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“Writing to Save a Life: The Louis Till File” by John Edgar Wideman

Even if you wanted to, you couldn’t escape your father. For most of your life, you were known as Little Him. Junior. Insert-your-father’s-name here’s kid. You’re a chip off the ol’ block, maybe named after your Pops, forever known as ...

“Brief Histories of Everyday Objects” by Andy Warner

Imagine the first person who created a toothbrush. Better yet – imagine life before a toothbrush. Think about it: getting your mouth minty-fresh wasn’t exactly easy with twigs or rags. Same things with clean hair, unspoiled leftovers, unsmelly bathrooms, or ...

“Little Shaq: Star of the Week” by Shaquille O’Neal, illustrated by Theodore Taylor III

Being a responsible kid has its rewards. First, there’s the feel-good; you did well, and you can be proud of yourself. That leads to the second benefit: adults see your responsibility, and you’ll have earned their trust. And in the ...

“We Gon’ Be Alright” by Jeff Chang

You had hope that things might be better. We elected a Black man as President, and there was a minute where you could almost see a bit of racial optimism.

Truevine: Two Brothers, a Kidnapping, and a Mother’s Quest: A True Story of the Jim Crow South

The clowns at your job dominate Ring Number One. Ring Number Two features The Juggler (you) and your checkbook, schedule, chore list, and family obligations. And in Ring Number Three, there’s a wild combination of the other two. Run away ...

Another Day in the Death of America: A Chronicle of Ten Short Lives

Today was an ordinary day. It had its ups and downs; pleasant surprises came between the mundane and the irritating and you’ll look back at it tomorrow with clarity, perhaps, but its details will be sketchy in a decade. It ...

Darktown

Someone always has to be first. That can be a good thing, or a bad one. Good, if it’s a cafeteria, supermarket queue, electronics store, or conga line; better, if free samples are involved. Bad, in experiments, taste-testing, first-on- last-off ...

Elizabeth and Michael

You never have to explain yourself when you’re together; everything said (and unsaid) is understood. There may be many years between you, but it doesn’t matter. There may be differences in background, but no worries. Nothing keeps you apart, and ...

Elizabeth and Michael

You never have to explain yourself when you’re together; everything said (and unsaid) is understood. There may be many years between you, but it doesn’t matter. There may be differences in background, but no worries. Nothing keeps you apart, and ...

The Full Tank Life

At the end of the day, you’re out of gas. There’s nothing left in your reserves, not a drop. You’re done, wondering if this is as far as you’ll ever go but somehow open to new suggestions. So read “The ...

Writings on the Wall: Searching for a New Equality Beyond Black and White

There’s no magic wand to change the things that’ve been on your mind lately: social issues, inequality, poverty, politics, apathy, violence. Those ills didn’t arrive quick and they won’t leave quick but, says Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, they can be repaired.

“You’re the One I Want” by Shane Allison

Mine, mine, mine. When you were two years old, that was your favorite word. Everything you saw belonged to you, somehow, one way or another. If you liked it, it was yours. If you didn’t like it, it was yours, ...

“She Stood for Freedom”

Your parents always taught you to stand up for yourself. Form your own opinions, they say, and don’t follow the crowd. If so-and- so wanted to jump off a cliff, be brave enough to not go, too. Speak up when ...

“Nobody” by Marc Lamont Hill, foreword by Todd Brewster

Charges dropped. You were surprised, but not surprised. Hopeful that it might be different, but only barely. You know that these days, the idea of justice can be a slippery issue that’s sometimes based on all the wrong things, and ...

Brave Like Me

Never be afraid of…. Your Mommy and Daddy have taught you that. Never be afraid of spiders, big animals, lightning, or loud noises. Always be brave, they say, and so you are – and in the new book “Brave Like ...