NPR Staff

Benjamin Clementine's haunting voice and songwriting made him a star on Spotify after a single television appearance on BBC Two. These days, he's headlining sold-out shows in Europe. He recently signed with Capitol Records, and his first American EP, I Dream, I Smile, I Walk, I Cry, is out now.

Clementine's recent fame comes after years of busking on the streets of Paris and, before that, a challenging upbringing he still has trouble discussing. Now, the 26-year-old prefers to focus on what makes him fortunate.

Prolific author Jane Yolen is best known for her novel The Devil's Arithmetic -- the story of a modern American girl transported back in time to 1940s Poland, where she experiences first-hand life in a concentration camp.

Yolen has also written many children's picture books, like the classic How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?

Those very different books both have something in common with her newest release. It's a picture book for kids — about the Holocaust.

Freeman Dyson is one of the most famous names in science, and sometimes one of the most controversial. Dyson is 91 and was one of the British scientists who helped win World War II. He spent most years since as a professor of physics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. He has won the Max Planck Medal and the Templeton Prize, and written important, oft-quoted books including Disturbing the Universe and The Scientist as Rebel, and newspaper articles that inspire both admiration and debate.

Everyone knows the song — or, well, parts of it.

"Louie, Louie." "Ohhhhhh, baby." "A fine little girl, she waits for me."

But the next line ... How's it go again?

The voice growling out those indecipherable lyrics belonged to Jack Ely, the lead singer of The Kingsmen, who died this week at the age of 71.

Big Bird, the towering yellow bird with confetti feathers from Sesame Street, will eternally be 6 years old, but his character is nearly 50. The man behind Big Bird, Caroll Spinney, is 81 — and has no plans to step out of the suit any time soon.

"I see no reason to quit," Spinney tells NPR's Scott Simon. "I can't imagine walking away from being Big Bird. I mean, that's an awfully good job, and there's not too many of them. So, I just want to keep doing it until I can't do it anymore."

The great Victorian novelist Thomas Hardy was still alive in 1915 when one of his novels was made into a silent movie. Even then, Far From the Madding Crowd was a tempting tale: It follows a headstrong young woman being pursued by a trio of suitors — a sheep farmer, a wealthy landowner and a rakish officer.

Now Hardy's novel is getting another film adaptation, this time starring Carey Mulligan as Bathsheba Everdene, the book's heroine. Mulligan tells NPR's Renee Montagne about why she wanted to play Bathsheba and her practice of scrapbooking her characters.

Art Spiegelman's Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel about the Holocaust, Maus, has some very memorable cover art. It pictures a pair of mice — representing Jews — huddling beneath a cat-like caricature of Adolf Hitler. Behind the feline Hitler is a large swastika.

The Pentagon says women could be eligible for all combat roles in the military by next year, but some women already have been fighting — and dying — for their country. They're serving right alongside elite special operations units, such as the Navy SEALs or Army Rangers.

It's part of an effort to connect with half of the Afghan population that was off-limits to male soldiers: the women. Some military leaders considered reaching them one of the keys to winning the war.

Most days, you can find Ran Duan pouring drinks for guests at The Baldwin Bar, inside a branch of his parents' Sichuan Garden restaurant in Woburn, Mass.

But recently he's been setting aside time each day to practice making a special drink.

This week, the bodies of 24 unidentified migrants were laid to rest in Malta, the European island nation in the Mediterranean Sea. They were among more than 800 people who lost their lives last weekend off the coast of Libya when their ship capsized as they were trying to cross the Mediterranean to reach a better life.

Lieutenant Keith Caruana of the Armed Forces of Malta spoke with NPR's Arun Rath about the situation in the Mediterranean — and the toll it has taken on rescuers after more than a decade of trying to save the lives of desperate people seeking safety.

What kind of parent are you if you let your child walk home alone? What if you won't let your kids out of your sight?

In the latest installment of our occasionial series Weekend Reads, we're celebrating National Poetry Month with The Little Edges, a unique work by American poet Fred Moten. Many of the poems in the book were commissioned, and they focus on real life people and events.

Nick Kroll is the star of a lot of things, including Kroll Show on Comedy Central and The League on FX. And if that wasn't enough, he now has a new film coming out called Adult Beginners. Kroll tells NPR's Rachel Martin that his character in the film, Jake, is in transition.

Some murder cases are harder to solve than others. The investigation into the killing of Mellory Manning — a 27-year-old woman who was assaulted and murdered in 2008 while working as a prostitute in Christchurch, New Zealand — confounded police.

They conducted an investigation and interviewed hundreds of people, but months later, they still had no solid leads.

It was 1964 when the young Philip Glass found himself in Paris. He was on a Fulbright scholarship to study with the revered pedagogue Nadia Boulanger. It was a career move carefully planned. Glass wanted to be a composer and he knew Boulanger's rigorous lessons in traditional Western harmony and counterpoint would sharpen his skills.

Victorine Meurent was just 17 years old when she met the great Impressionist painter Edouard Manet on a Paris street in 1862. The young, poverty-stricken redhead became his favorite model, and Manet painted her reclining nude in Olympia — a work that scandalized the Paris art world in 1865 and now hangs in the Musée d'Orsay.

The vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth consists of eight classically trained singers incorporating Tuvan throat singing, Appalachian yodeling, operatic trills, rhythmic exhalations and whispered speech into music written by some of the most exciting young composers of the 21st century.

By Gouda — the Mona Cheesa is missing! And when that most famous work of art is discovered to have been taken from its frame in a Paris art museum, the world's foremost International Cat of Mystery, William, is called in on the case.

The percussive snap of a stapler. The crisp peeling of a Post-it note. The ruffling flip of an old Rolodex chock-full of cards. James Ward loves office supplies beyond reason — and he's written about the history of everything from the pencil to the glue stick in his new book, The Perfection of the Paper Clip.

The tragic story of Cambodia in the '60s and '70s is well-known: It became engulfed in the Vietnam War, then more than a million Cambodians died under the Khmer Rouge regime. Doctors, lawyers, teachers — educated people — were targeted in the communist takeover. So were artists and singers.

The death penalty is legal in more than 30 states, but the long-controversial practice has come under renewed scrutiny after a series of botched executions in several states last year.

Opponents of capital punishment argue that the death penalty undermines the fair administration of justice, as wealth, geography, race and quality of legal representation all come into play, with uneven results.

Passion Pit is a band made up of one man: 27-year-old Michael Angelakos. When he signed with Columbia Records in 2009, Angelakos went from playing house parties in Boston to touring the world. Passion Pit's third album, Kindred, is out Tuesday, and there's more behind its sound than upbeat music.

It's a warm evening in 1996 and a young woman is waiting for a ride on a street corner. She's alone, it's way too late and she soon realizes she is being watched. When the woman disappears, the crime is linked to the family of a local man running for mayor.

Martin O'Malley, former governor of Maryland, says he'll decide by late May whether he's running for president. Running would put him — even he seems to acknowledge — in an uphill battle against Hillary Clinton, currently the only Democrat who has declared.

O'Malley is positioning himself to Clinton's left, and even President Obama's left.

Aydian Dowling of Eugene, Ore., is ripped. He has sharply defined muscles, piercing eyes and European-playboy-on-the-Riviera tousled hair.

It's not just striking good looks that distinguish Dowling, who is leading the voting in the annual "Ultimate Guy" contest held by Men's Health magazine. If he wins the contest (which is ultimately determined by judges), Dowling will be the first transgender man to appear on the cover of Men's Health.

A town that experiences a sudden suicide epidemic, a mysterious traveling salesman who sells a magical mirror polish, a mermaid who washes up on shore: What happens to a small town when something strange and supernatural takes over?

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Steven Millhauser explores that intersection of familiar life and disturbing, often bizarre events in his new short story collection, Voices in the Night.

It's a story that's been told time and time again: A nobody — just a cog in the machine, on the bottom rung of society — breaks out of the role society has assigned her, and rises to the top.

Of course, the story is mostly told about humans — but the latest film from Disneynature presents this classic "Cinderella story" set in the social hierarchy of macaque monkeys in Sri Lanka.

Monkey Kingdom follows a young monkey named Maya as she strives to make a better life for herself and her offspring.

Pages