Poet Amanda Gorman revisits inaugural triumph with Oprah
In this combination photo, Oprah Winfrey, left, attends the premiere of "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" on April 18, 2017, in New York and Amanda Gorman attends Porter's 3rd annual Incredible Women Gala on Oct. 9, 2018, in Los Angeles. Gorman revisits her inaugural poem that wowed observers, among them Oprah Winfrey, in the Apple TV+ series "The Oprah Conversation." (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, left, and Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)LOS ANGELES – Amanda Gorman revisits her inauguration day poetry reading that wowed observers, among them Oprah Winfrey, in the Apple TV+ series “The Oprah Conversation.”The 23-year-old Gorman “stepped into a moment in history with enormous grace and dignity,” Winfrey said in a statement. The first National Youth Poet Laureate and the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history, Gorman recited “The Hill We Climb” for the Jan. 20 swearing-in ceremony for President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. Others who have been interviewed for “The Oprah Conversation” include former President Barack Obama, Matthew McConaughey, Stevie Wonder and author Ibram X. Kendi.
Biden revokes Trump report promoting 'patriotic education'
(AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)President Joe Biden revoked a recent Trump administration report that aimed to promote “patriotic education” in schools but that historians mocked and rejected as political propaganda. In an executive order signed on Wednesday in his first day in office, Biden disbanded Donald Trump’s presidential 1776 Commission and withdrew a report it released Monday. “Many Americans labor under the illusion that slavery was somehow a uniquely American evil,” the panel wrote in the 20-page report. He worries that, even after Biden dissolved the commission, its report could end up in some classrooms. But others said they needed to push the report to state and local education officials.
Jay-Z's Roc Nation forms book publisher with Random House
NEW YORK – A decade after publishing his memoir “Decoded,” Jay-Z is forming a more lasting partnership with the book industry. Roc Nation, the entertainment company founded by the rapper, is starting an imprint with Random House called Roc Lit 101. In a joint announcement Tuesday, Random House and Roc Nation promised “books at the dynamic intersection of entertainment and genre-defying literature." Future releases will include a book by Meek Mill on “criminal justice and survival,” memoirs by rappers Yo Gotti and Fat Joe and fantasy fiction from rapper Lil Uzi Vert, along with everything from cookbooks to children's stories. Roc Lit 101 will be led by Chris Jackson, the publisher and editor-in-chief of the Random House imprint One World and a recent recipient of a lifetime achievement award from the Center for Fiction; and Jana Fleishman, executive vice president of Roc Nation.
Publishing saw upheaval in 2020, but 'books are resilient'
(AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)NEW YORK – Book publishing in 2020 was a story of how much an industry can change and how much it can, or wants to, remain the same. To its benefit and to its dismay, publishing was drawn into the events of the moment. Penguin Random House, among other initiatives, asked all employees to read Ibram X. Kendi’s “How To Be an Anti-Racist.” Kendi later presided over a company town hall. Macmillan CEO Don Weisberg, who cited a wide range of diversity programs at the publishing house that began before “American Dirt,” said he “understands the skepticism." The CEO of Penguin Random House U.S., Madeline McIntosh, noted how well book publishing could meet the public's needs during the pandemic and other events of 2020.
Winfrey picks Isabel Wilkerson's 'Caste' for her book club
And on Tuesday, Winfrey announced she had chosen Isabel Wilkerson's exploration of race and hierarchy in the U.S., Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, as her latest book club pick. Wilkerson's book, Winfrey said in a telephone interview, could change the way we see each other, how we see our humanity and the structure of our world." Caste continues Winfrey's book club partnership with Apple that began last fall and includes such previous picks as Ta-Nehisi Coates' novel The Water Dancer and the nonfiction Hidden Valley Road, by Robert Kolker. Winfrey said many details in Caste were revelatory for her, such as the Nazis' admiration for the Jim Crow system. She read Caste a few months ago, before bound, printed copies were available.
Top seller 'Antiracist Baby' to be released as picture book
NEW YORK A picture book edition of Ibram X. Kendi's Antiracist Baby, one of the country's top-selling books since the death last month of George Floyd, is coming out July 14. Antiracist Baby went on sale this week as a board book and has been part of a wave of works about race and racism that have been selling strongly as protests against Floyd's death at the hands of Minneapolis police spread worldwide. Two other Kendi books are current bestsellers, How To Be an Antiracist and Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, winner of the National Book Sward in 2016. The picture book of Antiracist Baby will feature illustrations by Ashley Lukashevsky, Penguin Young Readers announced Thursday. The new edition is being published by the Penguin imprint Kokila.
Parents, educators, experts talk to kids on race amid unrest
To help her kids going forward, Dunbar has been reaching out for guidance from child therapists, early childhood educators and seasoned parents. How conversations with kids about race and racism play out can be intensely personal for parents. Many white parents in particular believe children are too young for such discussions at age 10 or 11, said Andrew Grant-Thomas, co-founder of Embrace Race, a nonprofit that provides resources for parents and educators. Insights that he offered online in 2016 have been shared by school districts around the country in the past week with parents. When you speak to young children with passion and with respect, and with information that is valid to their lives, they listen," she said.
Books on race and criminal justice top bestseller lists
NEW YORK As nationwide protests against racism and police violence continue, readers are seeking out books old and new on race and criminal justice. Robin Diangelo's White Fragility," Michelle Alexander's "The New Jim Crow" and Bryan Stevenson's Just Mercy were among the works high on the bestseller lists Tuesday of Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com. Popular books also included James Baldwin's classic The Fire Next Time, published more than 50 years ago, and a board book for children from National Book Award winner Ibram X. Kendi, Antiracist Baby, that comes out next week. Ta-Nehisi Coates' Between the World and Me, winner of the National Book Award in 2015, is an open letter to the author's son that centers on the murder of an old friend by police. Angie Thomas' The Hate U Give is a popular young adult novel, adapted into a feature film of the same name, about a young girl who sees her best friend killed at the hands of police.