Town Crier: Oakland mom funds her kids’ book online

MONTCLARION: March 21, 2014

Happy 25th anniversary to the World Wide Web. When it’s good, it’s very very good — and when it’s bad, it’s horrid. Here’s an Oakland-based story that celebrates the good that can come from the Internet.

In 2011, Oakland mom Aliona Gibson got the idea for a children’s picture book on Jamaica. Books — especially books celebrating diversity — are important to Gibson and her son, Justice, who live in a house without television.

This past October, she posted the project on the fundraising site Kickstarter and raised $8,000 in just 30 days. Now her book has been written and beautifully illustrated (by artist Andy Chu) and she’s ready to start sharing the message.

Gibson is reading the book “Justice pon di Road” to the children at Sankofa Academy in Berkeley today thanks to teacher Jill Guerra — who was one of her backers on Kickstarter. She says her book is a tale about the kindness of strangers and the warmth of the people of Jamaica, who hold children in high regard. Check out Gibson’s Facebook page at

Around town: If you missed Tuesday’s talk on the history of the Montclair Library, here are some fun facts sent over by librarian Kathleen DiGiovanni: the 1930 building was not designed by famed storybook architect W. R. Yelland, but was actually the work of builder C.C. Rosenberry. The idea for the storybook style came from Mrs. Charles Fisher, (her husband’s charity paid for the project) who wanted a library that would be cozy and welcoming. You can hear history talks on the Dimond branch Tuesday and on the Brookfield Village branch March 31.

In the news: Omar Hurricane is making a splash on the fusion front again. The Oakland physicist with the distinctive last name was just featured on the NBC News program “Nerd Watch” for his work at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Watch the short video at and see why Hurricane’s work could be a major step toward clean, safe and unlimited energy. And if you want a more accurate description of his groundbreaking research, try this link at

On stage: Skip, don’t run to the Berkeley Rep to see “Accidental Death of an Anarchist.” Playwright Dario Fo’s hilarious farce is a perfect fit for the comic genius of actor Steven Epp, who has the audience in stitches with his portrayal of a madman who confounds the cops in a cover-up. Think “I Love Lucy” gone completely psycho, as director Christopher Bayes likes to call it. You’ll see some familiar faces in this production, including the Superintendent, played by Liam Craig (“Boston Legal,” “Law and Order,” “The Royal Tenenbaums”).

Tweet treats: Ahh … the sweet sounds of spring. A songbird has moved into my yard and is treating my family to an aria each evening and morn. I haven’t actually seen this fine crooner, but I have reason to believe it’s a Black Headed Grosbeak. I’m cross-checking local songbirds on with recordings on and — the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s