8 Books Published by Agate Publishing on Our Site — Book Cover Mosaic

The Case of the Missing Hello House (A BeBe Barber Mystery)

by Denene Millner
Agate (Mar 17, 2020)
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BeBe Barber is a star—equal parts funny, outspoken, and drama queen—with a personality that, while (mostly) loved, can get her into a few jams. But when she turns on the charm for a prestigious movie director, she gets exactly what she’s always dreamed: a coveted part in a motion picture being filmed in her town—a role she’s sure will bring her the fame and celebrity she’s awaited for her entire 12 years on the planet. But when someone steals the Hello House, a coveted town fixture and the key prop in her big movie scene, both BeBe’s star turn and her big dreams are flung into peril. Bebe’s got to save the day—for her town’s sake. And her own.

The Case of the Missing Hello House (A BeBe Barber Mystery) initiates the first African American girl into the ranks of Nancy Drew–inspired kid sleuths, giving a nod to the iconic detective while introducing young readers to a high-energy, humorous, big-hearted character who brings a fresh take on culture and history into her fast-paced, clue-driven mysteries.


Click for more detail about Chicago Flashback: The People and Events That Shaped a City’s History by Chicago Tribune Staff Chicago Flashback: The People and Events That Shaped a City’s History

by Chicago Tribune Staff
Agate Midway (Nov 14, 2017)
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The devoted journalists at the Chicago Tribune have been reporting the city’s news for 170 years. As a result, the paper has amassed an inimitable, as-it-happened history of its hometown, a city first incorporated in 1837 that rapidly grew to become the third-largest city in the United States. Since 2011, the Chicago Tribune has been mining its vast archive of photos and stories for its weekly feature Chicago Flashback, which deals with the significant people and events that have shaped the city’s history and culture from the paper’s founding in 1847 to the present day.

Now the editors of the Tribune have carefully collected the best, most interesting Chicago Flashback features into a single coffee-table volume. Each story is accompanied by at least one black-and-white image from the paper’s fabled photo vault located deep below Michigan Avenue’s famed Tribune Tower. Chicago Flashback offers readers a unique perspective on the city’s long and colorful history.


Click for more detail about The Chicago Tribune Book of the Chicago Bulls: A Decade-by-Decade History by Chicago Tribune Staff The Chicago Tribune Book of the Chicago Bulls: A Decade-by-Decade History

by Chicago Tribune Staff
Agate Midway (Nov 15, 2016)
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The Chicago Bulls, one of the NBA’s most storied and valuable franchises, have been building their highly decorated legacy for five decades now. To this day, the Bulls are one of the most popular teams the world over. Travelers abroad will find that the team’s reputation precedes them: Chicagoans who were once greeted by sneers about Al Capone now hear cheers for Bulls legend Michael Jordan. Six championships, the league’s best-ever single-season record, and perhaps the greatest player of all time will do that, and Bulls fans wouldn’t have it any other way.

Published to commemorate the team’s 50th anniversary, The Chicago Tribune Book of the Chicago Bulls is a decade-by-decade look at the pride of Chicago’s West Side. This beautiful coffee-table volume documents every era in the team’s history through original reporting, in-depth analysis, interviews, archival photos, comprehensive timelines, rankings of top players by position, and other features. Profiles on key coaches, Hall of Famers, and MVPs provide an entertaining, blow-by-blow look at the team’s greatest successes and most dramatic moments.

From the beginning, the Bulls have set records. They are still the only NBA expansion team to make the playoffs in their inaugural season, which they did in 1966–67 with the best record ever for a first-year team. Led by Chicago legend Johnny “Red” Kerr, these athletes set the foundation for the team’s winning culture. The 70s saw the Bulls trot out a host of talented and hard-nosed players, such as Bob Love, Chet Walker, Norm Van Lier, Jerry Sloan, and Artis Gilmore, winning popularity among the city’s blue-collared fans.

The Bulls soared to new heights after drafting Michael Jordan third overall in the 1984 draft. Once joined by fellow Hall of Famers Scottie Pippen and coach Phil Jackson, Jordan and the Bulls overcame their arch-nemesis in the “Bad Boy” Detroit Pistons and won two sets of three consecutive championships in the 90s. The new millennium saw repeated attempts to reignite the magic of the Jordan-era Bulls, but soon a new identity emerged of tough, hardworking team players reminiscent of the Bulls’ earlier years. Since the start of their fifth decade, the Bulls have consistently been one of the top teams in the league and are hungry to hang another championship banner from the rafters of 1901 West Madison Street.

A first-of-its-kind collectors item, The Chicago Tribune Book of the Chicago Bulls is a gorgeous and comprehensive tour through basketball history produced by the award-winning Chicago Tribune journalists who have been documenting their home team since the beginning.


Click for more detail about Freshwater Road by Denise Nicholas Freshwater Road

by Denise Nicholas
Agate (Apr 12, 2016)
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From award-winning actress Denise Nicholas: a ten-year anniversary reissue of her powerful and dramatic coming of age story set in Mississippi during the Freedom Summer of 1964. Freshwater Road has been called one of the best novels written about the Civil Rights Movement. Nicholas herself has been praised repeatedly over the years for her beautiful prose and is continually mentioned along with Alice Walker and Ernest J. Gaines as the most important novelists documenting this era.

When University of Michigan sophomore Celeste Tyree travels to Mississippi to volunteer her efforts in Freedom Summer, she’s assigned to help register voters in the small town of Pineyville, a place best known for a notorious lynching that occurred only a few years earlier. As the long, hot summer unfolds, Celeste befriends several members of the community, but there are also those who are threatened by her and the change that her presence in the South represents. Finding inner strength as she helps lift the veil of oppression and learns valuable lessons about race, social change, and violence, Celeste prepares her adult students for their showdown with the county registrar. All the while, she struggles with loneliness, a worried father in Detroit, and her burgeoning feelings for Ed Jolivette, a young man also in Mississippi for the summer.

By summer’s end, Celeste learns there are no easy answers to the questions that preoccupy her—about violence and nonviolence, about race, identity, and color, and about the strength of love and family bonds. In Freshwater Road, Denise Nicholas has created an unforgettable story that—more than ten years after first appearing in print—continues to be one of the most cherished works of Civil Rights fiction.


Click for more detail about Ramblers: Loyola Chicago 1963 — The Team that Changed the Color of College Basketball

 by Michael Lenehan Ramblers: Loyola Chicago 1963 — The Team that Changed the Color of College Basketball

by Michael Lenehan
Agate Midway (Mar 12, 2013)
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Today basketball is played ?above the rim” by athletes of all backgrounds and colors. But 50 years ago it was a floor-bound game, and the opportunities it offered for African-Americans were severely limited.

A key turning point was 1963, when the Loyola Ramblers of Chicago took the NCAA men’s basketball title from Cincinnati, the two-time defending champions. It was one of Chicago’s most memorable sports victories, but Ramblers reveals it was also a game for the history books because of the transgressive lineups fielded by both teams.

Ramblers is an entertaining, detail-rich look back at the unlikely circumstances that led to Loyola’s historic championship and the stories of two Loyola opponents: Cincinnati and Mississippi State. Michael Lenehan’s narrative masterfully intertwines these stories in dramatic fashion, culminating with the tournament’s final game, a come-from-behind overtime upset that featured two buzzer-beating shots.

While on the surface this is a book about basketball, it goes deeper to illuminate how sport in America both typifies and drives change in the broader culture. The stark social realities of the times are brought vividly to life in Lenehan’s telling, illustrating the challenges faced in teams’ efforts simply to play their game against the worthiest opponents.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Where Did Our Love Go: Love and Relationships in the African-American Community by Gil Robertson Where Did Our Love Go: Love and Relationships in the African-American Community

by Gil Robertson
Bolden Books (Feb 12, 2013)
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Where Did Our Love Go?, an anthology of essays written by many major public figures and celebrities, will explore the substantive issues related to marital problem in the African-American community. From the "my baby's mama" syndrome to the more serious implications of what a generation of single-parent households will mean to future generations, this comprehensive collection will provide an in-depth discourse on the trends and issues that have caused the problematic behaviors within African-American relationships to persist with little sign of relief. The book will consist of a total of 40 essays divided equally into 4 lifestyle categories (single, married, divorced, and widowed), to present a wide cross section of perspectives on this subject.

Marriage plays an essential role in maintaining the vitality and character of a community, so it is deeply unsettling for many African Americans to find that the value of this institution has lost its allure. While marriage among African Americans has always fallen below the average of other population segments, the gap today has grown so pronounced that the subject has sparked an intense national dialogue.

A 2006 Washington Post article, “Is Marriage for White People,” created waves of controversy on the issue. In 2010, Nightline dedicated an entire broadcast to this growing crisis. The marriage gap in Black America has become such an open secret that it’s now the source of endless bad jokes and prime time reality shows. The statistics even back this up, as according to the U.S. Census, 43.3% of black men and 41.9% of black women in America have never been married, and the rate of decline is nearly twice the national average.

Marriage is a rite of passage that is fundamental to every culture, which underscores the tremendous need for an active dialogue to take place that will lay a foundation for discovery. With essays from 50 Cent, Viola Davis, Jabari Asim, Darnell Williams, Faith Evans, Mara Brock Akil, and more, Where Did Our Love Go? will ignite the fight for that conversation to begin.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Freeman by Leonard Pitts Jr. Freeman

by Leonard Pitts Jr.
Bolden Books (May 08, 2012)
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Freeman, the new novel by Leonard Pitts, Jr., takes place in the first few months following the Confederate surrender and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Upon learning of Lee's surrender, Sam--a runaway slave who once worked for the Union Army--decides to leave his safe haven in Philadelphia and set out on foot to return to the war-torn South. What compels him on this almost-suicidal course is the desire to find his wife, the mother of his only child, whom he and their son left behind 15 years earlier on the Mississippi farm to which they all "belonged."

At the same time, Sam's wife, Tilda, is being forced to walk at gunpoint with her owner and two of his other slaves from the charred remains of his Mississippi farm into Arkansas, in search of an undefined place that would still respect his entitlements as slave-owner and Confederate officer.

The book's third main character, Prudence, is a fearless, headstrong white woman of means who leaves her Boston home for Buford, Mississippi, to start a school for the former bondsmen, and thus honor her father’s dying wish.

At bottom, Freeman is a love story--sweeping, generous, brutal, compassionate, patient--about the feelings people were determined to honor, despite the enormous constraints of the times. It is this aspect of the book that should ensure it a strong, vocal, core audience of African-American women, who will help propel its likely critical acclaim to a wider audience. At the same time, this book addresses several themes that are still hotly debated today, some 145 years after the official end of the Civil War. Like Cold Mountain, Freeman illuminates the times and places it describes from a fresh perspective, with stunning results. It has the potential to become a classic addition to the literature dealing with this period. Few other novels so powerfully capture the pathos and possibility of the era particularly as it reflects the ordeal of the black slaves grappling with the promise--and the terror--of their new status as free men and women.


Click for more detail about The Real Lives of Strong Black Women: Transcending Myths, Reclaiming Joy by Toby Thompkins The Real Lives of Strong Black Women: Transcending Myths, Reclaiming Joy

by Toby Thompkins
Agate (Oct 22, 2004)
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In this warm, sensitive and straightforward self-help guide for African American women, Toby Thompkins explores the triumphs, struggles and lessons necessary to transcend the stereotypes and overcome the consequences of being a “strong black woman.” Culled from interviews with both black women and black men from all walks of life, the personal stories Thompkins uses to illustrate his ideas and communicate his healing message illustrate the costs involved in measuring up to this archetypal image, one of the most powerful and enduring in American society.

In reality, as Thompkins demonstrates, despite the almost universal respect and deference afforded the strong black women ideal, it can be more limiting than it is empowering. Too often, women of color feel compelled to become “chronic caregivers,” sacrificing their ability to become truly free and fulfilled individuals-at great emotional and physical cost. Through the wisdom culled from the stories of these different women's experiences and his own compassionate, insightful analysis, Thompkins makes the case for the need to supplant the myth of the strong black woman, particularly so that women can better understand and respond to their urgent need to care for themselves. He offers effective strategies by which women of any color can reclaim themselves and create lives characterized by new dimensions of fulfillment, love and joy.

Toby Thompkins has spent 20 years working for and consulting with Fortune 100 companies on leadership, leveraging human capital and managing success. In addition, he works as a life coach and professional speaker on the topics of personal growth, relationships, and cultural and social healing. He was formerly a columnist for the self-help magazine Miracle Journeys and has conducted self-help workshops in several major cities with The Whole Life Expo. He lives in New York City.




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