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How Early Jazz Developed in New Orleans

by Aissata Bah, age 12

There are many opinions of what is important in jazz history, specifically in New Orleans. The musical genre contains history that takes roots in colonization, slavery and much more.

New Orleans was founded as part of the French Louisiana colony in 1718. The territories were given up to Spain, but returned back to France in 1803. At the same time they were returned, Thomas Jefferson bought the territory in the Louisiana Purchase, meaning that New Orleans became part of the United States. People who could speak English began migrating to the area and extended the boundaries of the city. The massive amount of free and enslaved Black people in the area had brought elements of the blues, spirituals and rural dances to the rise of jazz music, since the early 18th century.

The region had a mix of French, Spanish, African, and Caribbean cultural heritage. The residents had an appreciation of good food, wine, music, dance, and also celebrating the many cultures and languages within the city. [Read More]

Germany's Fairytale Castle Come to Life

by Dayanara Flores Gonzalez, age 14

Neuschwanstein is a castle that is located in Germany, which took 17 years to construct. It took 15 men to carve the king's bed and it took them 4 ½ years to finish. Neuschwanstein was a fairytale brought to life.

King Ludwig, who was known as “the Mad King”, developed an obsession with German mythology. In 1861, a performance by Richard Wagner's opera Lohengrin left the King enchanted. When he succeeded to the throne three years later at the age of 18, his first act was to summon Wagner. Once Wagner made money, Ludwig would become his patron.

Meanwhile, King Ludwig would create fancy fairy tales with the everyday story of ancient German knights and make money out of them. Wagner recreated the German legend on stage and showed the struggles of God between good and evil. Ludwig was named Mad King because he was seen as a man with no reality. [Read More]

The Tragic Story of Beautiful Egyptian Goddess Isis

by Emily Rodriguez Lima, age 13

Hieroglyphics depict tragically beautiful tales of the gods and goddesses of Ancient Egypt such as Isis, whose myth brims with mystical magic, selfless healing, lethal wars, and even brooding beheadings. Historians uncovered her story through pyramid stones that date back to the 2350 and 2100 BCE period.

As the main deity in rites concerning the afterlife, Isis solely specialized in curing and reviving ill gods and goddesses. Soon after, she extended her powers to all of Egypt and began healing commoners. Her work, praised and glorified by citizens, exceeded the grapevines of Egypt, and gained her fame in Ancient Rome, Afghanistan, and Far England!

Courtesy of the sun god Ra, the hieroglyphics revealed Isis to have had three siblings named Osiris, Seth, and Nepthys, who were also deities. Because of societal conventions, Isis was married off to her brother, Osiris. She embodied the traditional role of supporting and catering to her husband, along with teaching women the fundamentals of how to bake, brew beer, and weave. Meanwhile, Seth, overcrowded with jealousy, had secretly arranged a plan to kill Osiris in pursuit of ruling Egypt. All the while, Isis was pregnant. [Read More]

Puss in Boots Sequel Set to Air Late 2022

by Amare Smith, age 18

In 2011, the Puss in Boots movie was released. It was a spinoff of the hit movie “Shrek.” Since the film's release, many films have been made and displayed on Netflix. Ten years later, Puss in Boots finally has its sequel! The sequel will center around Puss getting his nine lives back after losing eight. To get his lives back, he must go on a journey to find a genie to grant him a wish.

Before his own movie, Puss was one of the main characters in the Shrek franchise, appearing in Shrek’s second film “Shrek 2,” “Shrek the Third,” and “Shrek Forever After.” Puss’ popularity increased so much that he went on to star in his own film, with the release of his next movie, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. Puss is looking to start a franchise of his own.

If you’re a fan of Puss in Boots, you should be on the lookout for the Puss in Boots sequel which is currently set to release before the end of 2022! [Read More]

New Nigerian Music Genre Makes its Way to the Mainstream

by Aissata Bah, age 12

A new musical genre, Afrobeat, is reaching the music charts. Making its way from Lagos, Nigeria, it continues growing off its successes.

Afrobeat has a clear, distinct sound that many people recognize. It is characterized by its complex rhythms, heavy percussion, repeating vocals and pidgin English. The genre has upbeat, fun, energetic melodies that get people dancing around the world.

One of the most recognizable Afrobeat artists is Wizkid, also known as Starboy. He became known internationally by the song, “One Dance,” a song in which he was featured. But it goes further than that. He debuted an album, “Star Boy,” in 2011 and soon became the first Nigerian musician to get over a million followers on Twitter in 2014. One of Nigeria’s leading female Afrobeat singers, Tiwa Savage, had struggled gaining popularity due to the genre being a heavily male-dominated music scene. However, she is one of the most prominent artists in Afrobeat today, winning Best African Act of the 2018 MTV Europe Music Awards. With his debut album “Omo Baba Omolo,” the artist Davido quickly rose to popularity in 2011. [Read More]

Science Fiction Writer, Octavia Butler, Recognized by NASA

by Elim Eyobed, age 11

Who is your favorite writer? Hemingway? Shakespeare? Well, one great writer you may have never heard of is Octavia E. Butler. Butler was an esteemed African American author who was recently recognized by NASA for her groundbreaking talents. NASA scientists even named a Mars landing site after her.

Butler was raised by her mother and grandmother and was extremely shy as a child. When she was 12 years old, Butler started to read fantasy books, and later wrote science fiction when she was a teenager. The science fiction she wrote helped make her a very strong writer. In fact, she became such a powerful writer that her books won the New York Times Notable Book of the Year award, The Nebula award for the best science fiction novel published in that year, and the Macarthur Genius Grant.

During the 1960’s, Butler attended college at Pasadena City College, California State University, and the University of California. She wasn't a good student in particular, but an avid one. While in Washington, Butler participated in the Black Power movement. She became familiar with The Clarion West Workshop, which was a well-known place for writers. [Read More]

Learn the Tragic Story Behind the Monstrous Medusa

by Anissa Attidekou, age 12

Medusa: the most common thought would be a hideous woman with snakes for hair. Believe it or not, Medusa was not always like this. Her story is a long and heartbreaking one.

There is no clarification in Greek mythology on when Medusa was born. Medusa was one of three sisters known as the Gorgons. Medusa was the only mortal of the three sisters. Medusa’s sisters were Stheno and Euryale. According to Greek sources, they were all children of the sea deities: Phorkys and his sister, Keto. Before Medusa turned into the ugly snake-for-hair monster, she was actually a very beautiful priestess. She was just as beautiful as Athena – Goddess of war and wisdom. Many even believed she was prettier. Athena often overheard the mortals talking about Medusa, eventually she grew envious of her, but she never acted on the jealousy she had for Medusa. Men wanted Medusa to be their wife. Women were resentful of her. But Medusa paid no attention to the emotions being thrown at her. She wanted to remain a virgin like the Goddess Athena. Medusa also worked as a priestess in Athena’s temple. [read more]

Horus: God of the Sky and Egyptian Avenger

by Anissa Attidekou, age 12

Horus, the infamous God, was one of the first of five gods in Egyptian Mythology. Horus was worshiped everywhere in Egypt as the God of the sky. In Egyptian mythology, Horus always appeared handsome with a falcon head. Sometimes he even appeared as a falcon-headed crocodile.

Horus is the son of Isis, Goddess of Fertility, and Osiris, God of the Underworld. Horus was born after his uncle Seth – God of War, Chaos and Storms – murdered his father. According to myth, Isis fled from Seth and hid herself in the marshes of the Nile river and gave birth to Horus.

When Horus came of age, he fought in a battle with his uncle to avenge his father’s death. During battle Horus lost his left eye. According to Egyptian myth, the eye set out on a journey of its own. When other gods tried to catch the eye, it started to cry. The tears of the eye became the first people of Egypt. The eye had multiple names: the eye of Horus, wadjet eye, wedjat eye, or the udjat eye. [Read More]

The History behind Famous Iconic Cartoon Hello Kitty

by Sol-Saray, age 10

Many of you may know Hello Kitty, but can you really call yourself a fan if you do not know her history?

Hello Kitty is a famous cartoon character that was created in 1974 by the Japanese company Sanrio. Although she looks like a cat, she is actually a little girl with cat ears, a yellow nose, and no mouth. No one exactly knows why the character does not have a mouth. She has a twin sister who goes by Mimi. You probably would not be able to tell them apart if it were not for their iconic bows—Hello Kitty's bow is red and Mimi’s is yellow. The sisters grew up with their parents in suburban London according to Sanrio.

Hello Kitty enjoys baking, playing the piano, and making new friends. She always says, “You can never have too many friends!” She is in the third grade and her playmates are monkeys, a bear, a rabbit, and a raccoon. Though Hello Kitty was initially intended for a younger audience, her cuteness helped her popularity quickly spread to all ages. [Read More]

Behind Prince, the Dynamic Pop Legend — by Elim Eyobed, age 11

If you live and breathe air, you have definitely heard of Prince. His album, “1999”, almost singled him out as one of the greatest musicians of all time. Prince Rogers Nelson was born on June 7, 1958. His father, John Nelson, was a jazz pianist, and Mattie Nelson, his mother, was a vocalist. His life at home was not stable, so at the age of 12, he left and was adopted by the Anderson family. [Read More]

Athena: Ancient Greek Goddess of War — by Anissa Attidekou, age 12

Athena (or Athene) is the goddess of war and daughter of Zeus. Athena has always been a well-respected goddess in Greek mythology. This is because she has always had a strong presence and fierce aura, which can be a main reason why Athena is the goddess of war. [Read More]

El nuevo género musical nigeriano se hace camino hacia la corriente principal — por Aissata Bah, 12 años de edad; traducida por Yoanna Hoskins, 17 años de edad

Un nuevo género musical, Afrobeat, está llegando a las listas musicales. Desde Lagos, Nigeria, continúa creciendo a partir de sus éxitos. Afrobeat tiene un sonido claro y distintivo que muchas personas reconocen. Se caracteriza por sus ritmos complejos, mucha percusión, voces repetidas e inglés pidgin. El género tiene melodías alegres, divertidas y enérgicas que se bailan la gente de alrededor del mundo. [Read More]

The History Behind Zodiac Signs — by Emily Bautista, age 13

Zodiac signs are a topic of mystery for many people. Many people do not know how they came to be or what they are used for. [Read More]