First Day Blues

First Day Blues


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



 Meet Julius Carmichael: First Day Blues . It is about an eleven year old

African-American boy who is returning to school from the summer vacation

and his vicissitudes meeting a new classmate and becoming friends



Meet Julius Carmichael: First Day Blues 

By Jonathan Carroll

Educator Writes and Self-Publishes Children’s Book

By Junious Ricardo Stanton


Jonathan Carroll a third grade teacher at Moorestown Friends School has been thinking, dreaming and pondering about writing books for and about African-American youngsters to give them positive images and content that will also stimulate their enjoyment of reading. He enjoys teaching children and also enjoys reading and writing. So when he noticed there were very few books aimed at African-American children he started writing as a solution to a very real problem. 

“I started writing when I realized in my classroom there weren’t many African-American authors for me to choose from so I decided to become one of them.” Carroll explained. He decided to write stories that would relate to children’s universal experiences: family, school, making friends, discovering how to navigate social relationships and learning important life lessons. 

“Not only did I feel there was a gap in the literature for children, I also thought there was a gap in that there weren’t that many African-American male voices being heard in the literature for children. I wanted to fill that void so children would be able to understand how African-American boys are slightly different in their behavior and demeanor from other children. I also wanted to develop in young African-America boys a love of reading because if they don’t read early, they’re not going to read later on when it becomes more necessary to educate yourself.”

Carroll deliberated on his plan, thoroughly weighed his options and finally decided to go the self-publishing route because he didn’t find any large publishing houses publishing the types of books he was writing. “I felt that self-publishing would be a way to learn the business. I’d be able to market the books in the way I thought was best and reach the audience I felt was best and take charge of the whole project; do it my way.” Carroll shared. 

By publishing the book himself, Carroll assumed control over every aspect of the project, its make up, the cover, lay out, content and editing. But he is also responsible for making all the marketing, promoting, and distribution decisions. “Officially the book comes out in May, we’re planning a big release party and at this point we’re working with distributors to target specific book stores so that when we do come out in May we’ll be easily accessible to the whole community.” 

As part of his marketing strategy Carroll plans to submit copies of the book to the book review publications and the educational markets such as elementary and middle schools, school libraries and also the English Departments of colleges and universities to show them the importance of using diverse images and materials.

The title of the book is, Meet Julius Carmichael: First Day Blues . It is about an eleven year old African-American boy who is returning to school from the summer vacation and his vicissitudes meeting a new classmate and becoming friends. Jonathan enjoyed the creative process, writing the book and anticipates this will be the first in a series of books about Julius Carmichael the central character of the book who is patterned somewhat after himself. 

“There’s a lot of me in Julius Carmichael in that I was a young African-American boy who had to struggle and survive. I wanted to take a lot of things my parents tried to instill in me and place them into this character because I feel they are things that are positive and often a lot of the images that are thrown at African-American children aren’t so positive. I wanted to take a lot of things that are positive and place them into this character so that children will be able to see that those characters do exist.”

Aside from the sense of accomplishment he has from making his dream come true, Carroll wants his books to be successful, widely read and well liked. “We want Julius Carmichael to become a beloved character, i.e., the Harry Potters and the Ramona Quimby’s and other children’s characters of legend. So the next novel is already in the pipeline. It’s being edited and proofread. We’re looking at a Thanksgiving release, which is Meet Julius Carmichael: Nanna To The Rescue.” 

Carroll plans to write the books so young readers share Julius’ growing up experiences and see themselves in Julius’ experiences. “We’re certainly looking to grow up before children’s eyes. Again we want to have Julius Carmichael be a character that children can relate to, look to and see themselves in. We’ll take him to a point and I don’t know what that point is at this particular time, but we’ll take him to a point, as long as he’s loved and accepted by the community and continues to be someone the children can look to a relate to.” explained Carroll. 

*   *   *   *   *’s 25 Best Selling Books



#1 – Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark #2 – Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree #3 – Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane #4 – Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper #5 – Stackin’ Paper 2 Genesis’ Payback by Joy King #6 – Thug Lovin’ (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark #7 – When I Get Where I’m Going by Cheryl Robinson #8 – Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby #9 – The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 – Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 – Don’t Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 – For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 – Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 – Purple Panties: An Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King

#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter


#1 – Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable #2 – Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans #3 – Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane #4 – Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper #5 – Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant #6 – Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey #7 – The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight #8 – The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing #9 – The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

*   *   *   *   *

Super Rich: A Guide to Having it All

By Russell Simmons

Russell Simmons knows firsthand that wealth is rooted in much more than the stock  market. True wealth has more to do with what’s in your heart than what’s in your wallet. Using this knowledge, Simmons became one of America’s shrewdest entrepreneurs, achieving a level of success that most investors only dream about. No matter how much material gain he accumulated, he never stopped lending a hand to those less fortunate. In Super Rich, Simmons uses his rare blend of spiritual savvy and street-smart wisdom to offer a new definition of wealth-and share timeless principles for developing an unshakable sense of self that can weather any financial storm. As Simmons says, “Happy can make you money, but money can’t make you happy.”

*   *   *   *   *

The New Jim Crow

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

By Michele Alexander

Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama’s political success and Oprah Winfrey’s financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today… than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits. Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: most Americans know and don’t know the truth about mass incarceration—but her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.—Publishers Weekly

*   *   *   *   *

Blacks in Hispanic Literature: Critical Essays

Edited by Miriam DeCosta-Willis 

Blacks in Hispanic Literature is a collection of fourteen essays by scholars and creative writers from Africa and the Americas. Called one of two significant critical works on Afro-Hispanic literature to appear in the late 1970s, it includes the pioneering studies of Carter G. Woodson and Valaurez B. Spratlin, published in the 1930s, as well as the essays of scholars whose interpretations were shaped by the Black aesthetic. The early essays, primarily of the Black-as-subject in Spanish medieval and Golden Age literature, provide an historical context for understanding 20th-century creative works by African-descended, Hispanophone writers, such as Cuban Nicolás Guillén and Ecuadorean poet, novelist, and scholar Adalberto Ortiz, whose essay analyzes the significance of Negritude in Latin America. This collaborative text set the tone for later conferences in which writers and scholars worked together to promote, disseminate, and critique the literature of Spanish-speaking people of African descent. . . . Cited by a literary critic in 2004 as “the seminal study in the field of Afro-Hispanic Literature . . . on which most scholars in the field ‘cut their teeth’.”

*   *   *   *   *

The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

*   *   *   *   *

Ancient African Nations

*   *   *   *   *

If you like this page consider making a donation

online through PayPal

*   *   *   *   *

Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues

1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        


*   *   *   *   *

The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery /

George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

*   *   *   *   *

The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

*   *   *   *   *


*   *   *   *   *





update 20 December 2011




Home Positively Black Table

Post Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.