Category Archives: Social Problems & Solutions

Normal Sucks

Normal Sucks

Henry Holt and Co.
Hardcover
256 pages • $26.00
ISBN: 9781250190161
ebook icon
audiobook icon

How to Live, Learn, and Thrive Outside the Lines

Jonathan Mooney

“As an accessible primer on reassessing disability and mental health, it’s invaluable, and as an exploration of what it’s like to grow up feeling different, it’s incredibly cathartic.”

—Vanity Fair

Growing up, it didn’t take long for Jonathan Mooney to figure out he was considered not normal. He was a neurodiverse kid diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD who didn’t learn to read until he was twelve, and trying to fit into the box of normalcy cost him his education, his sense of self, his friendships—and nearly his life. The realization that he wasn’t broken but the idea of normal was saved Mooney’s life. Framed as a letter to his own sons, Normal Sucks blends memoir, anecdote, and expertise to show us what happens to kids and adults who are trapped in environments that shame them and tell them, in both subtle and heartbreakingly blatant ways, that they are “not normal” and that they are the problem. Diving into the history of the concept, Mooney explores how people in power have used the term normal for centuries to keep diverse and outsider perspectives silent and compassionately investigates the lasting effects of shame, segregation, and oppression. But Mooney also offers hope—and a way forward—arguing that if we can reorient the ways in which we think about diversity and ability, if we can finally admit that “normal sucks,” then we can truly start a revolution. This inspiring book will move and empower us all to embrace and celebrate our differences.

Jonathan Mooney

© Chris Mueller

Jonathan Mooney’s work has been featured in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, USA Today, New York Magazine, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, HBO, NPR, and ABC News, and he continues to speak across the nation about neurological and physical diversity, inspiring those who live with differences and advocating for change. His books include The Short Bus and Learning Outside the Lines.

The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez

The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez

Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Hardcover
432 pages • $28.00
ISBN: 9780374191979
ebook icon
audiobook icon
Paperback Available in April 2020

A Border Story

Aaron Bobrow-Strain

The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez is an illuminating work of literature, not an ideological tract.”

—Michelle Goldberg, The New York Times Book Review

When Aida Hernandez was born in 1987 in Agua Prieta, Mexico, the nearby U.S. border was little more than a worn-down fence. Eight years later, Aida’s mother took her and her siblings to live in Douglas, Arizona. By then, the border had become one of the most heavily policed sites in America. Undocumented, Aida fought to make her way. She learned English, watched Friends, and, after having a baby at sixteen, dreamed of teaching dance and moving with her son to New York City. But life had other plans. Following a misstep that led to her deportation, Aida found herself in a Mexican city marked by violence, in a country that was not hers. To get back to the United States and reunite with her son, she embarked on a harrowing journey. The daughter of a rebel hero from the mountains of Chihuahua, Aida has a genius for survival—but returning to the United States was just the beginning of her quest. Taking us into detention centers, immigration courts, and the inner lives of Aida and other daring characters, The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez reveals the human consequences of militarizing what was once a more forgiving border. With emotional force and narrative suspense, Aaron Bobrow-Strain brings us into the heart of a violently unequal America. He also shows us that the heroes of our current immigration wars are less likely to be perfect paragons of virtue than complex, flawed human beings who deserve justice and empathy all the same.

Bobrow-Strain, Aaron by Hana Bobrow-Strain

© Hana Bobrow-Strain

Aaron Bobrow-Strain is a professor of politics at Whitman College, where he teaches courses dealing with food, immigration, and the U.S.-Mexico border. His writing has appeared in The Believer, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Salon, and Gastronomica. He is the author of White Bread and Intimate Enemies. In the 1990s, he worked on the U.S.-Mexico border as an activist and educator. He is a founding member of the Walla Walla Immigrant Rights Coalition in Washington State.

The Sun Does Shine

The Sun Does Shine

St. Martin’s Griffin
Paperback
272 pages • $17.99
ISBN: 9781250309471
ebook icon
audiobook icon

How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row

Anthony Ray Hinton with Lara Love Hardin

Foreword by Bryan Stevenson
Oprah’s Book Club Summer 2018 Selection
Finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize

“No one I have represented has inspired me more than Anthony Ray Hinton and I believe his compelling and unique story will similarly inspire our nation and readers all over the world.”

—Bryan Stevenson, New York Times bestselling author of    Just Mercy

In 1985, Anthony Ray Hinton was arrested and charged with two counts of capital murder in Alabama. Stunned, confused, and only twenty-nine years old, Hinton knew that it was a case of mistaken identity and believed that the truth would prove his innocence, and ultimately set him free. But with no money and a different system of justice for a poor black man in the South, Hinton was sentenced to death by electrocution. He spent his first three years on Death Row at Holman State Prison in agonizing silence—full of despair and anger toward all those who had sent an innocent man to his death. But as Hinton realized and accepted his fate, he resolved not only to survive, but to find a way to live on Death Row. For the next twenty-seven years he was a beacon—transforming not only his own spirit, but those of his fellow inmates, fifty-four of whom were executed mere feet from his cell. With the help of civil rights attorney and bestselling author of Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson, Hinton won his release in 2015. With a foreword by Stevenson, The Sun Does Shine is an extraordinary testament to the power of
hope sustained through the darkest times. Destined to be a classic memoir of wrongful imprisonment and freedom won, Hinton tells his dramatic thirty-year journey and shows how you can take away a man’s freedom, but you can’t take away his imagination, humor, or joy.

Anthony Hinton (c) Cody Love

© Cody Love

Anthony Ray Hinton spent nearly thirty years on death row for crimes he did not commit. Released in April 2015, Hinton now speaks widely on prison reform and the power of faith and forgiveness. He lives in Alabama.

The Sun Does Shine has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

Metropolitan State University of Denver; St. John’s University (NY)

Continue reading

Falter

Locking Up Our Own

Henry Holt and Co.
Paperback
304 pages • $17.00
ISBN: 9781250256850
ebook icon
audiobook icon

Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?

Bill McKibben

“He has gathered the most vivid statistics, distilled history to its juiciest turns, and made the case as urgently and clearly as can be: The whole breadth of our existence—the ‘human game’—is in jeopardy.”

The Washington Post

Bill McKibben’s groundbreaking book The End of Nature was the first book to alert us to global warming. But the danger is broader than that: even as climate change shrinks the space where our civilization can exist, new technologies like artificial intelligence and robotics threaten to bleach away the variety of human experience. Falter—“a fresh perspective with surprising examples and an engaging writing style” (Jared Diamond, The New York Times Book Review)—tells the story of these converging trends and of the ideological fervor that keeps us from bringing them under control. And then, drawing on McKibben’s experience in building 350.org, the first truly global citizens movement to combat climate change, it offers some possible ways out of the trap. We’re at a bleak moment in human history—and we’ll either confront that bleakness or watch the civilization our forebearers built slip away. Falter is a powerful and sobering call to arms, to save not only our planet but also our humanity.

Bill McKibben

© Nancie Battaglia

Bill McKibben is the founder of the environmental organization 350.org and was among the first to have warned of the dangers of global warming. He is the Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College, and the winner of the Gandhi Prize, the Thomas Merton Prize, and the Right Livelihood Prize. He is the author of fifteen books, including the bestsellers The End of Nature, Eaarth, and Deep Economy. He lives in Vermont.

Don’t Label Me

Don't Label Me

St. Martin’s Press
Hardcover
288 pages • $27.99
ISBN: 9781250157980
ebook icon
audiobook icon
Paperback available in March 2020

An Incredible Conversation for Divided Times

Irshad Manji

“Profound and nuanced . . . [A] jubilantly intelligent and quintessentially human and optimistic book, one that is fundamentally important in a dangerously polarized and divided time.”

The Toronto Star

 

In these United States, discord has hit emergency levels. Civility isn’t the reason to repair our caustic chasms. Diversity is. Don’t Label Me shows that America’s founding genius is diversity of thought, which is why social justice activists won’t win by labeling those who disagree with them. At a time when minorities are fast becoming the majority, a truly new America requires a new way to tribe out. Enter Irshad Manji and her dog, Lily. Raised to believe that dogs are evil, Manji overcame her fear of the “other” to adopt Lily. She got more than she bargained for. Defying her labels as an old, blind dog, Lily engages Manji in a taboo-busting conversation about identity, power, and politics. They’re feisty. They’re funny. And in working through their challenges to one another, they reveal how to open the hearts of opponents for the sake of enduring progress. Readers who crave concrete tips will be delighted. Studded with insights from epigenetics and epistemology, layered with the lessons of Bruce Lee, Ben Franklin, and Audre Lorde, punctuated with stories about Manji’s own experiences as a refugee from Africa, a Muslim immigrant to the U.S., and a professor of moral courage, Don’t Label Me makes diversity great again.

“Why do diversity initiatives so often fail or backfire? Because we’ve been doing diversity wrong. Irshad Manji shows us a different way to think about identity; one that is humble, loving, humane, and therefore likely to work for many more people. In a time of rising national polarization and distrust, Don’t Label Me is among the most important books for Americans to read now.”Jonathan Haidt, New York University Stern School of Business, co-author of The Coddling of the American Mind 

Irshad Manji

© Rene Clement

Irshad Manji is the founder of the award-winning Moral Courage Project at the University of Southern California and the author of The Trouble With Islam, translated into more than thirty languages and later adapted into the Emmy-nominated PBS film Faith Without Fear. Oprah Winfrey selected her as the first winner of the “Chutzpah” prize for boldness. Manji has lived and taught in Toronto, Vancouver, New York, and Los Angeles. She and her wife now reside in Hawaii with their four rescue dogs.

Continue reading

One Person, No Vote

One Person No Vote

Bloomsbury
Paperback
368 pages • $18.00
ISBN: 9781635571394
ebook icon

How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy 

Carol Anderson

Longlisted for the National Book Award
Foreword by Senator Dick Durbin

“Anderson’s prose is unflinching, and she wastes no time as she marches the reader from the openly racist, clear-cutting suppression tactics of the early 20th century toward the carefully veneered, ruthlessly efficient disenfranchisement campaign of the present.”

—NPR, Best Books of the Year

In her New York Times bestseller White Rage, Carol Anderson laid bare an insidious history of policies that have systematically impeded black progress in America, from 1865 to our combustible present. With One Person, No Vote, she chronicles a related history: the rollbacks to African American participation in the vote since the 2013 Supreme Court decision that eviscerated the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Known as the Shelby ruling, this decision effectively allowed districts with a demonstrated history of racial discrimination to change voting requirements without approval from the Department of Justice. Focusing on the aftermath of Shelby, Anderson follows the astonishing story of government-dictated racial discrimination unfolding before our very eyes as more and more states adopt voter suppression laws. In gripping, enlightening detail she explains how voter suppression works, from photo ID requirements to gerrymandering to poll closures. In a powerful new afterword, she examines the repercussions of the 2018 midterm elections. And with vivid characters, she explores the resistance: the organizing, activism, and court battles to restore the basic right to vote to all Americans.

Carol Anderson

© Dave Wetty, Cloud Prime Photography

Carol Anderson is the Charles Howard Candler Professor and Chair of African American Studies at Emory University. She is the author of many books, including White Rage and One Person, No Vote. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

White Rage

White Rage

Bloomsbury
Paperback
304 pages • $17.00
ISBN: 9781632864130
ebook icon

The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide

Carol Anderson

With a New Afterword by the Author
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award

“An extraordinarily timely and urgent call to confront the legacy of structural racism bequeathed by white anger and resentment, and to show its continuing threat to the promise of American democracy.”

The New York Times Book Review, Editor’s Choice

As Ferguson, Missouri, erupted in August 2014, and media commentators across the ideological spectrum referred to the angry response of African Americans as “black rage,” Carol Anderson wrote a remarkable op-ed in The Washington Post showing that this was, instead, “white rage at work.” Since 1865 and the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, every time African Americans have made advances towards full participation in our democracy, white reaction has fueled a deliberate and relentless rollback of their gains. The end of the Civil War and Reconstruction was greeted with the Black Codes and Jim Crow; the Supreme Court’s landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision was met with the shutting down of public schools throughout the South while taxpayer dollars financed segregated white private schools; the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 triggered a coded but powerful response, the so-called Southern Strategy and the War on Drugs that disenfranchised millions of African Americans while propelling presidents Nixon and Reagan into the White House. Anderson pulls back the veil that has long covered actions made in the name of protecting democracy, fiscal responsibility, or protection against fraud, rendering visible the long lineage of white rage. Compelling and dramatic in the unimpeachable history it relates, White Rage will add an important new dimension to the national conversation about race in America.

© Dave Wetty @ Cloud Prime Photography

Carol Anderson is professor of African American studies at Emory University. She is the author of many books and articles, including Bourgeois Radicals: The NAACP and the Struggle for Colonial Liberation, 1941-1960 and Eyes Off the Prize: The United Nations and the African American Struggle for Human Rights: 1944-1955. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

White Rage has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

The University of Northern Iowa