Now to an award dedicated to giving young American readers an accurate and balanced account of Africa. Parents and teachers looking for books that go beyond the portrayal of lions and giraffes or safaris might want to check out the winners of this year's Children's Africana Book Awards. The prize, which was awarded on Saturday night, was set up to showcase the best children's books about Africa that are published in the U.S.
On Veteran's Day, we honor those who have served by talking with five women who have fought for this country. All five are also authors. We hear how they hope to encourage a new generation of women in the military. Join @TellMeMoreNPR for a Live Twitter chat at 11:00am ET. We will talk about women in combat, race in the military, balancing career & motherhood and why women choose to serve.
Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 3:56 pm
A few years ago I did an author visit at an overcrowded junior high school in a rougher part of San Antonio. I write young adult novels that feature working-class, "multicultural" characters, so I'm frequently invited to speak at urban schools like this.
As is often the case, the principal and I talked as the kids filed into the auditorium. The student body was mostly Hispanic, he told me, and over 90 percent qualified for free and reduced lunch. It was an underprivileged school, a traditionally low-achieving school, but they were working hard to raise performance.
AMC's The Walking Dead has key ratings better than network dramas. The show gets desirable young viewers by not skimping on explicit action, gore or storytelling. So why haven't the networks tried to imitate the show? Blame the FCC, which cracks down on explicit network broadcast content but overlooks cable.
Fans of the critically acclaimed British period drama Downton Abbey are counting down the weeks until the fourth season airs on PBS's Masterpiece in January. They have even more to look forward to — the series has been renewed for a fifth season.
Credit Terra Foundation for American Art, Chicago, Ill.
Robert Henri's 1913 Figure in Motion was a realistic, but bold response to Matisse's and Duchamp's nudes.
Credit Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
The 69th Regiment Armory on East 25th Street may have seemed like an odd venue, but it was big enough to hold the 1,400-work exhibition. "There were lots of comparisons in 1913 of the Armory Show being a bomb from the blue, so the Armory is not inappropriate," says curator Kimberly Orcutt.
Credit Philadelphia Museum of Ar / 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris/Succession Marcel Duchamp
Marcel Duchamp's Cubist-inspired Nude Descending a Staircase was famously described by one critic as "an explosion in a shingle factory."
Credit The Baltimore Museum of Art / 2013 Succession H. Matisse/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Henri Matisse angered viewers with his "distorted" Blue Nude, a 1907 oil on canvas.
Credit Delaware Art Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
McSorley's Bar by American realist John Sloan is a 1912 slice-of-New-York-life scene of relaxation and libation.
One hundred years ago in New York City, nearly 90,000 people came to see the future of art. The 1913 Armory Show gave America its first look at what avant-garde artists in Europe were doing. Today these artists are in major museums around the world, but in 1913, they were mostly unknown in America.
Cynthia Rylant is a renowned author who has written for all age groups and been honored with both Caldecott and Newbery prizes for her work.
Her latest book, God Got a Dog, is a collection of poems that only took her one day to write.
"One poem ... just came out of the blue, and I sat down and I wrote it. And then after I finished writing it, I got an idea for another God poem, and so I wrote that one. And so it started in the morning and then by the end of the day, I was finished writing the book," she tells All Things Considered host Arun Rath.
Credit Joe Sacco / Courtesy of W. W. Norton & Company
Detail from Plate 11 of Joe Sacco's The Great War: July 1, 1916: The First Day of the Battle of the Somme. On July 1st, at precisely 7:30 a.m., the attack commences.
Credit Abigail Oldham / NPR
Joe Sacco's new book, The Great War, unfolds into a 24-foot-long panorama.
Credit Joe Sacco / W. W. Norton & Company
Detail from Plate 5 of Joe Sacco's The Great War: July 1, 1916: The First Day of the Battle of the Somme. The basilica of the town of Albert, visible in the top right, is an important staging point behind the front.
Credit Don Usner / Courtesy of W.W. Norton & Company
Joe Sacco practices journalism through the medium of comics, communicating his eyewitness reportage in pictures. He won the American Book Award in 1996 for Palestine.
Joe Sacco is a cartoonist, graphic novelist and journalist; he's best-known for his dispatches from today's regions of conflict, like the Middle East and Bosnia, in cartoon form. But for his latest book, The Great War, Sacco turns his eye on history. He's recreated of one of the worst battles of World War I, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, from its hopeful beginning to its brutal end.
On-air challenge: Every answer is the name of a state capital, to be identified from its anagram. For example, given "banally" minus the letter L, the answer would be "Albany."
Last week's challenge from the Emmy-winning TV comedy writer Mike Reiss: A famous actress and a famous director share the same last name, although they are unrelated. The first name of one of these is a classic musical. The first name of the other is an anagram of a classic musical. Who are they?
Author Russell Banks is known for his clear-eyed explorations of hardship. His books probe some of the starker, sadder parts of the human experience. So, it's maybe not surprising that his sixth short story collection titled "A Permanent Member of the Family" begins in a dim, chilly room.
Hong Ying's autobiography, Daughter of the River, is doubly astonishing. First, it's an account of the Cultural Revolution that's not written by an intellectual. There's a certain genre of Chinese memoir that looks at upheaval under Mao through an elite lens, and I have to admit, I've been growing tired of those books. But Hong Ying comes from a very different background indeed.
Mark Rylance as Olivia (right) and Samuel Barnett as Viola in Twelfth Night. The Broadway production, which first played at London's Globe Theatre, is done in the Elizabethan tradition, with an all-male cast.
Credit Joan Marcus /
My kingdom for a horse: In the second play, Richard III, Rylance takes on the part of the ruthless monarch.
Credit Joan Marcus /
In his first-ever Broadway performance, Stephen Fry (right) plays the mistreated steward Malvolio in Twelfth Night.
This season, New York audiences have seen wildly different interpretations of Shakespeare plays. They've seen the Romeo of Orlando Bloom make his first entrance on a motorcycle; they've seen a production of Julius Caesar set in a women's prison.
Now the London-based company from Shakespeare's Globe Theatre has landed on Broadway with what seems like the most radical concept of them all: plays staged in a style Shakespeare would've recognized, with all-male casts, period costumes and live music.
President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney left office on Jan. 20, 2009, ending a consequential — and controversial — administration. The Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and Hurricane Katrina were just some of the major events that challenged the administration.
Peter Baker, Chief White House Correspondent for The New York Times, covered those events in real time. But he's now taken a second look at the administration and the relationship at its heart.
From that very first time we're first scolded for putting our elbows on the table at great-aunt Millie's house, we're inducted into the world of manners. After that, it's a lifetime of "pleases" and "thank yous," and chewing with our mouths closed.
But where did all of this civility come from? We can't give all the credit (or blame) to the English, but the average Brit says "sorry" eight times per day, so it's a pretty good place to start.
You might know Gertrude Stein from that college class where you studied her experimental fiction, or maybe you remember her as the host of salons for famous 20th-century artists like Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Ernest Hemingway.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Don Gonyea. Whether or not you're a fan of rock and roll, you've surely heard at least one of the hits by Queen. The British band dominated the airwaves in the '70s and '80s and now their music is rocking the world again, this time in a jukebox musical called "We Will Rock You."
The show has been running in London for a dozen years but now an Americanized version is touring the United States and Canada. NPR's Allison Keyes was at the opening show in Baltimore.
Originally published on Sat November 9, 2013 5:10 pm
Family secrets, life-changing betrayals and the paradox of wondering about the old country while belonging to the new are at the heart of Amy Tan's work. She enthralled readers of her phenomenally successful first novel, The Joy Luck Club (1989), with the interlocking stories of four Chinese-born mothers and their four California-born daughters. Tan followed up with equally enduring portraits of fierce immigrant mothers who withheld secrets of the past while pushing their daughters forward in The Kitchen God's Wife (1991), and The Bonesetter's Daughter (2001).
Nick Offerman was a serious theater actor when he was cast as meat-eating, scotch-drinking boss Ron Swanson in the hit sitcom Parks and Recreation — and now he's the nation's foremost symbol of purest manhood. Offerman has just published a book of of manly advice called Paddle Your Own Canoe, so we've invited him to play a game called "Time to take off the shirt and count the chest hairs." Three questions about extreme, masculine sports.
Every week, a cluster of stories comes to define the landscape of news media. These can be stories of international scope or local intimacy, but for their own distinctive reasons, they all offer narratives defined almost in real time.
To get a better grasp on the hectic pace of current events, it's often vital to turn to another kind of narrative — our favorite kind: books. That's why each week we'll invite authors to suggest a book that somehow deepens, contextualizes or offers an entirely new angle on one of the week's major headlines.
This Blockbuster store in Mission, Texas, is franchised by Border Entertainment. The company has 26 stores across Texas and Alaska that will live on after the last 300 or so company-owned stores are closed by early January 2014.
Blockbuster was once the king of movie rental stores. At its peak, it had about 60,000 employees and more than 9,000 stores.
But after struggling for several years, the chain is breathing its last gasp. Dish Network, which bought Blockbuster in a 2011 bankruptcy auction, says it will close the remaining 300 or so company-owned stores by January.
On Twitter, it put out a call for "Blockbuster Memories."
In the movie Prisoners, now in theaters, a detective investigates the abduction of two young girls. Things get a little more complicated when the father of one of the girls takes matters into his own hands, kidnapping and torturing the man he thinks is responsible.
This week's show, featuring a visit from our pal Kat Chow, kicks off with a Thor-inspired discussion of the sometimes fraught world of sibling relationships. We talk about where we come from in our own sibling worlds, and then check in with fictional siblings and real-world siblings. (Stephen has concerns regarding the Jonas Brothers.)
Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 1:57 pm
It was prostate cancer, not an assassin's poison, that killed poet Pablo Neruda, officials in Chile announced Friday. The Nobel laureate's body was exhumed for testing this spring, due to claims from an employee and Neruda's family that the Chilean poet had been murdered at age 69.
St. Louis might be known for legendary entertainers like Josephine Baker, or star athletes like Yogi Berra, but now there's something else putting the city on the map. It's known as the 'Chess Capital of the World.' Host Michel Martin learns more from St. Louis native and chess National Master, Charles Lawton.