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February 28th 2013 – eNewsletter Highlights

Our monthly eNewsletter contains information about books and films by or about people of African descent. eNewsletter - February 28th 2013 - #199

Authors You Should Know (Children’s Book Authors)

Sharon FlakeSharon Flake

Flake is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, with a degree in English. She is also an bestselling author.

Flake’s first novel The Skin I’m In won the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award and tells the story of Seventh-grader Maleeka Madison is miserable when a new teacher comes to her depressed inner-city school. Miss Saunders evidently is rich, self-assured in spite of the white birthmark across her black skin, and prone to getting into kids’ faces about both their behavior and their academic potential.

Fiction Book Reviews

Pick the Next Novel We ReviewPick the Next Book We Review

While we have a few novels queued up for our March 2013 eNewsletter, there were none reviewed for this issue. Thanks to our subscribers we are able to guarantee at least one of the following novels, to be published in May, will be reviewed for our April 2013 eNewsletter.

You may also recommend a novel of your choice. If we get 20 or more new eNewsletter subscribers this month, I will pick one of your suggested novels to review as well.

Complete our one question survey to help choose which of the following six books we will review next .

Nonfiction Book Reviews

Where Did Our Love Go: Love and Relationships in the African-American Community Where Did Our Love Go: Love and Relationships in the African-American Community Edited by Gil L. Robertson IV

The shocking statistics indicate that over 40% of black men and women are choosing to remain unmarried, and that about a quarter of the brothers tying the knot are picking partners of another ethnicity. And when you factor in the 75% African-American illegitimacy rate, the black community’s long-term prospects aren’t exactly brilliant.

Overall, Where Did Our Love Go? proves to be a most informative and entertaining read, at least in terms of the individual contributors’ intimate experiences. I can’t say that the diversity of personal opinions contained on the pages allows one to draw a conclusion about where African-American culture is headed but I don’t think anybody’s expecting the black community to share a monolithic mindset anymore anyway.


quvenzhane-wallis-newsOscar Recap: Argo Wins Best Picture While Life of Pi Lands the Most Awards by Kam Williams

Much of the pre-Oscar buzz had been about Seth MacFarlane’s hosting the Oscars, and how his irreverent brand of humor would be received by the crowd. Although he didn’t take many potshots at Hollywood royalty, his monologue, performances and banter did reflect a disappointing coarsening of the culture.

In a skit inspired by Denzel Washington’s film Flight, he had a black, hand puppet drinking alcohol and snorting coke. Then there was his shockingly-pedophilic sexualizing of 9 year-old Best Actress nominee Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) by speculating about when she’d be too old to date George Clooney. And he made light of domestic abuse when he suggested that Chris Brown and Rihanna considered Django Unchained a date movie because it was about a man trying to get back a woman who’s been subjected to unspeakable violence.

Film Reviews

War Witch filmWar Witch

Komona’s (Rachel Mwanza) life was irreversibly altered at the tender age of 12 when rebel forces led by the Great Tiger (Mizinga Mwinga) rampaged through her tiny African village. The unfortunate girl was forced at gunpoint to kill her own parents (Starlette Mathata and Alex Herabo) before being abducted and brainwashed into joining the cause.

The picture is cleverly constructed as a series of vivid flashbacks narrated by Komona directly addressing the unborn baby growing in her belly. While the plucky protagonist easily earns our admiration for maintaining her sanity in the midst of the madness, there is still something slightly unsettling about a production so matter-of-fact about the endless atrocities providing the backdrop for such a touching front story.


Book Events Across the CountryVisit the Homepage to Learn More About Book Events, Including;

  • Queens Spring Book Fair, April 20, Jamaica, NY
  • 1st Annual Bronx Literary Festival, May 18, Bronx, NY
  • Baltimore Urban Book Festival, July 14, Baltimore., MD
  • The QBR Wheatley Book Awards, July 19, Harlem, NY
  • The 15th Harlem Book Fair, July 20, Harlem, NY
  • National Book Club Conference, Aug 2-4, Atlanta, GA
  • Charlotte Book Fair, Oct 5, Charlotte , NC
  • National Black Book Festival, Oct 24-26, Houston, TX

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Troy Johnson



Troy D. Johnson is the President, founder and webmaster of, LLC (The African American Literature Book Club). Launched in March of 1998, has grown to become the largest and most frequently visited website dedicated to books and films by and about people of African descent.