An articulate, buoyant, and often humorous account involving family life and globe-trotting adventures.




In this debut memoir, an author combines the recorded recollections of her mother with her own travel experiences while developing promotions for DreamWorks Animation.

Newton’s father, Don, was an oil driller. In 1956, he worked for the Iraq Petroleum Company, a consortium of major oil concerns from the Netherlands, France, Britain, and the United States. He was stationed in a huge base camp located outside Kirkuk in the northeastern corner of Iraq. In late December of that year, his wife, Lorraine, and their four young daughters left their home in Lakewood, California, and joined him in Iraq, where they remained until February 1962. Despite the unrest that swirled around the Middle East, the Newton family was beginning a great odyssey. Every two years, Don was entitled to a four-week home leave, which presented an opportunity for the family to enjoy some European exploration on the way back to California. Of the four girls, Newton spent the longest time in Iraq. Her older sisters were eventually placed in boarding schools in England. For Lorraine, these five-plus years were the experience of a lifetime; for Newton, who was only 3 years old when the family relocated to Iraq, they set the stage for a future filled with worldwide travel. Except for some introductory material, each chapter of the memoir begins with transcripts of Lorraine’s recordings, followed by specific and engaging anecdotes from the author’s personal journeys that trigger memories of her mother and childhood. The occasionally repetitive chapters end with Newton finding a church or sometimes a beach, where she lights a candle in gratitude to her mother for giving her different gifts that have helped her navigate her life: “I thanked her for teaching me to see people as good and kind, for indeed most are.” Certainly, the most intriguing sections of the joyful book are those detailing the Newton’s singular lives within a protected, multinational enclave in the Iraqi desert, and the behind-the-scenes glimpses into the DreamWorks retail promotional endeavors.

An articulate, buoyant, and often humorous account involving family life and globe-trotting adventures.

Pub Date: April 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-73217-321-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: 4 Ridge Road Company, LLC

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2018

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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