On her 7th birthday, a little girl named Claire disappears in a seaside Haitian village. Through Claire's fictional journey, award-winning author Edwidge Danticat shares glimmers of her own childhood in Haiti.
In Claire of the Sea Light, the protagonist's mother died during childbirth, and her father is a poor fisherman, struggling to make ends meet. Just moments before his daughter disappears, Claire's father had agreed to let a local woman adopt her in hopes of giving his daughter a better life.
Patricia Polacco has written and illustrated more than 90 picture books. Her young readers are drawn to her stories about family and growing up. She has won many awards for her illustrations, which are done in gorgeous, full watercolor. Polacco's latest book is called The Blessing Cup.
Polacco tells NPR's Jacki Lyden that early life had a profound effect on her work. Many of her books feature her grandmother, called "Babushka" in Yiddish, and take place on her grandmother's farm in Michigan.
Just after he graduated from college, Tony Danza was working out at a boxing gym when somebody said to him: you ever think about being on TV? Since then, he's been a fixture on TV with the hit series Taxi and Who's the Boss?, not to mention his own talk show, his own song and dance stage show, and now a new movie called Don Jon.
We've invited Danza to play a game called "Who's The Boss?": We'll tell him about three companies and three people who might be the head of those companies. He'll have to guess who's the boss.
Aimee Bender is no longer the whiz kid of the American short story. The Color Master is her fifth work of fiction, and along with the idiosyncratic George Saunders she now stands as one of the reigning masters of the eccentric American short story. Fortunately, she's showing no signs of growing up. This latest collection offers a goodly number of one-of-a-kind stories, beautiful in their dreaminess and imaginative vision, a vision that ranges — you'll discover as you read — from stories about the origin of things to stories with an apocalyptic flavor.
Naomi and Sally Durance are heroes of the Great War, that war which was supposed to end all wars. It didn't, but it did help these two Australian sisters overcome sibling suspicion and grow closer to each other.
In a time when recollections can be reduced to just a few words, Jean Shepherd delivered monologues, soliloquies and musings. He was a raconteur.
Shepherd served in the Army during World War II — that same Army that stormed the beaches on D-Day, though Shepherd and his unit would never see the front lines. They were the homefront Army: stocking, re-stocking, sending, schlepping and training for a war they helped win — but only at a distance.
If you've been to a fancy restaurant, you've probably seen a sommelier — those wine experts who make sure you get the best possible match for your meal. But what if you don't want a chardonnay or pinot? What if you want a nice cold beer?
A new program is working to bring this same level of knowledge to the world of malt and hops by turning out batches of certified beer experts known as Cicerones.
Bread and Puppet Theater performs during a protest in New York in June 1982.
Credit Mark Dannenhauer / Bread And Puppet Theater
The Bread and Puppet Theater, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, performs "The Total This & That Circus" on Sundays this summer.
Credit Massimo Schuster / Bread And Puppet Theater
In honor of its 50th anniversary, Bread and Puppet staged a revival of a show they first performed in 1971 called "Birdcatcher in Hell." Forty-two years after the first performance, the revival starred many of the original actors.
Credit Toby Talbot / AP
Bread and Puppet performs during a rally on the Statehouse lawn on Aug. 24, 2011 in Montpelier, Vt.
Bread and Puppet Theater has been a familiar presence at political demonstrations since the anti-war protests of the 1960s. Its giant puppets and raucous brass band also marched against wars in Central America, Afghanistan and Iraq. In 1982, Bread and Puppet led a parade in New York that, according to police estimates, consisted of more than a half-million anti-nuclear protesters. Though massive street protests may be a thing of the past, Bread and Puppet's work is still unapologetically political as it celebrates its 50th anniversary.