Penguin Story

Antoinette Portis's first picture book, Not a Box, was a stunning exploration of the imaginative world of early childhood. With a deft hand for sophisticated simplicity, Portis does it again with a graphic examination of the way color is central to our lives. The main character is Edna, a penguin. Edna, a torpedo-shaped form, bisected in black and white, placidly observes the colors that surround her. " 'White,' thinks Edna." As we join her gazing across an expanse of snow that reaches to the horizon a narrow band just inches from the top of the page. Short brushstrokes of white are tapped across the surface, indicating falling snow. The snowflakes subtly change shades, white on the gray sky transforming to a light gray and drifting to join the snow on the ground. Edna yearns for more colors as she observes the black of the night, then the blue of the sea and sky. She ventures forth on her quest for a hue that is not white, not black, and not blue. After a long expedition, she literally falls into a hill of safety orange. Edna embraces the glaring color and runs home as fast as she can to share her discovery. The community of penguins, following her lead, immediately begin the arduous journey over the frozen landscape. They finally arrive at the vivid arc of color that is the orange-clad Antarctic scientists' tent. Portis combines clean line with a limited palette, a very few words, and a deadpan sense of humor to create a surprisingly affecting tale of the quest for a world beyond our everyday experience.

April 24: "[The HST] lifted a curtain from our view of the universe, changing it so profoundly that no human can look at the stars in the same way..."

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.