Essential reading for those who parent or nurture Black children or anyone who wants to better understand race in America.

DO RIGHT BY ME

LEARNING TO RAISE BLACK CHILDREN IN WHITE SPACES

A timely and in-depth parenting guide for White parents of Black children.

The authors, longtime friends and colleagues, aim to “orient parents and other community members to the ways race and racism will affect a Black child’s life, and despite that, how to raise and nurture healthy and happy children.” Harrison is Black, and D’Angelo and her husband are the White adoptive parents of a child whose biological mother is White and whose biological father is Black. The book grew out of the authors’ ongoing conversations about race and D’Angelo’s efforts to equip her son with the perspectives he needs to thrive. White parents, write the authors, must understand systemic racism, culture, identity, privilege, White supremacy and how their Black children will navigate the world in ways that they do not have to. To “protect, nurture, educate, affirm, encourage and advocate for every child,” love isn’t enough. Talking about racism can be tough, but the authors present hard truths with aplomb, taking a deep dive into a range of topics, including positive racial identity, foundational research on transracial adoption, how racism impacts Black people’s health, racial inequity in education, and the persistent threat of violence against Black people. Ultimately, the authors call on parents and others to make specific commitments to create change within their communities and “dramatically change the social, political, and cultural system.” Harrison and D'Angelo write with an urgency and hopefulness that make progress both a mandate and something within reach. Their voices alternate throughout the text in candid and intimate conversations with each other, the reader, and the larger culture. Alongside their personal stories and real-life challenges, they present statistics and contextual history, which makes for a highly informative and compelling narrative.

Essential reading for those who parent or nurture Black children or anyone who wants to better understand race in America.

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4399-1995-8

Page Count: 194

Publisher: Temple Univ. Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020

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The benefits and headaches of later-life motherhood from a candid, often hilarious comedic mind.

THE WORLD DESERVES MY CHILDREN

A comedian offers a humorous assessment of parenting.

Leggero’s journey into motherhood began when she froze her eggs at age 38 while still single, thinking “maybe one day I might want a kid, in the same way I thought I might eventually want an infinity hot tub.” When she was 42, happily married and eager to be a mother, she and her husband began what she describes as a vigorous (and ultimately successful) in-vitro fertilization process. The author also recounts her life’s journey. She was an overachieving child who grew up with “an overwhelmed single mother” in Rockford, Illinois, and she studied theater in college. She shares amusing anecdotes about taking acting classes with a not-yet-famous Paris Hilton and ascending the ranks of the Hollywood improv comedy circuit. Leggero gets real about the more difficult aspects of motherhood, including the evaporation of free time (“the end to all fun”), child discipline, anxiety, and “cleaning up after my husband.” Nonetheless, she wouldn’t change a thing, and her daughter has become a “new reason to live.” Many aspects of her motherhood journey will resonate with a wide variety of readers, including breastfeeding and pandemic-era parenting, though she satirically skewers just about everything else with gleeful abandon. As one would expect from a former Chelsea Lately guest panelist (73 appearances), Leggero’s snark comes fast and furious throughout biting quips about nannies and the terror of having her elderly parents babysit. Occasionally, the humor feels forced—e.g., when she is mockingly critical of her husband, dubbing his Judaism as “the religion my husband forced me to convert to,” though she ultimately concedes he was “worth giving up Christmas for.” Leggero also straightforwardly addresses her reasons for not wanting another child, and overall, she achieves a commendable balance among practical advice, wry commentary, and over-the-top offensiveness.

The benefits and headaches of later-life motherhood from a candid, often hilarious comedic mind.

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-982137-07-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2022

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A sweet-and-sour set of pieces on loss, absurdity, and places they intersect.

HAPPY-GO-LUCKY

Sedaris remains stubbornly irreverent even in the face of pandemic lockdowns and social upheaval.

In his previous collection of original essays, Calypso (2018), the author was unusually downbeat, fixated on aging and the deaths of his mother and sister. There’s bad news in this book, too—most notably, the death of his problematic and seemingly indestructible father at 96—but Sedaris generally carries himself more lightly. On a trip to a gun range, he’s puzzled by boxer shorts with a holster feature, which he wishes were called “gunderpants.” He plays along with nursing-home staffers who, hearing a funnyman named David is on the premises, think he’s Dave Chappelle. He’s bemused by his sister Amy’s landing a new apartment to escape her territorial pet rabbit. On tour, he collects sheaves of off-color jokes and tales of sexual self-gratification gone wrong. His relationship with his partner, Hugh, remains contentious, but it’s mellowing. (“After thirty years, sleeping is the new having sex.”) Even more serious stuff rolls off him. Of Covid-19, he writes that “more than eight hundred thousand people have died to date, and I didn’t get to choose a one of them.” The author’s support of Black Lives Matter is tempered by his interest in the earnest conscientiousness of organizers ensuring everyone is fed and hydrated. (He refers to one such person as a “snacktivist.”) Such impolitic material, though, puts serious essays in sharper, more powerful relief. He recalls fending off the flirtations of a 12-year-old boy in France, frustrated by the language barrier and other factors that kept him from supporting a young gay man. His father’s death unlocks a crushing piece about dad’s inappropriate, sexualizing treatment of his children. For years—chronicled in many books—Sedaris labored to elude his father’s criticism. Even in death, though, it proves hard to escape or laugh off.

A sweet-and-sour set of pieces on loss, absurdity, and places they intersect.

Pub Date: May 31, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-39245-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

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