QAS Academy Film Forum   January/2018

Last month, every grade participated with the Film Forum. Languages portrayed were Portuguese, Spanish, ASL, Japanese and Arabic.  Previous Film Forum sessions have included French, Traditional Chinese, Mandarin Chinese, Tamil and Italian. Russian, German, and Polish selections will be researched for addition this year.     

Thank you QAS teachers and students for your consistent support and encouragement. Our projected 2018 Film Forum selections will enhance our silent film library with Buster Keaton and increase our documentary selections which presently include Pura Belpre, and Oscar Micheaux.

We will also increase our anime and cartoon selections and expand upon topics we’ve already covered throughout the years which have included disability issues, intergenerational respect and environmental concerns.     

Hope, resiliency, faith and mutual respect are some of the recurring themes. Our bright and engaging children offer so much insight that they need little encouragement to assess the themes viewed in many of these films.

Children are the same all over the world. Hopefully the love and compassion our children witness in these films and with us as examples, they’ll exhibit in their adulthood.

Peace, Diane Ward.

February 27,2017

 Hello QAS Academy Family
During December and January our children enjoyed foreign films. For a few moments we were transported somewhere else, watching others lives, and reminded of our similarities.
The New York International Children’s Film Festival (ICFF) commenced this weekend. The ICFF is in New York for the next three weekends. If you attend and find a favorite video/movie; write us a review !
What have you been reading? I recently enjoyed the following:
“Spirituality of Gratitude The unexpected Blessings of Thankfulness” by Joshua Choonmin Kang and
” The Roses and The Windows by Rainer Maria Rilke.

Attianexit and the QAS Film Forum /July 2016


 We have experienced moments of radical change and upset socially and globally.

Recent events of various magnitudes and personal significance hold our world in a spotlight. Your personal perspective gauges your interest, opinion and level of sadness, outrage, effort, mobilization and/or concern. 

Within the Clinton/Hill/Fort Greene community we’ve recently experienced “Attianexit”. 

Her magnitude as a teacher, finance administrator, counselor, business broker, mediator, principal and confidant to generations of families is an immeasurable legacy.  All the while, she has a wonderful adoring family at home.  Thank you for sharing her with us this long.

While Brexist affects my stock, Attianexit affects my heart.

As the “The Film Lady”, I look forward to being allowed to continue the international and silent film presentations Ms. Attianese allowed me to pilot and for the children to embrace.  I am grateful and always humbled by the enthusiasm the children and teachers have for these films!

Our Spring 2016 films again provided us with opportunities to engage and appreciate our world. 

I have been encouraged to seek funding for afterschool viewings. Now as an Academy, perhaps enhanced attention of such possibilities could become actualized.    

Thank you QAS Academy staff and children. See you in September!    


April, 2016

 Recommended titles: memoirs!
List price: $16.00
Our price: $12.27

Handbook for an Unpredictable Life: How I Survived Sister Renata and My Crazy Mother, and Still Came Out Smiling (with Great Hair)

by Rosie Perez
At the age of three, Rosie’s life was turned upside down when her mentally ill mother tore her away from the only family she knew and placed her in a Catholic children’s home in New York’s Westchester County. Thus began her crazily discombobulated childhood of being shuttled between “the Home,” where she and other kids suffered all manners of cruelty from nuns, and various relatives’ apartments in Brooklyn.
Many in her circumstances would have been defined by these harrowing experiences, but with the intense determination that became her trademark, Rosie overcame the odds and made an incredible life for herself.
Handbook for an Unpredictable Life is ultimately the inspirational story of a woman who has found a hard-won place of strength and peace.
List price: $16.00
Our price: $12.67

American Chica: Two Worlds, One Childhood

by Marie Arana 
In her father’s Peruvian family, Marie Arana was taught to be a proper lady, yet in her mother’s American family she learned to shoot a gun, break a horse, and snap a chicken’s neck for dinner. Arana shuttled easily between these deeply separate cultures for years. But only when she immigrated with her family to the United States did she come to understand that she was a hybrid American whose cultural identity was split in half. Coming to terms with this split is at the heart of this graceful, beautifully realized portrait of a child who “was a north-south collision, a New World fusion. An American Chica.”
List price: $15.99
Our price: $13.16
The Prince of los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood                                
by  Richard Blanco
A poignant, hilarious, and inspiring memoir from the first Latino and openly gay inaugural poet, which explores his coming-of-age as the child of Cuban immigrants and his attempts to understand his place in America while grappling with his burgeoning artistic and sexual identities.
Richard Blanco’s childhood and adolescence were experienced between two imaginary worlds: his parents’ nostalgic world of 1950s Cuba and his imagined America, the country he saw on reruns of The Brady Bunch and Leave it to Beaver-an “exotic” life he yearned for as much as he yearned to see “la patria.”
Navigating these worlds eventually led Blanco to question his cultural identity through words; in turn, his vision as a writer-as an artist-prompted the courage to accept himself as a gay man. In this moving, contemplative memoir, Blanco traces his poignant, often hilarious, and quintessentially American coming-of-age and the people who influenced him.
Our online bookstore features thousands of titles to choose from.
Visit to find your next read!
PEN America presents
April 25 – May 1, 2016
New York City
Meet the creative voices shaping Mexico’s literary culture, and rethink the stories of migration, border, and national identity through the illuminating lens offered by writers and artists. More than 20 events in one week!
Festival highlights include:
For the entire list of events, click here.
Use discount code COMM2016 and save on all ticket prices.

Spring is here!

Spring is here!
After several months of hibernating, a new phase begins for La Casa Azul Bookstore.
Although the physical store closed in December we have kept our online presence and continue to sell books via our online store — thank you to all who have purchased books from us this year!
The business model is being restructured to increase the bookstore’s impact as a social venture; in the meantime you will receive updates via our bi-monthly newsletter.
 What to expect in future newsletters?
  • Book recommendations – we will share lists of award winning titles, new publications and some of our favorite reads.
  • Event information – in partnership with local and national organizations we will feature a variety of local conferences, readings and author appearances.
Happy reading!
 Recommended titles
You save $4.20 (23%)

Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir

by Margarita Engle 
Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir brings us a memoir in free verse that conveys the story of growing up in two cultures during an era of great tension between the United States and Cuba. Poet Margarita Engle takes her young audience on a journey of longing. It is a story that touches on issues affecting numerous immigrant children today.
You Save $2.97 (19%)

Mango, Abuela, and Me

by Meg Medina, illustrated by Angela Dominguez 
After Abuela moves in with her family, Mia finds a clever way to communicate with her Spanish-speaking grandmother who has left her homeland to live in the United States. Meg Medina blends Spanish and English to seamlessly create a touching tale of transition, love and the willingness to connect.
You Save: $3.97 (23%).
 by Edwidge Danticat
Giselle Boyer and her identical twin, Isabelle, are as close as sisters can be, even as their family seems to be unraveling. Then the Boyers have a tragic encounter that will shatter everyone’s world forever.
Giselle wakes up in the hospital, injured and unable to speak or move. Trapped in the prison of her own body, Giselle must revisit her past in order to understand how the people closest to her — her friends, her parents, and above all, Isabelle, her twin — have shaped and defined her. Will she allow her love for her family and friends to lead her to recovery? Or will she remain lost in a spiral of longing and regret?
Save the date!
2nd Annual Children’s Book Writers Conference
presented by Kweli Journal
Saturday, April 9, 2016
New York City
At a time when only 10 percent of all children’s and YA books are written by or feature people of color, the conference will connect new writers with top professionals across the publishing industry.
Edwidge Danticat, author of Untwine, will give the keynote address. Her speech will be followed by panels on “Publishing 101,” trends in the publishing landscape, writing children’s picture books and middle-grade and YA novels, and advice on submitting manuscripts to agents and working with editors, among other topics.
More than twenty agents and editors are expected to attend in search of new talent, alongside established authors like Daniel José Older (Shadowshaper), Nnedi Okorafor (Who Fears Death), and Sheela Chari (Vanished).
Pre-register for the conference here.
Purchase books from the participating authors here.

Our online bookstore features thousands of titles to choose from.
Visit to find your next read!

QAS Film Forum /February 2016

Our newly formed QAS Academy will continue our foreign language film appreciation via the QAS Film Forum.  Last November our elementary school children and I shared wonderful adventures together. This week we are scheduled to continue our Film Forum tradition. 

Thank you QAS teachers and children. 

QAS BOOK READING FORUM / January 31, 2016

This past winter one of the books I really enjoyed reading was the bi-lingual book “Outlaws of the Marsh” written by Shi Nai’an and Luo Guanzhong.

Now I am reading “Dark Matters” by Simone Browne and “Black Metropolis” by John Gibbs St. Clair Drake and Horace R. Cayton. I have renewed both books from the public library three times now because they each provide so much information. 

What are you reading? Let’s share.  

Peace, Diane Ward.  

La Casa Azul Pop Up Bookstore @ Sugar Hill!

La Casa Azul Bookstore

within Harlem’s first children’s museum:
La Casa Azul Pop Up Bookstore @ Sugar Hill!
Grand opening celebration!
Saturday, October 3rd
11:00am – 5:00pm
898 St. Nicholas Avenue @ 155th Street
New York, NY 10032
Enjoy FREE ADMISSION to the exhibit space and open studio time with Artist-in-Residence, David Shrobe. This fun-filled day will include a storytelling marathon, face painting, papermaking, and more. Plus performances by Mark Kelley of The Roots, Shine & the Moonbeams,
Aisha Cousins/Diva Dutch, and others!
The Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling will provide children and families a state-of-the-art facility and space to grow and learn through encounters with art and accomplished artists and storytellers, as well as opportunities to create art in multiple fully-equipped studios. The Museum will feature inaugural exhibitions presented in partnership with El Museo del Barrio and The Studio Museum in Harlem, as well as special projects by Saya Woolfalk and Harlem artist David Shrobe.
From October 3 to November 4, 2015, our hours are:
Saturday – Sunday 12:00pm to 5:00pm
Beginning November 5, 2015, our hours are:
ThursdayFriday, 10:00am to 5:00pm, and Saturday – Sunday 12:00pm to 5:00pm

The Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling is located at 898 St. Nicholas Avenue, at southeast corner of St. Nicholas Avenue and West 155th Street. The entrance is on St. Nicholas Avenue.

 La Casa Azul Pop Up Bookstore @ Sugar Hill
Copyright © 20XX. All Rights Reserved.

August 2015


Our summer season is ending. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed some great literature.

What have you read lately? Have you read/ attended any great plays?

Prior to evolving into the QAS Academy, our upper grade students enjoyed discussing the craft of writing with guest playwright Garrett Robinson during Career Day on May 29th. Other literary guests are pre-scheduled for this coming school year.

I have a wide range of interests. The following is a sample of books I read this summer:

“Eddie Bell En Francais” (Mr. Bell has an informative web-site highlighting his interests and talents).

“Monkey” by WuCh’êng-ên.

“The Bluebird” by Maurice Maeterlinck.

I also discovered BookBub which provides selections designed from your self-styled profile. They have given me permission to advertise on our site:

I haven’t needed their suggestions to date, however I will probably utilize them in the coming months.

I am presently reading “Fire Wind” by  Yván Yauri.

As you have noticed through these QASBRF years, I have an “international bend” in my selections. I encourage you to consider a variety of writers. Experiencing and appreciating other world views, times, experiences and places, real or imagined are exciting discoveries. We would have a great deal to discuss! Dialogue between our “reading spaces” has always been available. Interested?

Peace, Diane Ward.

QASFF December, 2014 – March, 2015
In December, another learning dimension was added to our foreign film sessions.
Some films were presented to the children without English language translations. The children viewed the films, and deduced the storyline solely from their observations! A Hebrew language film was a major hit with our Kindergarten and First Graders. 
The Second, Third and Fourth Graders enjoyed the French/Spanish language selections. They requested at least one English language option (captioned or voiced). I conceded eventually to their request. It’s not initially easy to understand a foreign language film, but with effort one can appreciate artistry, our universal  messages of love, compassion, loss, and joy.  
The QASFF is tentatively meeting next month with Fifth through Eight Graders. Their creative in-put will be very interesting and enjoyable. Some children have participated with the QASFF for years. They are not reticent about looking at foreign language films. The children always greet me with excited anticipation. Hopefully this joy will translate in their lives into their embrace of the whole world.