdoor public arts work in the concert district of downtown Hampton, Virginia for which they were awarded “The Hampton Arts Commission Award of Excellence” and their piece, “Sounds of Perpetual Spring”, was voted as the city’s People’s Choice Purchase Award for their permanent collection. They installed “Arts Alive”, the commissioned sculpted painting in the fall of 2010, at the new arts center in Shreveport, LA. Contemporary realistic with an abstract flair is how she described her representational works. This rhythmic style with bright bold colors, easily translated into the illustrations for six children’s books Rent Party Jazz, Sweet Potato Pie, The Entrance Place of Wonders, Today Around Our Way, as well as Seed Magic. Charlotte was one of twelve artists contributing to the 2010 NAACP Image Award winning, Our Children Can Soar published by Bloomsbury Books.

While building her fine art career, she opted to address the need for socialization and creative expression in several of Atlanta’s senior facilities, at that time an overlooked population. Charlotte taught art classes to senior citizens as a volunteer for thirteen years from1984-1995 then again in 1998-2001. An art gallery for the senior students’ work was opened in one of the high-rises and Charlotte was awarded materials grants by the City of Atlanta Bureau of Cultural Affairs. For this effort in 1987, Webb was awarded the Iota Phi Lambda Visual Arts Award granted in eight different areas of community service. A natural teacher, she also successfully completed two summer residencies, teaching abstract art, to inner city youth in Shreveport, Louisiana in 2009 and 2010, offering an alternative to gang violence and idle time. As a result two of her student graduates are considering a career in the arts.

An evolution of study, growth and expansion has led Charlotte to her new and present genre, abstract art. She began the process by studying with two of this country’s premier abstract artist, the late John T. Scott of New Orleans and Moe Brooker of Philadelphia. This opportunity aided her in finding her own “abstract niche” and helped propel the career which she had been hinging on for many years, even in her representational works.

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