A Book to Help Children Understand the Effects of Environmental Racism

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Writer DeMareon Gipson wears a tan hat and a blue jean jacket as he poses with his book, Annalise's Cough.
Vallejo author DeMareon Gipson helps children understand environmental racism with his new book, 'Annalise's Cough.'

In the children's book Annalise's Cough, two young girls grow to understand the impacts of environmental racism and its connections to their personal health.

Although the story has touches of fantasy and references to African spirituality, the book speaks to real local issues—like toxic waste in San Francisco's Hunters Point, harmful chemicals near Mare Island in Vallejo and the pollution of refineries in Richmond.

The book, illustrated by Jessica Jones, is written by DeMareon Gipson. This weekend, Gipson appears at a virtual presentation of his work as a part of the Oakland Public Library's series highlighting local authors.

Gipson, a multifaceted writer from Vallejo, says the online event will have something for people of all ages.

Along with reading from Annalise's Cough, Gipson plans to recite poetry, participate in a question-and-answer session and screen his short film, The Heraldist, which he debuted on Juneteenth.

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“I feel like creativity has no bounds," says Gipson, rejecting the idea of a creative person being confined to one title or "box." Gipson, who works for the Oakland Unified School District's African American Male Achievement Department, says, "I can write a children’s book. I can help people with music. I can do whatever. I think that’s the main thing... to showcase of the range of the work that I’m able to create."

The notion of boundless creativity is what Gipson hopes attendees take away from his presentation, no matter their age.

DeMareon Gipson presents 'Annalise's Cough' in a free online event on Saturday, Aug. 7, from 2:30pm–4:00pm. Details here.