A River of Books! The Biography of Water Spring Book Release

"If I were a grunion,
I would say, Here is! The Big Moment!"
- Solaris, NOCCS Student

Even with all the rain, children are worrying about water. Are we still in a drought? More importantly, they feel a giant responsibility to persuade adults to conserve and protect this most precious of all elements.

This spring, Chapter 510 was invited back to North Oakland Community Charter School (NOCCS) to write poems in response to water cycles, movements, and how we humans impact the health of water. Lead teachers Juliana Germak and Elisa Litsky launched their classroom study at our writing sanctuary with a field trip inspired by the grunion and its annual spawn on California beaches. Our field trips often have that creative spirit of frenzy.

Back at NOCCS, children became book rivers, little fish, contaminated oceans, ancient crow geysers, extreme stream dudes. They chanted Evaporation, Condensation, Precipitation with pride. They jumped into atomic costumes and formed a cotton candy cloud. Sounds of water gurgled from their mouths pshsh pshsh like rain... like a backward motion of you spitting water out.


Chapter 510 is committed to publishing youth poetry in English and other languages. Thanks to suggestions from NOCCS Dean of Instruction Cori Bellew, we publish this collection in English and Arabic.

Thank you to our amazing Arabic translator Zubaida Salman for helping us publish our first title with a full Arabic translation.

Anna Kingsley of Pickypockets Press has once again brought this book to life with her bookmaking magic to help us create the longest book we've ever made (over 12 feet long!). We were very fortunate to have Tova Ricardo, a wonderful young Oakland poet and activist, work with Chapter 510 on this project. Thank you to Tova and to Bentley High School for allowing her to spend her final month of high school inspiring others to write and be proud. A huge bouquet of love to Tammy Berdichevsky for her creative brilliance and dedication.

I can’t tell you what a nice surprise it was to see the Arabic versions of the poems so prominently featured. It’s the month of Ramadan right now and in general Arabs and many others need nice surprises given the broad anti-Muslim sentiments. For our family just seeing the Arabic felt very affirming.
— NOCCS Parent, Erica Mackie

This book was supported generously from the Oakland Fund for Children and Youth, Rogers Family Foundation, All Stars Helping Kids, Philanthropic Ventures Foundation, Panta Rhea, Barrios Trust, Bloom Press, Green Copy, and individuals.