"My son asked me if I had made my peace with God. I told him I didn’t know She and I had had a fight!"--Gil Lopez
This is the story of Gil Lopez, an African-American activist and peacemaker, and his last years of spirited living, healing, and dying within a multi-cultural community of friends. Gil died as he lived: with courage and imagination, with moxie and music—and with his buddies. This is a radical musical of a book, political and spiritual, funny and poignant, with a great cast of characters, a great love story, and Gil’s voice singing throughout in his sweet tenor.
This book is for anyone looking for a way to face death with heart, for any community wanting to support a dying friend, and for all those who grieve and hope to give meaning to their suffering. And this is a book about how to face life with heart,how to live big, as Gil lived.
From the introduction:
If you can envision a radical contemporary Jesus, big-bellied and brown, who loved dancing and football, and was surrounded by women instead of men disciples, then you can begin to picture Gil Lopez. Gil was spiritually larger than life, one of the Big Souls who show the way. He was a natural leader, a man who evolved from a black radical defending his people to a wise peacemaker among all peoples, a man with a royal presence and an inherent nobility of character. And yet he was completely earthy and unpretentious, always ready to laugh at himself and the world, always eager to learn from others and to cheer them on in his broad Boston accent. I have never met a man so utterly without personal vanity or a sense of self-importance and yet so filled with self-confidence about his larger mission.
Gil had a saintly quality of selfless dedication, and yet he was also endearingly human. We couldn’t have stood him otherwise. Gil was a big bear of a man, and he could be as cuddly as a teddy or as powerful as a grizzly. He told great dirty jokes. His room was a mess. He danced on the tables! His hugs were Olympian. Both kingly and comforting, he reminded me of the fuzzy purple African violets he raised so tenderly. He was Our Funny Valentine, the most loving and loveable man I have ever known.
Gil wanted to leave a message to the world. It was a message he lived all his life, and especially in his last years of healing and dying. The message is that with community you can do anything. Being with Gil in community as he lived into dying was a transforming experience for all of us; sorrow and suffering that is consciously shared can become almost a blessing. I think Gil would want me to add that I need to let folks know that if you are with your buddies, you can even have a wonderful time while you’re dying! The experiences of Gil’s last days also gave a clear message to me and others who were close at the bedside that death is merely the doorway to new spiritual adventures.
Gil lived big and he died big, and all our souls got bigger as we made the last journey with our Big Soul Buddy. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Gil was a great man because he made you feel that you were great, and made you want to do great things.
See the Gil Lopez Community Website at gillopez.net for photographs, information about the three documentaries in which Gil was featured, and new stories of the lives and work of Gil’s buddies.
Growing up, Gaby Rodriguez was often told she would end up a teen mom. After all, her mother and her older sisters had gotten pregnant as teenagers; from an outsider’s perspective, it was practically a family tradition. Gaby had ambitions that didn’t include teen motherhood. But she wondered: how would she be treated if she “lived down” to others’ expectations? Would everyone ignore the years she put into being a good student and see her as just another pregnant teen statistic with no future? These questions sparked Gaby’s high school senior project: faking her own pregnancy to see how her family, friends, and community would react. What she learned changed her life forever—and made international headlines in the process.
In The Pregnancy Project, Gaby details how she was able to fake her own pregnancy—hiding the truth from even her siblings and boyfriend’s parents—and reveals all that she learned from the experience. But more than that, Gaby’s story is about fighting stereotypes, and how one girl found the strength to come out from the shadow of low expectations to forge a bright future for herself.
When I was younger, I never dreamed I would be where I am today. Because of each and every one of you, I’ve gotten to record original songs, share music videos with you online, and sell out shows across the country (where I get to sing along with all of you, which is my favorite part!). I am so grateful for all of the opportunities I’ve been given, and if I know anything, it’s that my journey is only beginning.
Even though I’ve gotten to experience so many fun and amazing things, I’m still just a regular person, like you—which is why I wrote this book. I want to share with you all of the ups and downs this crazy, incredible life has blessed me with: from growing up in Atlanta, Georgia, to recording my first song, to bonding with my siblings, to finding success on YouTube, to figuring out who I truly am and who I want to become, to meeting you guys—my amazing fans—at every show. So to my B-Family, thank you for wanting to read my story. I hope you’ll ride this roller coaster with me!
When Shyima Hall was eight years old, her impoverished parents sold her to pay a debt. Two years later, the wealthy family she was sold to moved to Orange County, California, and smuggled her with them. Shyima served the family eighteen hours a day, seven days a week until she was twelve. That’s when an anonymous call from a neighbor brought about the end of Shyima’s servitude—but her journey to true freedom was far from over.
A volunteer at her local police department since she was a teenager, Shyima is passionate about helping to rescue others who are in bondage. Now a US citizen, she regularly speaks out about human trafficking and intends to one day become an immigration officer. In Hidden Girl, Shyima “commands unfailing interest, sympathy, and respect” (Publishers Weekly), candidly reveals how she overcame her harrowing circumstances, and brings vital awareness to a timely and relevant topic.
From his own life, of course! As full of excitement and the unexpected as his world-famous, best-selling books, Roald Dahl's tales of his own childhood are completely fascinating and fiendishly funny. Did you know that Roald Dahl nearly lost his nose in a car accident? Or that he was once a chocolate candy tester for Cadbury's? Have you heard about his involvement in the Great Mouse Plot of 1924? If not, you don’t yet know all there is to know about Roald Dahl. Sure to captivate and delight you, the boyhood antics of this master storyteller are not to be missed!
From the Trade Paperback edition.
• called Nickelodeon studios when she was four years old to try to get a role on the show All That?
• performed in a Broadway musical as a young teen?
• is often compared to superstar Mariah Carey?
Want to know more about this talented star? Read on to learn all about Ariana's life before stardom as well as her rise to fame, breakthrough performances, passions, and more!
My Life in Dog Years is a book for every dog lover and every Paulsen fan--a perfect combination that shows vividly the joy and wisdom that come from growing up with man's best friend.
From the Hardcover edition.
Gary Paulsen, three-time Newbery Honor author, is no stranger to adventure. He has flown off the back of a dogsled and down a frozen waterfall to near disaster, and waited for a giant bear to seal his fate with one slap of a claw. He has led a team of sled dogs toward the Alaskan Mountain Range in an Iditarod -- the grueling, 1,180-mile dogsled race -- hallucinating from lack of sleep, but he determined to finish.
Here, in vivid detail, Paulsen recounts several of the remarkable experiences that shaped his life and inspired his award-winning writing.
These are just a few of the words used to describe the talents of LeBron James. He was a sensation in his early days playing AAU ball in Akron, Ohio-and continued to amaze through his four years as a high school phenomenon. Now going into his fifth year as a star of the Cleveland Cavaliers, he is touted as the best player in basketball today. And for good reason: his dunks are monstrous, his no-look passes are things of beauty, his three-pointers seem effortless. But even more importantly, he is that one-of-a-kind superstar whose main goal isn't to rack up the stats-it's to make his team better.
• had a close encounter with a shark while snorkeling?
• acted in about twenty national commercials?
• is the front man in the band R5, in which he plays with three of his siblings and his best friend?
Want to know more about this talented star? Read on to learn all about Ross's life before stardom, breakthrough performances, passions, upcoming projects, and more!
It's 1966, and twelve-year-old Ji-li Jiang has everything a girl could want: brains, popularity, and a bright future in Communist China. But it's also the year that China's leader, Mao Ze-dong, launches the Cultural Revolution—and Ji-li's world begins to fall apart. Over the next few years, people who were once her friends and neighbors turn on her and her family, forcing them to live in constant terror of arrest. And when Ji-li's father is finally imprisoned, she faces the most difficult dilemma of her life.
Written in an accessible and engaging style, this page-turning autobiography will appeal to readers of all ages, and it includes a detailed glossary and a pronunciation guide.
Warriors Don't Cry, drawn from Melba Beals's personal diaries, is a riveting true account of her junior year at Central High—one filled with telephone threats, brigades of attacking mothers, rogue police, fireball and acid-throwing attacks, economic blackmail, and, finally, a price upon Melba's head. With the help of her English-teacher mother; her eight fellow warriors; and her gun-toting, Bible-and-Shakespeare-loving grandmother, Melba survived. And, incredibly, from a year that would hold no sweet-sixteen parties or school plays, Melba Beals emerged with indestructible faith, courage, strength, and hope.
Breathtaking, evocative illustrations by award-winning artist Loren Long at once capture the personalities and achievements of these great Americans and the innocence and promise of childhood.
This beautiful book celebrates the characteristics that unite all Americans, from our nation’s founders to generations to come. It is about the potential within each of us to pursue our dreams and forge our own paths. It is a treasure to cherish with your family forever.
From the Hardcover edition.
• got her start on the small screen playing Angela on the kids' TV show Barney & Friends?
• was bullied in school and now works hard as a spokesperson to try to put an end to bullying?
• has overcome incredible personal challenges to become the successful star she is today?
Want to know more about the life of this amazing artist? Read on to learn all about Demi's family, friendships, love life, struggles and triumphs, future plans, and more!
• Skyped randomly with fans even after becoming famous?
• went on tour with Taylor Swift and even had a food fight with her?
• had to be homeschooled because he got too much attention at school?
Want to know more about this talented star? Read on to learn all about Austin's life before stardom, breakthrough moments, passions, upcoming projects, and more!
• bakes an awesome apple pie?
• joined forces with Hunger Games costar Liam Hemsworth to jokingly support “Team Haymitch”?
• felt a deeper connection with the character of Peeta than with any other role he's played?
Want to know more about the life of this talented celebrity? Read on to learn all about Josh's childhood, family, past projects, pet peeves, future plans, and more!
• got her big break in show business playing Gianna on Barney & Friends?
• was named after Latina singer Selena Quintanilla-Pérez?
• thought she'd blown her screen test with the Disney Channel—only to be offered the chance to become a major Disney star?
Want to know more about the life of this talented celebrity? Read on to learn all about Selena's childhood, career, best friends, boyfriends, favorite things, and more!
• the stars didn't know each other before getting their big break on The X Factor with Simon Cowell?
• the band needed 100 security guards for its first performance in Dallas, Texas?
• one of the band members has a fear of spoons?
Want to know more about the group's singers—Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, and Louis Tomlinson? Read on to learn all about 1D's amazing rise to fame!
From the Trade Paperback edition.
• is a pastor's kid times two? Both her mom and dad are pastors who encouraged her to sing in church.
• was dropped by two recording labels before she finally got her big break with Capitol Records?
• exercises by jumping rope before every single show?
Want to know more about the life of this talented celebrity? Read on to learn all about Katy's childhood, career, favorite things, love life, future goals, and more!
The life of Queen Elizabeth I was dramatic and dangerous: cast out of her father?s court at the age of three and imprisoned at nineteen, Elizabeth was crowned queen in 1558, when she was only twenty-five. A tough, intelligent woman who spoke five languages, Elizabeth ruled for over forty years and led England through one of its most prosperous periods in history. Over 80 illustrations bring ?Gloriana? and her court to life.
• didn't know one other until they met on the TV show?
• had one fan chase their tour bus for two hundred blocks?
• has the highest-charting debut album for a British girl group in America?
Want to know more about this talented pop group? Read on to learn all about Little Mix's life before stardom, breakthrough performances, passions, upcoming projects, and more!
Ashley Rhodes-Courter spent a harrowing nine years of her life in fourteen different foster homes. Her memoir, Three Little Words, captivated audiences everywhere and went on to become a New York Times bestseller as well as a movie produced by the team who brought you Twilight. Now Ashley reveals the nuances of life after foster care: College and its assorted hijinks, including meeting “the one.” Marriage, which began with a beautiful wedding on a boat that was almost hijacked (literally) by some biological family members. Having kids—from fostering children and the heartbreak of watching them return to destructive environments, to the miraculous joy of blending biological and adopted offspring.
Whether she’s overcoming self-image issues, responding to calls for her to run for Senate, or dealing with continuing drama from her biological family, Ashley Rhodes-Courter never fails to impress or inspire with her authentic voice and uplifting message.
• used to help out on her family’s Christmas tree farm by pulling bugs off the trees? Yuck!
• won a national poetry contest in fourth grade with her poem “Monster in My Closet”?
• thought of the melody for her hit song “Tim McGraw” in her ninth-grade math class and sang it into her phone in the school bathroom so she wouldn't forget it?
Want to know more about the life of this talented celebrity? Read on to learn all about Taylor's childhood, family, career, boyfriends, favorite things, and more!
This is a book about me.
Unfortunately, I didn't write it--my mom did. WTF!
Let me tell you now that 98% of it is total lies. Actually, I'm pretty sure this book is illegal. So if you've bought it, you've basically supported a criminal. How does that feel?
I think she's getting me back for my first day in this world when I may have tried to kill her. She won't not be able to mention that. You might also find out about my first day at school, why my head is so massive, how I've always been a hit with the ladies and other things like that.
You know, important stuff.
Anyway, I found the book at the printer and you'll see I've corrected some of her most outrageous lies.
So, you know, enjoy. Just remember only the bits that make me look good are true . . .
In 1995, on a four-hour-delayed train from Manchester to London, J. K. Rowling conceived of the idea of a boy wizard named Harry Potter. Upon arriving in London, she began immediately writing the first book in the saga. Rowling's true-life, rags-to-riches story is as compelling as the world of Hogwarts that she created. This biography details not only Rowling's life and her love of literature but the story behind the creation of a modern classic.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
In the spring of 1942 Hannelore received a letter from Mama at her school in Berlin, Germany--Papa had been arrested and taken to a concentration camp. Six weeks later he was sent home; ashes in an urn.
Soon another letter arrived. "The Gestapo has notified your brothers and me that we are to be deported to the East--whatever that means." Hannelore knew: labor camps, starvation, beatings...How could Mama and her two younger brothers bear that? She made a decision: She would go home and be deported with her family. Despite the horrors she faced in eight labor and concentration camps, Hannelore met and fell in love with a Polish POW named Dick Hillman.
Oskar Schindler was their one hope to survive. Schindler had a plan to take eleven hundred Jews to the safety of his new factory in Czechoslovakia. Incredibly both she and Dick were added to his list. But survival was not that simple. Weeks later Hannelore found herself, alone, outside the gates of Auschwitz, pushed toward the smoking crematoria.
I Will Plant You a Lilac Tree is the remarkable true story of one young woman's nightmarish coming-of-age. But it is also a story about the surprising possibilities for hope and love in one of history's most brutal times.
Read about the little girl who struggled to find herself and became one of the most famous and beloved women in history.
• is real-life BFFs with her costar, Zendaya?
• had no dancing experience before her audition for Shake It Up?
• speaks out against bullying and volunteers at soup kitchens and animal humane societies in her spare time?
Want to know more about the life of this awesome celeb? Read on to learn all about Bella's family, love life, passion for animals, future plans, up-and-coming album, and more!
• was born and raised in Australia and learned her American accent by watching TV?
• loves playing the guitar and writing music?
• prefers low-key jeans and sneakers to glamorous outfits?
Want to know more about this talented star? Read on to learn all about Maia's life before stardom, rise to fame, breakthrough roles, passions, and more!
• grew up on a Kentucky horse farm?
•had to learn to skin a squirrel for her role in Winter's Bone? (Eeeew!)
• read all three Hunger Games books in four days—before she even knew she'd be playing Katniss?
Want to know more about the life of this talented celebrity? Read on to learn all about Jen's childhood, family, rise to stardom, likes and dislikes, romantic life, and more!
When Russian soldiers liberate Grafenort, the Nazi labor camp where she is a prisoner, nineteen-year-old Riva discovers that liberation doesn't mean the end of her hardship and suffering.
Cold and starving, threatened with rape by the same Russian soldiers who were her saviors, Riva makes her way to her old home in Poland, searching like so many others for family who may have survived. Strengthened by her mother's credo, as long as there is life, there is hope, and by the promise of a new love and a new life, Riva endures the long years of waiting for real freedom and a real home.
Picking up where her acclaimed memoir The Cage leaves off, Ruth Minsky Sender has written another inspirational document of the power of hope and love over unspeakable cruelty.
Celebrating 50 years of a beloved classic!
Nothing's surprising in the North household, not even Sterling's new pet raccoon. Rascal is only a baby when Sterling brings him home, but soon the two are best friends, doing everything together--until the spring day when everything suddenly changes.
Rascal is a heartwarming boyhood memoir that continues to find its way into the hearts of readers fifty years later. This special anniversary edition includes the book's classic illustrations restored to their original splendor, as well as a letter from the author's daughter, and material from the illustrator's personal collection.
"Everyone should knock off work, sit beneath the nearest tree, and enjoy Rascal from cover to cover."—Chicago Tribune
From the Trade Paperback edition.
From the Hardcover edition.
• danced in a hip-hop group when she was eight years old?
• was the youngest contestant ever on Dancing with the Stars—and she earned second place?
• hopes to have her own fashion line someday?
Want to know more about this talented star? Read on to learn all about Zendaya's life before stardom, rise to fame, breakthrough roles, passions, and more!
• was very poor and slept on a couch instead of a bed when he was growing up?
• has a random love of Band-Aids and wears them just for kicks?
• is a huge prankster and once tried to trick Selena Gomez by pretending to be her stylist?
Want to know more about the life of this talented celebrity? Read on to learn all about Justin's childhood, career, quirks, love life, likes and dislikes, and more!
Fearless or fearful, rich or poor, scrawny or brawny, popular or picked on, everyday heroes just make a simple choice. That's the secret they choose to put others first. Sound like anything you've heard before? Perhaps something like "In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you" (Matthew 7:12, NASB).
Yeah, that's it. Spoken by a true hero.