THE RINEHART FRAMES
In his intriguing debut book of poems, Zambian American poet Cheswayo Mphanza ’16 attempts to link the Black diasporic community by way of ekphrasis through the juxtaposition of Ralph Ellison’s character Rinehart in Invisible Man and Abbas Kiarostami’s posthumous last film, 24 Frames. The Rinehart Frames, which won the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets, weaves through the mental images created by visual art, film, and literature to observe and absorb the experience of Blackness throughout humanity’s disturbing past and present. It intersects various histories spanning artists, scholars, and writers from Japan, India, Zambia, Senegal, the DRC, and different islands of the Caribbean. Mphanza writes, “Essentially, the book is concerned with the ontological and epistemological frameworks in which Blackness is seen or not seen.” His inventive and profound poems achieve his ends brilliantly.
WHY WE COOK
In Why We Cook: Women on Food, Identity, and Connection, artist and first-time author Lindsay Gardner Hine ’03 brings together stories, essays, kitchen profiles, interviews, and more, featuring 112 women restaurateurs, food producers, activists, writers, professional chefs, and home cooks—all of whom are dedicated not only to their craft, but to changing the world of food. Like many well-researched books, this one began with the author’s questions, such as why is cooking inspirational and nourishing, especially to those who identify as women? Determined to hear the stories of the women shaping the culinary world of today, she started interviewing women chefs, food writers, and others and has put together their inspiring words with her beautiful art in a celebration of women’s culinary contributions and achievements. Not only does she reveal the power of food to produce unity but also to further justice and equity.
LOST ONE STANDING
Hector Hill ’91 has published his first young adult novel and it’s a thriller. Introducing his main character, Cade Dixon, age 17, Hill puts him in the middle of a hostage situation in a fancy New England prep school and sets him up as the reluctant hero who has the knowledge needed to combat the criminals who have taken over the school. With a love for physics, chemistry, psychology, mixed martial arts, and literature, Cade uses these resources to begin to fight the hostage situation. He’s joined by Kira, who he has a crush on, and their budding relationship lends moments of humor and sweetness to the otherwise fast-paced, nonstop action. With crisp, clear writing that works well to reflect the terse circumstances, Hill has created a page-turning novel that teens and adults alike will enjoy, as well as memorable characters that readers will be happy to follow in the upcoming series.
THE TREE IN ME
Once again, Corinna Luyken ’00 has produced a beautifully illustrated, thought-provoking picture book for young readers. The author of the popular My Heart and The Book of Mistakes, Luyken finds themes that resonate with her audience and couches them in simple language and exquisite art. In The Tree in Me, she likens all that is good about trees and nature with all that is possible within a child and shows children that they can be strong and flexible and connected to others. The natural affinity young people have for nature makes this idea relevant and easily assimilated. While the language is spare and rhythmic, the illustrations are full of the energy and playfulness of children and exude a joyfulness that will be caught up by the young readers who dive into the story.