On the Books: Textbooks will now address significance of Obama election

President-Obama

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This week, California Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law a bill calling for the revision of the state’s history and social science curriculum to include instruction on “the election of President Barack Obama and the significance of the United States electing its first African American President.”

Specifically, the law requires the Calif. Instructional Quality Commission to consider recommending the adoption of the requirement to the state board. The bill has been tacked on to the state’s Education Code, meaning that the historical and social gravity of Obama’s landmark 2008 election could soon become required reading in school textbooks statewide.

“We want to make sure that future generations understand that the election of our nation’s first African American president was a historic step in the effort towards equality,” said Calif. Democratic Assemblyman Chris Holden, who authored the bill, “and that previous elections involved intimidation and violence that prevented millions of African Americans from voting.” [NPR]

On Tuesday, the Academy of American Poets announced the 2014 recipients of its annual awards. Most notably, former U.S. Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Hass received the Wallace Stevens Award and the accompanying stipend of $100,000 for his “outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry.”

The University of California, Berkeley professor’s most recent works include The Apple Trees at Olema: New and Selected Poems and What Light Can Do: Essays on Art, Imagination, and the Natural World.

Other honorees include Pulitzer Prize winning Tracy K. Smith, who won a $25,000 fellowship from the Academy for her “distinguished poetic achievement,” and Rigoberto González, who received the $25,000 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize for last year’s Unpeopled Eden. 

All awardees will be honored at an Oct. 17 ceremony at The New School in New York City, as part of the Academy’s weekend-long Poets Forum. [Publishers Weekly]

A Floating Library is coming to New York City on Sept. 6. The pop-up public installation will come to life aboard the historic Lilac Museum Steamship, docked at Pier 25 on the Hudson River.

The library is the creation of artist Beatrice Glow, who has collected about 400 books to be shared with the public, donated by over 70 participants—but visitors are also encouraged to BYOB (Bring Your Own Book). The project is meant to encourage reading in a shared, distractions-free space, as well as intellectual discussion and community engagement.

 “I think New Yorkers are craving off-the-grid time and space, and are eager for meaningful face-to-face dialogue,” said Glow, reported Publishers Weekly. In addition to the book collection and reading spaces, the monthlong installation will offer public programs including roundtables, workshops and performances.

After the installation ends on Oct. 3, the books will be donated to a local high school. [Publishers Weekly]

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