Spirit Rising: My Life, My Music by Angelique Kidjo

Spirit Rising: My Life, My MusicBorn in the West African nation of Benin, Angélique Kidjo grew up surrounded by the rich sounds, rhythms, and storytelling of traditional Beninese culture. When the Communists took over, they silenced her dynamic culture and demanded that she sing in praise of them.

In Spirit Rising: My Life, My Music, Angélique reveals the details of her dangerous escape into France, and how she rose from poverty to become a Grammy Award–winning artist and an international sensation at the top of Billboard‘s World Albums chart. She also explains why it’s important to give back by sharing stories from her work as a UNICEF ambassador and as founder of the Batonga Foundation, which gives African girls access to education.

Desmond Tutu has contributed the foreword to this remarkable volume; Alicia Keys has provided an introduction. Her eloquent, inspiring narrative is paired with more than one hundred colorful photographs documenting Angélique’s life and experiences, as well as a sampling of recipes that has sustained her on her remarkable odyssey.


January 9, 2014| 7:00 PM|33 East 17th Street| New York, NY |10003


ICYMI: Toni Morrison and Junot Diaz Live from the NYPL

LIVE closes the Fall 2013 season with a conversation between 2013 Library Lion Junot Díaz and the writer who most influenced him, Nobel Prize-winner Toni Morrison.

“I think the most sustained love of mine,” Díaz has said, “the one that’s carried me through all these years, is my relationship with Toni Morrison. I’m telling you, I’m one of those people who’s still cracking my head on many of the ideas Toni Morrison both suggested and elaborated on in her work.” Witness a powerful event as Díaz comes face to face with his literary hero to celebrate her remarkable career.

Toni Morrison is the Robert F. Goheen Professor in the Humanities, Emerita at Princeton University. Her ten major novels, The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, Tar Baby, Beloved, Jazz, Paradise, Love, A Mercy and Home have received extensive critical acclaim. She received the National Book Critics Award in 1978 for Song of Solomon and the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Beloved. Both novels were chosen as the main selections for the Book of the Month Club in 1977 and 1987 respectively. In 2006 Beloved was chosen by the New York Times Book Review as the best work of American fiction published in the last quarter-century. In 1993 Ms. Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Junot Díaz was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey. He is the recipient of the Eugene McDermott Award, a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, and a Lila Acheson Wallace Reader’s Digest Award. He is the fiction editor at the Boston Review and on the Board of the Pulitzer Prize, and is the Rudge and Nancy Allen Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He lives in New York City.

Check the video below or click here.

(Talk begins at the 40:09 mark)

Nikki Giovanni Signing Copies of, “Chasing Utopia”

Chasing Utopia: A Hybrid

Nikki Giovanni’s poetry has spurred movements and inspired songs, turned hearts and informed generations. She’s been hailed as a healer and as a national treasure. But Giovanni’s heart resides in the everyday, where family and lovers gather, friends commune, and those no longer with us are remembered. And at every gathering there is food—food as sustenance, food as aphrodisiac, food as memory. A pot of beans is flavored with her mother’s sighs—this sigh part cardamom, that one the essence of clove; a lover requests a banquet as an affirmation of ongoing passion; homage is paid to the most time-honored appetizer: soup.

With Chasing Utopia, Giovanni demands that the prosaic—flowers, birdsong, win-ter—be seen as poetic, and reaffirms once again why she is as energetic, “remarkable” (Gwendolyn Brooks), “wonderful” (Marian Wright Edelman),”outspoken, prolific, energetic” (New York Times), and relevant as ever.


December 17, 2013| 7:00 PM33 East 17th Street, New York, NY 10003, | 212-253-0810

*Updated* LaLa Anthony Signing Copies of New Book, “The Love Playbook”


Star of VH1’s La La’s Full Court Life, actress, entrepreneur, and wife of New York Knick’s star Carmelo Anthony – La La Anthony found love and success on her own terms. But before La La was a strong woman balancing a growing career, a high-profile marriage, and motherhood, she suffered through bad dates, tumultuous relationships, and backstabbing friends. She learned the hard way how to rise above it all to live the life she loves. And now, for the first time, she channels her most rewarding and challenging lessons into a personal playbook, providing empowering, go-to advice for healthy relationships and a happy life.

With her attitude of no nonsense and no judgments, La La is the one her friends come to for relationship advice. In The Love Playbook, she tells it like it is, sharing her personal experiences and revealing intimate details about her marriage and past relationships, to illustrate what she’s learned the hard way.

The book was co-authored by Karen Hunter and will be released on Jan. 28, 2014, by Penguin Group publisher Celebra.


January 28, 2014| 7:00 PM| 97 Warren Street |New York, NY 10007| 212-587-5389

January 29, 2014| 7:00 PM at Books and Greetings| Livingston Street| Northvale, NJ

February 3, 2014| 7:00 PM| 189 The Grove Drive |L.A., CA 90036| 323-525-0270

March 27, 2014| 7:00 PM| 2900 Peachtree Road NE Atlanta, GA 30305| 404-261-7747


Worth the Read Review: Odysella Empress of Nar Book 1

Now Introducing: Author Shirley Hardy-Leonard

About the Book

Odysella  is a futuristic tale about two young people; Odysella, a 23rd century farm girl thrust into her destiny as an intergalactic leader and War B, a handsome rapper from Chicago, whose group Floss Angeles is in the midst of a comeback tour but ends up involved in a military mission with Odysella to save her planet of Nar. Odysella brings the past of hip-hop and politics slamming into the future much like a deadly asteroid.

The journey she goes on to discover her newfound destiny is filled with adventure that holds your interest.  Upon discovering her new charge in life, Odysella accepts it with great dignity and seeks help from War B and his rap group, but not everyone in the group is willing to help Odysella.

The book ends in a dramatic cliffhanger, leaving the reader with many unanswered questions.  Do they survive the firey ending?  Does Odysella learn to enjoy rap music? Will their families be safe?  All these questions should be answered over the next three installments of the series.  No word yet when book two is due out.

The book is a short read at just 57 pages, but at it’s core is a great novel, bringing the past and future together, for teens and young adults. There were some moments, as with most books, where the story drags a bit, but quickly pulls you back in a few pages later.  The slang terminology felt a little forced in its authenticity, and can be a little distracting, but again, the book seems to be targeted towards young adult readers so the usage of contemporary colloquialisms is expected here.

So…is it worth the read??

We say YES.

Worth Read Scale: 3.0 out of 5

Be sure to get your copy of Oydsella: Empress of Nar!

Worth the Read: Upcoming New Releases for December

Cy in Chains David DudleyCy Williams, thirteen, has always known that he and the other black folks on Strong’s plantation have to obey white men, no question. Sure, he’s free, as black people have been since his grandfather’s day, but in rural Georgia, that means they’re free to be whipped, abused, even killed. Almost four years later, Cy yearns for that freedom, such as it was. Now he’s a chain gang laborer, forced to do backbreaking work, penned in and shackled like an animal, brutalized, beaten, and humiliated by the boss of the camp and his hired overseers. For Cy and the boys he’s chained to, there’s no way out, no way back.

Pre-Order the book here.

Black Male(d): Peril and Promise in the Education of African American Males

In this paperback edition, the author of the bestseller Why Race and Culture Matter in Schools examines the chronic under-performance of African American males in U.S. schools. Citing a plethora of disturbing academic outcomes for Black males, this book focuses on the historical, structural, educational, psychological, emotional, and cultural factors that influence the teaching and learning process for this student population. Howard discusses the potential and promise of Black males by highlighting their voices to generate new insights, create new knowledge, and identify useful practices that can significantly improve the schooling experiences and life chances of Black males. Howard calls for a paradigm shift in how we think about, teach, and study Black males.  Get your copy here.