Hoe Avenue Peace Meeting Anniversary

2011 exhibition

Benjamin Melendez with his family at the opening of Julian Voloj’s photo exhibition “If you live in New York…”, 2011

 

December 8 marks the anniversary of the Hoe Avenue Peace Meeting, the iconic gathering that not only inspired the movie “The Warriors” but also ended for a period of time a spiral of violence in the Bronx. When I met Benjy Melendez back in 2010, the events were widely forgotten.

Initially I was only planning to include Benjy’s portrait in a photography series on Jewish diversity. We became friends and he continued to tell me his story. I knew I wanted to tell it, and one thing let to another. Claudia and I started working on the graphic novel in early 2011. The year marked the 40th anniversary of the Hoe Avenue Peace Meeting, but no events were planned. So I approached Benjy with the idea to organize a reunion. Claudia and I had maybe 10 pages ready and were not sure where our journey would lead to. That December, dozens of former activists came together re-telling stories from back-in-the-day. It was the first time in decades that many of these people had seen each other.

Five years later, “Ghetto Brother” has not only been published with NBM, but also in France, Germany, and Spain (a Brazilian edition is planned for next spring), the Ghetto Brothers album “Fuerza” has been re-released and the documentary “Rubble Kings” brought the events to a wider audience. No doubt that the 40th anniversary reunion played a small part in bringing Benjy’s story to a wider audience.

Next week, we’ll mark the anniversary of the Hoe Avenue Peace Meeting with two special events, and you can be part of it. The first one is in the Manhattan’s Lower East Side: On Wednesday, December 9th, I will discuss “Ghetto Brother” with Tamid’s Jewish Book Club  The following day, Benjy and I will be on the Upper West Side, speaking at Barnes and Noble at 82nd Street and Broadway at 7 PM.

If you are in New York, don’t miss this opportunity!

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Dinosaurs Across America go interactive!

I am proud to announce that our Dinosaurs Across America by Phil Yeh may have become the FIRST fully interactive graphic novel!

This book has been a successful fun tool for kids to learn about US Geography for years as a comic book Phil sold at his numerous appearances around schools and libraries across the country advocating for literacy through comics. We then did with him the full color graphic novel which has gone to press 3 times with over 15,000 sold. It’s a Library Media Connection Editor’s Choice and has received many great reviews.

We’re all pretty ignorant when it comes to geography, these comics have made it easy and fun for kids to learn the facts about all 50 states.

And now, thanks to Koobits, an interactive book developer, it comes to your iPad  screen as well as an e-book for PC. Here is a presentation along with video of what it looks like.

This is the just the first of a series of announcements we’ll be making this year that set NBM on a new course. Stay tuned!