Lecture: “Determined To Educate”


Carmen Rubin, Author, Singer, Philanthropist

Thursday, January 06, 2011




In the words of W.B. Yeats, Education is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire.

I will never forget the moment my first grade teacher, Mrs. Bolden, had taken the time to read a book to me after class.  I sat closely to her and would cozy up to the warmth of her voice while she read.  Most afternoons, she would let me stay after school to play in her hair and help around the classroom.  It was the first time I recognized what love felt like.  I had one on one attention from my teacher, and the classroom made me feel very much at home.  The classroom was where I felt free.  I could read, write, and connect with someone who felt very much like a mother- since mine had been missing for a while.  During that time, the noise of my home life would escape from my head through my ears and for each moment I was there, it became clearer that I had found my place.

The education that I received through that experience, even on through college, was like each teacher handing me an airline ticket to “wherever land”.  No place seemed too far, and despite the picture of my home life, I knew that I was getting what I needed to reach my destiny.  I still know it.  Each book takes me there.  Not only did I know that, but I also know that I have the power to take others with me, so I teach them.  Today, I am proud to say that we are all still traveling.

As a child, I wrote like crazy.  As an adult, I have put wings on my thoughts, and they have become stories that children read around the world. ASHTI FREEBORN is my character (among many), who help me spread the “good news” of hope, service, and love.  She is every bit of me, my children, and the children I’ve come to know.  She can be felt, even if she’s not touched.  I live inspired every day knowing that I am not only freeing that inner child in me, but also the child who reads my work. I am always anticipating the day that they too will speak.


Ashti is a multi-cultural, suburban 9 year old who is creative, smart, mischievous, and energetic.  She has an older sister, Asaada who is a quirky artist, a mother who is a singer/philanthropist, and a father who is an entrepreneur/environmentalist - somewhat of a model of our family.  With all of those things, come very complicated, yet real, issues that I shine light on through the perspective and voice of my character Ashti. Music is just one element of her life.  Ashti Meets Birdman Al is the first story.  A model for children to connect with jazz, music, instruments, etc.  There are many stories to tell.  The stories of her life will raise questions and awareness regarding everyday issues, some complex, others simple.

Ashti is essentially “between two worlds”, black in a white world, and “white” in a black world.  Identity is a not the central focus in all of the stories, however it is a key element. Her life will address issues such as the complexities of family - Step parenting, being interracial, sibling age differences, traditions, grandparents, divorce, addictions/abuse, the ghetto, the suburbs, the earth and the world as the community. There are also lighter issues such as summer friends, siblings going to college, hygiene, health, dreaming, pets/animals, auditioning for Broadway.

Please submit all questions and comments to Carmen Rubin at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)




Carmen Rubin is a native of San Francisco, California and is the first of three children. As a child, she always enjoyed reading and singing. She recalls spending days in the summer, using unwanted assignment sheets given by her teachers, to teach neighborhood friends and the kids in her family. She also has fond memories of singing with her family at the piano.

Carmen has always had a fascination with how stories are told. She understood early, the power of a Word. Whether it was communicated through a book, song, dramatization, instrument, or a simple conversation at the kitchen table, it was clear to her, that words had life; and what we do with them is vital!

At 12 years old Carmen had her first life changing moment. She realized her position as a child of God. At that moment is when she knew that she could accomplish the most difficult challenges life offered, and that every dream would become a reality.

The Author and Singer has taken her challenges and used them as tools to build her life and the lives of others. Carmen’s dreams have taken her to the stage of singing with her favorite vocalists, seeing the world, meeting great leaders, teaching the most beautiful children, and playing an integral part in her world, church, and community. She fully understands that to whom much is given, much is required.

Carmen Rubin is the founder of the Community Refuge Education and Recreation Center, a Non-profit organization for youth grades K-12 that exposes children to higher learning. Carmen is also the President of the PEPPERMINT CANDY PUBLISHING COMPANY.

Carmen’s voice is used as an instrument to heal, and her books, while doing the same, also promotes literacy for children across the world.

You can visit Carmen and learn more about her wonderful children’s book “Ashti Meets Birdman Al” at