DC’s Shining Stars Montessori Academy Introduces National Mall Book at Lincoln Memorial


Media Contact: Louise Parker Kelley, Writing Specialist, SSMAPCS, lkelley@shiningstarspcs.org / 202-723-1467 / 301-775-1282

September 24, 2017 — On September 25th, Shining Stars Montessori Academy Public Charter School of Washington D.C. will introduce an anthology of essays and art about the National Mall with a student performance on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

The book, Called to the Mall, includes twenty-seven stories by Shining Stars elementary students, and nine by adults, about events and personal experiences on the National Mall. Included are stories about Marian Anderson, the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, John Lewis, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Bayard Rustin, Rosa Parks, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Wall Memorial and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. This book is 76 pages long and features original illustrations by many of the authors.

This project began in May of 2016, with a grant from the DC-based nonprofit National Mall Coalition, which gave Shining Stars Upper Elementary (Hughes Stars) students an opportunity to write about what mattered to them about the past and present of the National Mall. Students wrote about a variety of topics, from the beauty of the National Botanical Gardens to the vivid artifacts in the Air and Space Museum, as well as events created by the active citizens of our country. Later, in September of 2016, the Hughes Stars class went to the Mall and read their essays on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. In the spring of 2017, the Coalition agreed to fund the printing of a book that would present this anthology as a kind of civics textbook, showcasing how the Mall provides public space for citizens to exercise their rights to peaceful assembly, to celebrate the quest for justice and equality and to explore our cultural heritage. It is the first time any public school in the District has published a book about the National Mall, the stage for our democracy.

Langston Hughes Stars writers who accepted the original invitation to participate in this Called to the Mall will return to the Mall again this year, and once again read some of their essays from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Only this time, they will have a published book to share with the world.

What: Book Release and Student Performance by Shining Stars Montessori Academy
Where: Steps of the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall
When: Monday, September 25th, 10 a.m.