Although a work of fiction, A Promising Life by Emily Arnold McCully reads like nonfiction with its rich history of the early 1800s and its biographic-like details.  The novel tells the story of Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, born among explorers on the Lewis and Clark Expedition to Toussaint Charbonneau and Sakakawea.  Half French Canadian and half Shoshone, Baptiste is métis American, but he finds himself caught by social circumstances that don’t wholly accept him.  Called Pompey, or Pomp, which means “the promising one,” Baptiste is favored by William Clark, so when his parents leave him in Clark’s care and travel upriver from St. Louis to aRead More →

A good story takes you places. And with Taking Flight, a memoir by Michaela and Elaine DePrince, the reader journeys from war-torn Sierra Leone in West Africa to recital halls in New York City with Mabinty Bangura. With this memoir, readers learn something of West African culture. In a typical household in the Kenema District of southeastern Sierra Leone, marriages are arranged, polygamy is acceptable, domestic violence is permissible, women learn how to cook, clean, sew, and care for children, and a girl child is not a cause for celebration—especially not a girl child born with the skin condition vitiligo that causes a mottled pigmentationRead More →