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FERGUSON, MO – In Wake of Clashes, Calls to Demilitarize Police
FERGUSON, MO – In Wake of Clashes, Calls to Demilitarize Police

Reading this morning’s paper (NYT) about the protest in Ferguson MO, I was relieved to read the news that the Missouri governor changed tactics by bringing in the state highway patrol.

If you are at all curious as to how we got to the point of declaring war on ourselves or how the lines have blurred between cop and soldier, Rise of the Warrior Cop is a must read.  Radley Balko’s book is a major part of the conversations surrounding the police shootings and protests in Ferguson, Missouri.  Journalists have dubbed the book “authoritative,” “seminal,” and “the best and most comprehensive account of the dangers of police militarization.”

The paperback edition of this authoritative book goes on sale August 26th.

Balko will be a guest on Pacifica’s Democracy Now! tomorrow morning (Friday 8/15).

A roundup of this week’s publicity is below—


  • Democracy Now, 8/15
  • MSNBC “All In with Chris Hayes” 8/12


  • KUER (Salt Lake NPR) rebroadcast of 2013 interview, 8/14
  • WTOP (Washington, DC news/talk) 8/13


  • Dallas Morning News, Sunday “Points” section opinion column, mention 8/17 print, 8/14 online



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Kirkus reviews Made By Raffi from Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

9781847804334_54330We love this inspirational story about a shy little boy who uses his knitting skills to win over the hearts of his classmates. 

“A boy with a flair for fashion finds affirmation.

Raffi wonders why he is different from all the other boys in school; he would rather sit quietly than play rough games. When his teacher shows him how to knit, he is excited and soon starts a scarf for his father with skeins of yarn in rainbow colors. The project grows and grows and grows as Raffi ignores the laughter from the children on their school bus.  He asks his very supportive parents if maybe he is “strange or weird” or “girly” or a “Tomgirl.” No, they answer; he is wonderful. The next project is a cape for a classmate playing a prince in a school play. Step by step (illustrated on a doublepage spread), Raffi designs and sews it together. After some initial teasing, the other kids are enthusiastic and ask him to create clothes for them. Acceptance and support envelop the future fashion designer. Chamberlain’s pencil, ink and digital art is colorful, comic and lively. Raffi is surely fortunate to be in such a positive setting, and hopefully he can be a model for all Tomgirls. “Mum” and “metre” are the only two Briticisms in this import.”

A solid support for all children who don’t fit an accepted mode of behavior.”

Kirkus Review Posted Online: June 25th, 2014 | Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2014

Made by Raffi is a must read that portrays being different as positive and shows that being creative is cool and highlights classic issues of teasing and bullying.  The book includes step-by-step instructions for making the scarf and cape in the book.

Internationally known singer and actor Craig Pomranz lives in New York City. Margaret Chamberlain is the illustrator of Has Anyone Seen Jack?, Look Out He’s Behind You, Tales from Grimm, My Two Grannies, and My Two Grandads. She lives in Lyme Regis, U.K.

Trade Cloth, Picture Book
US $17.99
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books Fall 2014
Made By Raffi Illustrations


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The Great Glass Sea from Grove Press

9780802122155_6bcc2From celebrated storyteller Josh Weil comes a sui generis epic swathed in all the magic of Russian folklore and set against the dystopian backdrop of an all too real alternate present.

Twins Yarik and Dima have been inseparable since childhood. Living on their uncle’s farm after the death of their father, the boys once spent their days helping farmers in fields, their nights spellbound by their uncle’s tales. Years later, they labor together at the Oranzheria, a sea of glass erected over acres of cropland and lit by space mirrors that ensnare the denizens of Petroplavilsk in perpetual daylight. Now the twins have only work in common-stalwart Yarik married with children, oppressed by the burden of responsibility; dreamer Dima living alone with his mother, wistfully planning the brothers’ return to their uncle’s land.

But an encounter with the Oranzerhia’s billionaire owner changes their lives forever and soon both men find themselves poster boys for opposing ideologies that threaten to destroy not only the lives of those they love but the love that has bonded them since birth.

A breathtakingly ambitious novel of love, loss, and light, set amid a bold vision of an alternative present-day Russia.

“[A] fascinating debut novel… The Great Glass Sea is not an alternative history, …but a fantastical vision inspired by bits and pieces of Russian language history, and culture. It is beautifully baffled by the mysterious Russian soul.”-New York Times Book Review

Read the full New York Times Book Review here:

“Evocative of Russian classics…an ambitious analysis of the fallout of that one single moment, how the drive to work and amass impacts our happiness, and conversely how listlessness or a lack of ambition do the same…The Great Glass Sea is a joy to reflect on…Josh Weil proves himself a storyteller with the ability to deliver the kind of complex literature (with room for interpretation that lends itself to discussion and debate) in a time where fast, easy and digestible are far more common place.”-Examiner

Watch here:

Josh Weil was the recipient of the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction for his debut novella collection, The New Valley. He has been named a National Book Award “5 Under 35″ author, a Fulbright scholar, and was a Jersey Fellow at Columbia University. His fiction has appeared in Granta, StoryQuarterly, and New England Review, among others. Weil divides his time between New York City and Southwestern Virginia.












Photograph by Jilan Carroll Glorfield


The Great Glass Sea
Author: Josh Weil
$27.00 USD
Grove Press



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The London Jungle Book from Tara Books

9788192317120This new and fully re-designed edition of the now-classic book marks the tenth anniversary of Bhajju Shyam’s momentous journey to London, U.K. Bhajju Shyam, a celebrated and award-winning artist from the Gond tribe in central India, was commissioned to paint the walls of an Indian restaurant in London. He spent two months in the city, and it was the first time he encountered a western metropolis. The book that emerged from his journey is a visual travelogue that both mimics and subverts the typical colonial encounter. With radical innocence and great sophistication, Bhajju brings the signs of the Gond forest to bear on the city, turning London into an exotic jungle, a clever beastiary. The London Underground becomes a sinuous snake, Big Ben transforms into a rooster crowing the time, and an airplane – the first Bhajju ever encountered – is compared to an elephant miraculously flying through the air. It is rare to encounter a truly original vision that is capable of startling us into reexamining familiar sights.

“In addition to the gorgeous art and pause giving perspective, the book has a layer of historical poignancy: A century earlier, Shyam’s tribe had been studied by the pioneering British anthropologist Verrier Elwin, who married a Gond woman, lived with the community, and wrote several books about the tribe. Shyam’s grandfather had been Elwin’s servant, so the boy had grown up with the writer’s stories. To deepen the synchronicity even further, Elwin had written in the preface to one of his books on the Gonds that he considered it a counterpart to Kipling’s Jungle Book. How beautiful, then, that Shyam got to return not only Kipling’s cultural volley but also to become an anthropologist in Elwin’s world a century later. …The London Jungle Book is immeasurably wonderful and layered in its entirety.” ~ Brainpickings 06/20/2014

Read the full review here:

Bhajju Shyam is hailed as the finest living Gond tribal artist in India. His intricate and colorful work is well-known throughout India and abroad, and has been exhibited in the U.K., United States, Germany, Holland, France, Russia, Italy, and Reunion Island. His other works include The Night Life of Trees, Flight of the Mermaid, That’s How I See Things, Signature: Patterns in Gond Art, and Alone in the Forest. From the walls of his tribal village home to international acclaim, the evolution of his work has been an incredible creative journey.

The London Jungle Book
Author: Shyam, Bhajju, Trade Cloth, ISBN 9788192317120, US $19.95, Spring 20149788192317120_IL_4_252f9


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Is it safer to fly or take the train?
Is it safer to fly or take the train?

……. How dangerous is skydiving? And is eating that extra link of breakfast sausage going to kill you? We’ve all heard the statistics for risky activities, but what do those numbers actually mean in the real world?

In The Norm Chronicles, journalist Michael Blastland and risk expert David Spiegelhalter answer these questions—and far more—in a commonsense (and wildly entertaining) guide to personal risk.

The authors illustrate that chance and risk aren’t just about numbers—they’re as much about what we believe, who we trust, and how we feel about the world around us. What we do, or don’t do, has as much do with gut instinct as hard facts, with enjoyment as understanding.


“They teach us how math helps us sensibly assess and manage risk. Just remember: You can crunch the numbers as much as you like, but when it comes down to any given individual, chance always plays a part.”  — The New York Times Book Review

“Amidst the numbers and stories on topics as diverse as infant mortality, travel, extreme sports, and crime, the authors examine just how all of this affects non-theoretical humans….The whole is seasoned with a dash of humor to create a work that should satisfy anyone curious about just how and when this mortal coil might be shuffled off.” — PublishersWeekly

“Tackling a factor in matters ranging from personal choices to public policy, this book’s British authors — a journalist and a Cambridge statistician, respectively — make risk easy to understand without omitting its mathematical basis.” — PittsburghTribune-Review

“You can read this stuff in a prosecutorial tone of voice, if you like, as many writers on perception of risk have: Look how irrational and wrong everyone is! But the authors take a different tack—a better one. They argue ably that mathematical computations should be a buttress to our judgment but concede that computations will never, and should never, replace our judgment entirely. Of their risk-buffeted characters, they conclude: ‘We don’t know how to use data to tell them how to live.’ If they don’t, no one does.” — The Wall Street Journal

“General readers will appreciate this engaging exploration of statistics and their relevance to daily life.” — Library Journal

“Commendable for its wide compilation of facts and figures—but perhaps even more so for the authors’ “deep sense of uncertainties around data, statistics, and evidence.” — Kirkus Reviews

David Spiegelhalter has blogged on his site about the actual vs. perceived risk of plane crashes in light of the three crashes in the past week.

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The Flat Rabbit from Owlkids Books gets a starred review from Kirkus!

9781771470599_6d2e4At some point every parent is faced with questions from little enquiring minds that are not always easy to answer. We love this honest but gentle story about the cycle of life that every parent, teacher or grandparent should have on hand for those types of moments.

“Upon seeing a flattened rabbit on the road, a dog and rat try to honor her in this secular story about compassion and respect.

Walking along, a dog notices something; a rat stops, too. As they stare at a carcass in the street, a halting, awkward conversation ensues. Together, the dog and rat contemplate the rabbit’s existence—and what to do for her now. With a plan in place, the two gently peel the rabbit off the road and bring her to the dog’s house, where they work all night long. In the morning, they reveal a kite, with the rabbit attached. After much effort, the kite is airborne, and as it soars, they wonder if the rabbit is enjoying herself. Not sure of the answer, they let go, and the kite flies aloft, up and over the city. The artist’s pencil, pen and watercolor illustrations are raw and spare. Done in a faded, pastel palette, they thoughtfully convey different perspectives from both the visual and narrative standpoints. Although they depict a gruesome subject (roadkill), there’s nothing grotesque about the images. Spot illustrations on the left-side pages give context to the animals’ environment or foreshadow events to come. Oskarsson offers a pleasing vision of the afterlife, as the dog and rat try to give the rabbit a gift—an experience it didn’t have during its lifetime.

As perfectly, honestly childlike in its approach as Margaret Wise Brown and Remy Charlip’s classic The Dead Bird, this title should provoke both thought and discussion.”

*Starred Review:  Review Posted Online: July 16th, 2014 & Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2014*


Grade: 3
Fountas & Pinnel: N
 Lexile Measure: AD 610L
Common Core State Standards:

Bardur Oskarsson is a Faroese children’s writer, illustrator, and artist. He has won several literary awards and his works have been translated into Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic, French, German, and English. He lives in the Faroe Islands, Denmark.

The Flat Rabbit
Trade Cloth, Picture Book
US $16.95
Owlkids Books Fall 2014
Visit Owlkids Books here:
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In Toss the Gloss, you will learn . . .

w14_seal_tossthegloss_3dWhy the right cosmetics, not anti-aging skincare, will help you look your youthful best.

How to recognize the seduction of beauty-industry tactics designed to get you to spend more money than you need to.

Gimmick-free tips and easy-to-follow shortcuts to make the most of your features.

Take a look at Publishers Weekly review of Toss the Gloss from Seal Press

“In her first book, beauty industry executive Robinson (who has served as president of Tom Ford Beauty and Ralph Lauren Fragrances, chief marketing officer of Estée Lauder, and beauty editor at Vogue) uses her experience to debunk myths and offer a straightforward, insider’s perspective behind the often indecipherable potions and lotions in our medicine cabinets. Many of her tips, including when to throw out various makeup products like mascara (every three months) and cream blush (every six months), are useful for women of any age. Even though the book is targeted to readers over 50, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for younger women to purchase this book as a guide for how to make better use of their makeup. How many of us wished we understood how to read the claims and lingo on product packaging or decipher ingredients such as antioxidants, retinoids, and alpha hydroxy acids? Robinson clearly and efficiently explains it all, while providing the product advice and application tips (with a nine-step guide for applying lip liner) you would expect of a woman who has devoted her life to beauty. Full-color photos.”

Agent: Kristyn Keene, ICM
Publishers Weekly Reviewed on: 01/06/2014
Trade Cloth
US $24.00
ebook ISBN: 9781580054911
Seal Press Spring 20149781580054904_IL_2_ad70c9781580054904_IL_3_bd4d7
Andrea Q. Robinsons most outstanding luxury brands, including Ralph Lauren, Tom Ford, Prescriptives, Ultima II, Helena Rubenstein, Germaine Monteil, Alexandra de Markoff, and Bill Blass. She also served known makeup artists. Prior to her corporate positions, she was a magazine editor for Vogue, Mademoiselle, and Seventeen,back FiFi awards (the Oscars of the beauty Andrea has two children and lives in New York City. Find out more about Andrea at  (source:
Visit Seal Press here: 
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The King and the Magician

In this beautifully illustrated picture book, a powerful king learns about true friendship.

King believes he is the most powerful man in his kingdom; he demands the respect of his subjects, and as a result his subjects fear him.  One day the king learns of an old magician living in his Kingdom.  All the people love the old magician, and the king fears the magician’s power.  King wishes to rid the Kingdom of the magician and he hatches a plan tothe king and the magician kill the old man.  The king throws a grand party, and it is at this party where the old man is supposed to be killed.  The magician messes up the king’s plan when he tells the king that the two men will die on the same day.  The greedy king does not want to die, so he keeps the magician at the palace.  Overtime the animosity between King and the magician die, and they become the closest of friends.

Author Jorge Bucay and illustrator Gusti create a story of love and friendship.  They show, through the book and through the pictures, how hate can turn into love, and illustrate to young readers that love is stronger than hatred.





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One Family’s Journey and the Chinese American Dream
One Family’s Journey and the Chinese American Dream

Weaving history, journalism, and memoir, Eric Liu explores the parallel rise of China and the Chinese American, the means by which Chinese immigrants have excelled despite the constraints of racism and xenophobia, and how they are rewriting the American story.


“In this provocative book, Liu, once a speechwriter for President Bill Clinton, effortlessly connects his personal experience to larger historical and cultural trends… These elegant essays contain at their core a passionate, well-reasoned argument for the value of both cultures from which Chinese Americans come and an appreciation of the unique blend that results… Liu has created the go-to source for anyone interested in the place Chinese Americans have had, currently have, and are pursuing in the U.S.”—Booklist

“This is an eye-opening book that should be read by everyone. To top it off, it’s entertaining.”—Huntington News

“In this vigorous, sharp book, [Liu] examines his identity against the backdrop of both Chinese and American cultures…. An eloquent, thought-provoking and timely memoir.”—Kirkus Reviews

“A Chinaman’s Chance makes the personal political — and historical — in the most elegant possible way. Eric Liu’s memoir is intimate and also encompassing; it is of this 21st-century moment but also part of the centuries-long process of America reinventing itself by incorporating new Americans. It is an important and enjoyable addition to the literature of ethnic diversity, struggle, and success in the United States.”—James Fallows, The Atlantic

“Equal parts contemplative and provocative, lyrical and wonkish, A Chinaman’s Chance is a mesmerizing collage of childhood memories and contemporary reflections that compare and contrast China and America, and the Chinese and American Dreams. As he visits the place where the waters of his Chinese ancestral heritage and his American upbringing meet, what Liu finds is two worldviews that are at once decidedly different, and uncannily similar; what he finds, ultimately, is himself, and all of the rest of us whose Chinese American identity makes us the best of two worlds, yet belonging fully to neither.” — Jeff Yang, columnist, Wall Street Journal Online

Eric Liu will be taping an interview about A CHINAMAN’S CHANCE for NPR’s Morning Edition with Steve Inskeep on Friday, July 25th!



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Kirkus Reviews Painted Horses from Grove Press



A mid-1950s oater that wants to come over all cowboy and sensitive at the same time.

Catherine Lemay, the heroine of Brooks’ debut, is a young archaeologist who’s seen the aftermath of war poking around in the rubble of London. John H—she thinks it could stand for “horses,” but “hell raiser” is a reasonable candidate—rides the Western fence line, following the mustangs. He’s known war up close, a member of the last American horse cavalry unit to see combat, fighting the Germans in Italy. It stands to reason that, Montana being a small state and all, they’ll meet and become intertwined like two wind-blasted strands of barbed wire. When Mr. H funs, he funs, but when he and Catherine get serious, well….There’s plenty to be serious about apart from sad reflections on the war, for a dam is coming to the coulee in which the mustangs run, and both Catherine and John H have to make a stand: Do they serve progress, or do they fight for what’s real about the West? Brooks does a good job of plotting, following parallel stories that speak to that large question through characters who are more than just symbols—though they’re that, too. There’s some fine writing here, especially when it comes to horses and the material culture that surrounds them, and when it comes to Western landscapes, too, for Brooks knows that in good Western writing, the land is always a character. There’s also some overwriting, along the lines of “[s]he wanted Audrey Williams to keep talking, wanted to know her story too, the fragments and pieces and the buried mysteries, wanted the whole vicarious treasure of it.” A little of that goes a long way, especially when Brooks places himself inside Catherine’s head—and, from time to time, elsewhere in her body.

It’s a sight better than The Bridges of Madison County, but it’s a kindred project: Boy meets girl under open sky, boy kisses girl, girl emotes, and then it’s a whole new shooting match.

Review Posted Online: July 2nd, 2014
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2014

“Brooks’s debut captures the grandeur of the American West.”-Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

“Brooks delivers an authentic story, examining in gripping, page-turning prose what it means to live in the West. . . . An outstanding debut novel that will linger in the reader’s mind.”-Donna Bettencourt, Library Journal (Starred Review)

Trade Cloth
US $26.00 /  CAN $28.50
Grove Press Spring 2014
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