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Refreshing Your Space

As a university instructor, I'm used to having students in my office on campus. But this year, like so many other teachers, I've gotten used to having students in my home office: able to see the messy bookshelf behind me, how my houseplants are faring and whether my cat is vying for my attention (thus theirs, too) on my desk. My students are likewise aware that many of us are now peering into a slice of their lives, whether they're Zooming from a dorm room, kitchen table or childhood bedroom. 

Sophomore Novels from Authors of Well-Loved Debuts

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I'm always intrigued by sophomore novels by authors whose debuts I loved: Will they live up to my expectations? Will they feel the same or different--and which do I prefer?

Cookbooks That Take You Places

I read cookbooks the way some people read travel guides. I spend hours imagining myself re-creating impeccable meals we enjoyed at fancy restaurants on our travels.

Black Excellence in Comics

Black cartoonists like Jackie Ormes, George Herriman and Ollie Harrington paved the way for the diverse voices and perspectives in today's comics, and the myriad styles in which Black artists practice their craft.

Marilyn Monroe: A Mood, A Mystery, A Mirror

I was so young when Marilyn Monroe died in 1962 that she was almost like a mirage to me. Marilyn was not just a movie star but a mood, a mystery and a mirror to mid-century America. Though typecast as a blonde bombshell, Marilyn was so much more: a producer, poet, painter, gardener, avid reader and the brains behind her brand. 

Great Poetry Heats Up the Summer

That headline is deceptive. It promises safe, sundrenched verses--beach read poems. But the amazing poetry I've been reading this summer is anything but safe. These words open eyes, minds and hearts. 

Board Books: Zoom, Vroom and Boom!

It's that time of year: construction time. Roads, bridges, sidewalks.... Whether watching from a stroller or as they walk by themselves, children are about to see a whole bunch of orange reflective material and big machines. Below are some board books that may give them some insight into what they're observing.

If You Plant a Seed

Gardening board books generally have a dual purpose: to teach kids about the natural world and to speak to a larger moral theme--be it kindness, sharing or giving thanks.

A Visual History of Black American Experience

More a visual history than textual, We Were Never Intended to be Citizens tells the story of the Black American experience through images, some iconic, that have come to define a race of people. This little book delivers bite-sized lessons simple enough for youngsters to digest yet accessible to adults. The photos paint vivid pictures of the struggles blacks in America have been facing for hundreds of years, and the triumphs and successes many have attained in spite of racial and social barriers.

Lifting as They Climbed

When the 19th amendment granted women the vote--100 years ago today--the battle didn't end. Historians Kate Clarke Lemay and Martha S. Jones each trace the ripples of the suffrage movement through equality campaigns in the civil rights era, and the current expansion of women in elected offices and calls for voting reform.

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