Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 1:44 pm
Leah Vincent was born into the Yeshivish community, an ultra-Orthodox sect of Judaism, in Pittsburgh.
"Yeshivish Judaism life is defined by religious law," Vincent tells NPR's Arun Rath. "We keep extra-strict laws of kosher, observe the Sabbath every week, maintain a separation of the sexes and a degree of isolation from the outside world."
When she was 16, she was caught exchanging letters with a male friend. Contact with men is forbidden in her sect, and she was cast out from her community.
Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 8:32 am
On July 4, 1913, Robert Frost wrote to his good friend John Bartlett, describing his strengths as a poet: "To be perfectly frank with you I am one of the most notable craftsmen of my time. ... I alone of English writers have consciously set myself to make music out of what I may call the sound of sense."
Frost was 39 years old when he wrote those words. Despite the hubristic and self-assured tone, he had published one book of poetry, A Boy's Will, and was relatively unknown in literary circles.
Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 12:02 pm
For the historical novelist, the past sometimes seems like one great filing cabinet of material that may lend itself to successful novelization. And in the case of France's so-called "Belle Epoque," the gifted English writer Robert Harris seems to have opened the right drawer. His latest novel, An Officer and a Spy, is set during this period of peace and prosperity between the end of the Franco-Prussian war and the lead-up to the First World War.
Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 11:21 am
Update: On Jan. 27, the American Library Association awarded the Caldecott Medal to Locomotive by Brian Floca. Three Caldecott Honor books were also named, including Journey by Aaron Becker and Mr. Wuffles! by David Wiesner.
Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 1:31 pm
One of the world's most beloved books is The Little Prince by Antoine Saint-Exupery. Published in 1943, almost two million copies are sold every year, in about 250 languages.
If asked where you think the book was written, you might say Paris. You'd be wrong. Try Long Island — as in Long Island, N.Y.
When the late Nikos Kefalidis bought the house on Beven Road in Northport, Long Island, in the late 1970s, he knew that 30 years before, Saint-Exupery had written and illustrated part of Le Petit Prince in that house.
Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 10:21 am
Ishmael Beah was just barely a teenager when his town became engulfed in Sierra Leone's civil war in the mid-1990s. In his 2007 memoir, A Long Way Gone, Beah describes how, after he lost his parents and brothers to the conflict, he wandered the countryside with a band of boys and was recruited as a child soldier by government forces. The memoir describes the hellish atrocities committed by child soldiers on both sides of the conflict.