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Dealing with disability in a positive way

It’s what’s inside that counts. There’s a sentiment you’ve heard since you were a small child: don’t judge someone by their outward appearances. Look at their mind, see their heart, know who they are before you decide how you’ll act. As in the new book “The Pretty One” by Keah Brown, look past what they can’t do, and see what they can. Comment

A different kind of healing journey

You’re doing okay. Shaky, most days, and you can’t stop crying but you’re doing okay. Thanks for asking, although nobody ever really wants to know. They look away, up or down or anywhere but at the truth: you’ve lost a baby but in “What God is Honored Here?” edited by Shannon Gibney and Kao Kalia Yang, you’ll find sisterhood. Comment

First Ladies forge own unique paths

The chair you now sit in was once occupied by someone else. You are the second or fifth or forty-fourth to hold the job but get ready: in this position, everything you do is critiqued and measured against your predecessors and there is no playbook. Also know that, like in the new book “Melania & Michelle” by Tammy R. Vigil, you have some pretty big pumps to fill. Comment

A complicated tale of slavery

Home Sweet Home. Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like it. It’s where your family is, where you hang your coat, where you keep your stuff. Even the word “home” equals safety and comfort, and in the new book “Sweet Taste of Liberty” by W. Caleb McDaniel, getting home could mean payback, too. Comment
Queens: Literacy awareness in South Ozone, Queens was highlighted at a Book Party organized by Assembly District 31 District Leader, Richard David, in conjunction with Congressman Gregory Meeks, Council Members Eric Ulrich, Donovan Richards, and more than a dozen community organizations and featured two award-winning authors. Comment

Kids standing up for what is right

Someday, this world will be yours. You and other kids like you will be in charge of ensuring that the water’s clean, the air’s breathable, the land is healthy, and people are safe. Yeah, you might think you’re just a kid now but as you’ll see in “Kid Activists” by Robin Stevenson, illustrated by Allison Steinfeld, every good change-maker had to start somewhere. Comment
Your seat is down there, right at the end. You know, though, it’s not close enough to where you want to be. You need to be where decisions are made and careers are launched. No, your place at the table is close to the head and with “The Memo” by Minda Harts you’ll see how to get there. Comment

Marleys’ eldest pens ‘Get Up, Stand Up’ anthem to kids

When Robert Nesta Marley and his Wailers’ collaborator Peter Tosh penned a song titled “Get Up, Stand Up” there was a wall in Europe separating East and West Germany. Comment

SPIN AND SCRATCH

Music: Anselm Douglas, the Trinidadian soca artiste, the original singer of the Grammy Award-winning song “Who Let the Dogs Out,” said the launching of his first children’s book, “The Adventures of Spin and Scratch, The Relocation” was a dream come true. Comment

Black ‘Sherlock Holmes’ investigates a Harlem crime

With a book in your hands, you can do almost anything. Grab a cookbook and make a meal. Pick up a how-to book and fix a toilet. Take a trip to the past or the future, learn to knit, meet a new friend, you can do it with a book. Or, with a book like “A Death in Harlem” by Karla FC Holloway, you might solve a crime. Comment

Don’t ignore your big dreams

Don’t ignore your big dreams

“Keep this to yourself!” That’s the way big dreams start: don’t tell anyone, because telling makes them more delicate. Sharing makes it hurt more when what you want doesn’t happen. As in the new book “More to Life” by ReShonda Tate Billingsley, it’s even worse when your dreams are ignored. Comment

Brooklyn Book Fest gets a boost with Caribbean spirit

Brooklyn is the destination for anyone who enjoys turning a page to enlightenment when the borough’s 13th annual book festival return for a week of literary harvest. Comment

How thieves think and work

Your friend “Rachel” called today. Seven times, she did, and you answered two of them before you realized that you were being robocalled again. You’re usually pretty savvy about not being fooled but lately, it seems like the more you know, the better scammers get at deception. So read the new book, “Scam Me If You Can” by Frank W. Abagnale, and protect yourself. Comment

Timely tale about diversity

There are a few kids in your class that you usually try to ignore. That’s because they’re kinda mean. They call others names, knock books out of their hands, and say racist or hurtful things. They’re bullies, and you avoid them as much as possible, but as in the new book “Count Me In” by Varsha Bajaj, could there be something you don’t know? Comment

A fistful of friendship

Your teacher says “no fighting on the playground.” No pushing, no smacking, and definitely, no hitting. It’s not nice, he says. That’s what bullies do, you know. But as you’ll see in “A Fist for Joe Louis and Me” by Trinka Hakes Noble, illustrated by Nicole Tadgell, sometimes fists and gloves equals a fistful of friendship. Comment
You are the Big Kahuna. The Boss, the One in Charge, maker of decisions and teller of things to do. You’re the Big Cheese with all the responsibility and you ain’t bad at it. So how would you do if, as in the novel, “The Tubman Command” by Elizabeth Cobbs, the very lives of soldiers, women, and children were in your hands? Comment

First day of school could be scary

Your new backpack can’t hold another thing. There are tissues in there, in case you sneeze. Pencils, maybe some crayons for drawing. You have room for a notebook, too, and everything you’ll need to carry for your big day. And in “Butterflies on the First Day of School” by Annie Silvestro, illustrated by Dream Chen, you might be toting something else, too. Comment

Footprints at the shore

Footprints at the shore

The sand feels funny, squishing between your toes. It sticks to the bottom of your feet, the bottom of your hands, and the bottom of your swimsuit, and it’s fun to leave footprints in it, so you can see where you’ve been. It’s always a good day when you’re at the beach, but in “Sandy Feet! Whose Feet?” by Susan Wood, illustrated by Steliyana Doneva, who else is there with you? Comment

Innocent teen jailed for rape

Innocent teen jailed for rape

You saw it happen. Every second of it, every sound, it’s burned in your memory. You can recall how it made you feel, how time seemed to slow down, how there was no room for anything else in your mind. It happened. Or — as in the new book “What Set Me Free” by Brian Banks (with Mark Dagostino) — did it? Comment

Musical path to faith

One thing leads to another. Isn’t that how it goes? You start somewhere and a door is opened. You enter that door and see a window. The window takes you elsewhere and each new place teaches you something different. Isn’t that the way life is — and in the new book “The God Groove” by David Ritz, isn’t that the way faith is? Comment

The world needs a boy like you

The world needs a boy like you

Sometimes, people can barely tell you and your best friend apart. If you happen to wear the same outfit one day, everyone mixes you up because you’re so alike. You talk alike and look alike and enjoy the same jokes. But you know, he’s unique and so are you, and in the new book “A Boy Like You” by Frank Murphy, illustrated by Kayla Harren, you’ll see how very special that is. Comment

Becoming a widowed parent with confidence

The covers on the other side of the bed are barely rumpled these days. There’s just one toothbrush in the holder, one plate at the table, one coffee cup in the sink. You didn’t want this, weren’t expecting it, wish it wasn’t happening but here it is, and in “Widows’ Words” by various writers, edited by Nan Bauer-Maglin, you’re absolutely not alone. Welcome to the club. The rules are simple. Comment

No joy in carrying unbearable secrets

The burden on your shoulders is heavy. Your whole body sags with the weight of things you know but can’t tell, and each new whisper adds to the pack. Secrets you carry are more than you can bear sometimes, which is why you need to share them – but in the new book “In West Mills” by De’Shawn Charles Winslow, there’s virtue in hushing up. Comment

A warm family tale for summer

Getting together with your family this summer is going to be fun! You’ll see your cousins and grandparents, friends and kin, and your aunts and uncles will be there, too. You’ll eat foods you love, play games to win, and you’ll hear stories that your family likes to tell. But what will you bring to the family picnic? In “Going Down Home with Daddy” by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Daniel Minter, that’s a question one boy struggles with. Comment

Illustrated story book about Dr. King for kids

“Martin Luther King, Jr.: Voice for Equality!” by James Buckley, Jr. and YouNeek Studios c.2018, Portable Press $12.99 / $17.99 Canada 96 pages The heroes in comic books arrive in fancy costumes. Their heads are ringed by bubbles that say things like “POW!” and “ZOOM!” and that’s when bad guys fall like dead twigs from a tree. BAM! Comment

Becoming a hair stylist

Becoming a hair stylist

Sometimes, you feel like you could just dye. Or curl, or cut, or braid. Some days, you want a change in style, a different ‘do, maybe something like you’ve seen in a magazine. Or you want to be the person who makes that happen, so read “Becoming a Hair Stylist” by Kate Bolick and see if you have what it takes. Comment

A small glimpse into your future

You were their hope for the future. For your elders, your birth represented things they wished would happen but that they’d never know. It was a joy for them to see you come into the world but for you, as in the new book “Ladysitting” by Lorene Cary, it’s harder to see them go. Comment
You wanted it. And you wanted it very much. But, ah, well, you didn’t get it. You worked and you begged and maybe you even saved but you didn’t get what it was that you wanted. You were sad, but you got over it. You’ll try again, work harder, save more and, as in “The Undefeated” by Kwame Alexander and Kadir Nelson, one day, you’ll reach your goal. Comment

Ten principles of a ‘Righteous Warrior’

These days, you just don’t know what to expect. Things used to be laid out nice and easy: a real man took care of business, he settled disagreements with his fists, and he was head of his household. But it’s a new world now with new expectations, and in “The Code of the Righteous Warrior” by Rev. Dr. Alyn E. Waller, you’ll know how to get through it. Comment

Surviving a crisis with humor

Sometimes, life stinks. Bad things happen to great people but truly horrible things happen to you — things like losing a loved one, and that’s indescribable. Your emotions feel like shuffled cards: you’re foggy, sad, angry, exhausted, and tired of dealing with it all. So what do you do next? You take a deep breath and read “The Hot Young Widows Club” by Nora McInerny. Comment

Simple actions for changing your life around

You could be rich someday. That’s what they say: you could have a great job, a nice car, and a crib on the beach, if you want them. They say it could happen, if you seize opportunities that come your way. They say it’s possible to be successful if you just pull yourself up by some imaginary bootstraps. And according to D. Watkins in his new book “We Speak for Ourselves,” they are lying. Comment

Spicy, hot and violent affair

They said it would never work. He married up too high. She was a gold-digger and he didn’t realize it yet. She wanted a Daddy figure; he was Mama’s Boy. Neither was good enough for the other, so they said it wouldn’t work. And in the new novel, “Before We Were Wicked” by Eric Jerome Dickey… they were right. Comment

Queen Bey reigns over her hive

You were crazy in love. It happened the first time you heard Beyoncé Knowles, before she won a Grammy, before she added to her life with a man and motherhood. It happened the first time you saw her, a skinny child with a mispronounced name, and in “Queen Bey,” a book of essays edited by Veronica Chambers, you’ll want to say that name again. Comment

Perseverance, ‘concentration’ aided sisters’ ascent

You caught it! The ball was thrown very high – so high that you lost it in the sky for a minute – and you weren’t sure how you’d do it, but your hands were out and you caught it. Just. Like. That. Some balls are meant to be thrown or batted, while some are meant to bounce. In the new book “Sisters” by Jeanette Winter, you’ll learn about two girls who don’t just hit a ball, they smash it. Comment

Tales, anecdotes on racial issues

Your mother dealt with things you can’t imagine. It was a different time when she was your age, with societal issues you’d never tolerate and rules you wouldn’t abide. Same with your grandma: scrapbooks, history books and museums are the only places you’ll see what she lived. So what will your children know? As in “Black is the Body” by Emily Bernard, what’s your story? Comment

Power up and explore

You are a really great kid. You can run fast and jump high. You can smile and sing and catch a ball. You might even know how to make a sandwich or help out around the house. You’re pretty awesome all around, but in “Power Up” by Seth Fishman, illustrated by Isabel Greenberg, you’re insides are especially incredible. Comment

Brown’s gracious and inspiring memoir

Do unto others. Three words that are a shorthand reminder to be nice and treat people in the manner that you’d want to be treated. Do unto others and make life smoother. Be good, and be of service because, as Robert J. Brown reminds readers, “You Can’t Do Wrong Doing Right.” Comment

Young girl wants a better life

You can be anything you want to be! That’s what you were told, growing up: you could do anything, try everything, and be anybody you wanted to be, if you tried. Set your sights on something, and it was yours — so in the new novel “Inventing Victoria” by Tonya Bolden, a young girl wants a better life. Five-year-old Essie was embarrassed half to death. Comment

Edwidge Danticat’s new kid’s book explores a mother’s caring touch

The Haitian-American author’s new picture book, “My Mommy Medicine,” illustrates the many ways a mother helps her young child feel better when she’s home sick. Comment

A tale of the small side of injustice

Ever since you were a little kid, you’ve had a great big wish. You’ve always wanted that one thing. You’ve schemed and asked, begged and plotted, but you still don’t have it. As in the new book “Meet Miss Fancy” by Irene Latham, illustrated by John Holyfield, whatever’s stopping you just isn’t fair. Comment

‘Babylon’ premieres: ‘Yardie’ begins BAM Reel Caribbean Series

Movies: For the fifth consecutive year, the Brooklyn Academy of Music will spotlight more than a few fine films that feature factual and fictitious aspects of Caribbean life. From Haiti, Antigua, Guyana, Dominica, Trinidad & Tobago, Puerto Rico, the United Kingdom and Jamaica, vintage and new documentaries provide celluloid testimony to the diversity of the tropical landscape located south of the border. Comment

Gift from the heart makes a great present

Oh, how you love opening presents! You love the surprise, first of all. What did you get? You won’t find out until you rip off the paper and just the sound of that is exciting. Maybe there’s a box next, or plastic to open, or there’s simply a gift for you to enjoy. Getting presents are awesome but in the new book “What is Given from the Heart” by Patricia C. McKissack, illustrated by April Harrison, is doubly special when you have nothing to give in return. Comment

Racial politics in Hollywood

The movie you’ve been waiting for is finally available. Sure, you saw it in the theatre, but you’re happy to watch it again. It has adventure, a little romance, and plenty of action – plus, it features your favorite actor, so what’s not to love? Better question, asks author Maryann Erigha in her book “The Hollywood Jim Crow”: what color is the cast? Comment

Kid faces uncomfortable truths in her life

Leave me alone. That’s what you’d like to tell just about everybody right now: go away. Stop talking to me. Don’t fuss, quit fighting, put away those bad words. You’re done, so leave me alone. As in the new book “Genesis Begins Again” by Alicia D. Williams, life is much easier if you don’t rely too much on people who hurt you. Comment

Author pens memoir on overcoming abuse, heartbreak

Brooklyn: A Jamaican-American actress from Brownsville is debuting a new book and celebrating its release with a Valentine’s Day themed launch party in Greenpoint on Feb. 9. First time author Jacinth Headlam’s book “Love After…” is a reflective memoir about her life coming out of a messy divorce, and surviving it. Several years ago, she was going through a troubling time and decided to write about it to help others going through a similar experience. Comment

Building a good relationship takes effort

Marriage? Not interested. Nope, you’ve tried it and it’s not for you. Neither is love, apparently, as evidenced by the string of awful dates you’ve had lately. You know that having a bad relationship is easy. Having a good one takes effort, and it might start with “Making It Work” by Tony A. Gaskins, Jr. Comment
Brooklyn: More than 30 families participated in the “We Want to Write,” event organized by the Brooklyn-based organization, No Rest Until Success, at the Cortelyou Early Childhood Center Annex in East Flatbush on Jan. 13. Comment

Challenges of the ‘blended’ child

One plus one is two. It’s simple: all you have to do is add or count, easy-peasy, a trick you probably learned shortly after you could talk. One plus one is two but as you grow up, you’ll notice that math can get funny and, in the case of the new book “Blended” by Sharon M. Draper, one plus one might suddenly become more. Comment

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