A murder in Toronto and the dark side of the Asian immigrant dream – South China Morning Post

A Daughter’s Deadly Deception
by Jeremy Grimaldi

In 2010, a young Canadian woman named Jennifer Pan hired hitmen to fake a break-in at her family home and shoot her parents.

Her father, Huei Hann, saved himself by dragging his bleeding body onto the front lawn. Her mother, Bich Ha, died on the spot, but not before begging for her daughter to be spared. Little did she know that Jennifer was sitting upstairs, listening to the screams as the crime she had masterminded unfolded.

Many readers who pick up A Daughter’s Deadly Deception, by Canadian journalist Jeremy Grimaldi, will be aware of the high-profile case on which the book is based. News of the murder sent shockwaves across Canada and the Asian diaspora, in large part because the assault seemed so unlikely. The crime took place in the comfortable Toronto suburb of Markham, which has a large Asian population. The victims were hardworking ethnic Chinese immigrants from Vietnam, relaxing at home on a quiet Monday night.

Tragedy of Toronto’s murderous ‘golden child’ Jennifer Pan resonates with Asian immigrants

The main suspect turned out to be their polite, bespectacled, 24-year-old daughter – an accomplished student, athlete and musician who blamed her mental breakdown on years of extreme parental pressure.

The story stayed in the news throughout years of police investigations and the trial that followed. Last year, Pan, her ex-boyfriend, Daniel Wong, and two accomplices were sentenced to life in prison; a fifth conspirator was sentenced on a lesser charge.

Grimaldi, a court reporter who covered the case, takes a closer look at the crime in this almost 350-page book. With the culprits long since jailed, this is a psychological thriller that is not so much a whodunnit as a how-done-it and why-done-it. What possible motive could Pan have had?

Grimaldi begins with a vivid snapshot of the crime. Pan’s father was sleeping after a long day at work and her mother, wearing her pyjamas, was soaking her feet in a tub when three men rushed into the home brandishing guns. The couple shouted out in English and Cantonese before being dragged to the basement and shot.

Some of Grimaldi’s best writing comes in his description of the police questioning of Pan. He used transcripts, video footage and photo stills to recreate the hours she spent in a window­less interrogation room, at times hunched over sobbing, at others curled in a fetal position. Grimaldi explains the psychological techniques used by the veteran detectives, and it is here the reader learns of the pressures that brought about Pan’s derangement.

Like many Asian children, Pan was expected to maintain a strict schedule that often kept her up until midnight. A talented musician and athlete, she was told she could be a concert pianist or even compete in the Olympics as a figure skater. Make-up, dating and school dances were forbidden.

As a ninth grader, she used art supplies to doctor her maths and science results. It was a child’s white lie. But as time passed the web of deception she wove became ever more tangled until, too terrified to admit she had failed senior-year calculus, Pan secretly dropped out of high school. On what was to be her first day at uni­versity, she left home with the new laptop her parents had proudly presented her with and sat for the day in a public library.

The tragic irony of Pan’s tale is that, while not an Olympian or maths whiz, she shouldn’t have been on the path to delinquency, either. She had been a decent student with a high-school boy­friend, a job at a pizza parlour, a younger brother she loved and dreams of becoming a music teacher.

Nevertheless, she spent years paying professional forgers so that she could pretend she had graduated from university and was working as a pharmacist.

When her parents eventually discovered her lies, they cut her off from her long-term boyfriend and confiscated her money and phone. Aged 24, Pan was given a 9pm curfew. Having already shown signs of depression and self-harm, with this final blow, she broke down and plotted her revenge.

The police tracked down Pan’s hired hitmen to Rexdale, another Toronto suburb with large minority and immigrant populations.

Grimaldi uses Rexdale to put Pan’s crime into the context of greater Toronto, a multicultural city of almost five million people. Markham has many families like the Pans, living in McMansions and driving luxury cars. Thirty-five kilometres away in Rexdale other immigrants live in poverty, surrounded by crime. There is the unspoken assumption that, had it been a poor black couple shot in Rexdale, the crime would not have garnered anything like as much attention.

Pan’s accomplices were Jamaican Lenford Crawford; David Mylvaganam, born in Montreal to a Sri Lankan father and a Jamaican mother; and Eric Carty, a drug dealer who would be convicted of another murder. The crime they committed was heinous but the temptation is to cast all those involved as villains: the downtrodden daughter, the greedy thugs and the overbearing parents.

Perhaps it is the Canadian in Grimaldi that makes him look for a sympathetic side to every character. He does not excuse the inexcusable but he does seek out motivations. Deadly Deception might not be Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, but this thorough exploration of what leads seemingly decent people to horrific actions is no tawdry crime paperback, either.

News of the murder provoked hand-wringing in Asian communities worldwide, not least because “dragon” parenting was blamed in part for Pan’s actions.

Like many Hongkongers, I was aware of disturbing parts of my own culture being played out in the Pan family’s drama. Raised in Canada and America as the child of immigrants, I found Hann and Bich Ha’s approach extreme but not un­com­mon for parents intent on giving the next generation a good start. The pressure put on children can be enormous, but so are the struggles faced by their parents in a new country.

Grimaldi, a white Canadian, does his best to illuminate both sides. He has certainly done his homework, citing Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and essays such as Candice Chung’s Why Chinese Parents Don’t Say I Love You.

In the end it is the story of the father, the book’s most sympathetic character, that resonates most.

Hann arrived in Canada aged 26 as a refugee and “boat person”, with little money and next to no English. He rose each day at 5am and worked overtime in a factory to pay for his children’s education. He and his wife for years delayed a trip to Vietnam, waiting first for their children to graduate from university.

We later see Hann in a courtroom as an ageing widower recovering from a gunshot wound to the head, testifying through a translator against the daughter who betrayed him.

One of the family’s requests to the court was that Jennifer not be allowed to contact them. For the next two decades, she is legally barred from saying one word to her father and brother. Not even to apologise.


Jamaican-born NY teacher Cecil Wright pens book on immigration, ’21 Days to Freedom’ – News 12 Bronx (registration)

THE BRONX – A Jamaican-born New Yorker and teacher is writing a book about the stories of immigrants who attempted to achieve the American Dream.

Cecil Wright is also sharing his own immigration story in a new book that aims to shed light on the motivations of people who come to the United States.

It’s called “21 Days to Freedom” and also features stories of people he met while being detained by immigration authorities.

“I was a brilliant young man growing up in my country, but I knew if I wanted to be successful I had to have the opportunities to go to college,”  Wright says.

Because he couldn’t go to school in his native country, he emigrated to Canada and crossed the United States border in the trunk of a car.

“I thought it was going to be 15 minutes, it ended up being about an hour and half,” Wright says. “I almost passed out. I don’t remember everything after a while.”

He woke up in Detroit, took a Greyhound bus to the Bronx and settled in Edenwald. He took on multiple jobs and worked his way through college.

“I was selling carpet vacuum cleaners. I was cleaning people’s houses. And I also drove a cab in the Bronx to pay for school,” he says.

Years later, he says he was detained my immigration authorities and held for 21 days before being granted residency.

Then he went on to earn a doctorate degree. Now he says he helps guide immigrant students with similar stories.

“People need to know the immigrant story, and that America is the greatest country in the world to live,” Wright says.

Georgia Tech’s Mario West talks about his new book – Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)

Mario West dreamed of becoming a professional basketball player.

After a standout career at Georgia Tech from 2003-07, that dream eventually was realized as he played for numerous teams, including the Hawks, and in numerous countries from 2007-15.

His next dream is to become a coach. He’s working on that as the director of player development for coach Josh Pastner at Tech.

In between those dreams, West set a goal to become an author.

His first book, Defend the Dream, has been published and can be purchased on his website, http://www.mariowest.com/.

West will have a book signing at the Barnes & Noble at Technology Square from 2-4 p.m. Sunday.

He took a few minutes on Thursday to discuss the inspiration for his book and what he hopes people will get from it. Questions and answers have been edited and/or paraphrased for clarity.

Q: Why did you decide to write a book?

A: The reason I wrote a book is first of all, when I think about my life and what I’ve been able to accomplish, God has done so much for me.

Mario West.

Mario West.

It was a dream of mine to share my story.

Two years ago, I was playing in Argentina and I tore my Achilles tendon. I was in agonizing pain and different things were going through my head: “I have to rehab for eight months. What am I going to do?”

God spoke to me: “You need to work on this book and share your story.”

Took two years to complete the book.

I want to encourage others. We’ve all had a dream. I want people to know that they can overcome any challenge in life that they may come across while trying to achieve their dream, whether its playing in the NBA, being a scientist, singer or dancer.

But there’s a process that follows.

Young people, we have this vision or idea, especially if they are good, that it’s going to be an easy route or straight path.

This book is to help young people achieve their dream and fulfill their greatest potential.

Q: Was writing something that you had ever considered?

A: When I achieved my first dream of playing in the NBA at 22 I was in total amazement. I was humbled. At that point, I said I would love to write a book one day to share my story. Looking back, I’ve come so far and now I’m in the NBA.

I had been putting it off. With my Achilles torn, God was like don’t put this off anymore.

For me, it was like, my dream since I was 7 to play in the NBA.

My passion became greater than the game.

Once I tapped into that God wants more, I realized that I can do more. He gave me all of this so that I can do more.

It goes hand in hand with my position here at Georgia Tech.

Q: Did you have an idea how to write a book?

A: No, I didn’t.

I had a co-author, Shakyna Bolden. She’s a childhood friend.

I shared with her. She encouraged me to share my story. She previously worked as an editor at Essence magazine.

People throughout my life have told me to share my story, but never to the point of saying you should write a book and share your story.

Q: What’s the biggest takeaway from you book?

A: The biggest takeaway: I would caution every reader that this isn’t a basketball book. It’s more a book about different trials and tribulations that you will face in everyday life.

I break it down into four quarters like in the game of basketball.

If you don’t start the game of life or the race to pursue your dream the way you want to, how are you able to recover? How are you able to get through the process to the fourth quarter to put yourself in the best position to achieve your dream?

Do you have humility? Do you have discipline? Do you have passion, faith and determination? These are all different lessons that you need to achieve your dream.

In addition, I have a workbook outlined that helps you answer those questions.

How will you respond to certain obstacles and things that will happen every day?

The main thing to understand is that there’s a process that follows with pursuing your dream.

There can’t be any self-entitlement. You have to work for it. There are so many factors that tie into achieving your dream. If you stick to the playbook, your chances will increase.

Q: Who are your favorite authors?

A: I love motivational books. This book will also inspire. I love books written by Joel Osteen, T.D. Jakes. I read the book by Chris Gardner, The Pursuit of Happyess. I love that book.

I’ve read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

I’ve read David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell.

So many books have inspired me.

My thing is we all have a story.

Though I believe my story is still being written.

Writing a book was another of my dreams.

Now I’m actively pursuing another dream, which is to be a coach.

You just have to have the faith, discipline and determination to pursue your dream, despite what others think, despite the adversity or obstacles that you may face.

‘Shark Tank’ investor Daymond John reveals the book he’s read 20 times – CNBC

Hill was inspired to write the book by a challenge set forth by the business magnate Andrew Carnegie to analyze the paths to fortune by more than 500 wealthy businessmen, including the Henry Ford and John D. Rockefeller, and document their paths to success.

The secret is fearless, all-consuming determination and faith in yourself, a message that would sound hopeful to a kid from Queens with low funds and big dreams.

“If the thing you wish to do is right, and you believe in it, go ahead and do it! Put your dream across, and never mind what ‘they’ say if you meet with temporary defeat, for ‘they,’ perhaps, do not know that EVERY FAILURE BRINGS WITH IT THE SEED OF AN EQUIVALENT SUCCESS,” writes Hill.

Wells author and festival chairman Simon Loveday dies after achieving dream of publishing book – Somerset Live

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An author has died less than a week after telling an audience how his 12-year project to publish a book had ended in success.

Simon Loveday spoke about his newly published work at Wells Literary Festival on October 23. He was a former chairman of the festival.

Mr Loveday, who was from Wells, spent 12 years writing his book The Bible for Grown-ups and, after a little help from Times columnist Matthew Parris, saw it published this August.

His wife Sheena said he died at the weekend after a short battle with cancer.

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Mrs Loveday said: “It was a proud moment for him to speak about his own book at the festival.

“It was a really exciting year. He managed to find a publisher for his book in August, which was around the same time as he was diagnosed with cancer.

“He was quite frail by the time he spoke but was in good spirits when he spoke to a packed audience in the marquee at the festival. They gave him, and the book, a lovely welcome.

“He will be really missed by a lot of people.”

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Mr Loveday said last December he felt like “the luckiest person alive” after his book was featured by Matthew Parris in The Times.

He spent 12 years writing the book and completed it in April 2015 but struggled to find anyone to publish it.

He then asked Mr Parris if he could help by reading a preview section and to give an endorsement.

Rather than a mere endorsement, Mr Loveday’s hard work was recognised in a column titled “A Christmas Wish”, where he said his wish that year was for Mr Loveday to get a publisher.

The Wells writer was approached by a number of publishers and the book was finally published in August this year.

Mrs Loveday said: “The book is doing really well and the publishers are on their second run already.

“He was a rather old fashioned gentleman. The letters I am receiving say how he was a very courteous and gentle man. He was always very positive and optimistic.

“He had a love of all things to do with words. It is a wonderful legacy to leave a book that has done so well. It was a long time in the writing because of all the research and other things in life that tend to get in the way.”

Mr Loveday had a daughter and two step-children. He also had five grandchildren.

His funeral will be held at Wells Cathedral at 2.30pm on Thursday, November 10.

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Imagine you worked in a bookstore. What’s the one book you’d recommend? – Minnesota Public Radio News

  1. Listen

    Thread Question: If you worked in a bookstore, what’s the one title you’d recommend to readers?

You wake up and your dream has come true: You work in a bookstore. You get to recommend your favorite books all day long.

So what book do you pick? If you could recommend just one book to an eager customer, what would it be?

MPR News’ Kerri Miller, Stephanie Curtis and Tracy Mumford shared their personal picks, and listeners added their own must-reads.

Play bookseller for a day

“Commonwealth” by Ann Patchett

“It’s a sprawling family story with step-kids and blended families and at first I thought: I want the experience of being able to understand two members of the family. Don’t give me eight members of the family. But by the end of it, I felt like she’d woven their lives together so seamlessly. It felt authentic, it wasn’t tied up in neat little bows. I believed the way these family members interacted, the way their lives touched and pulled apart. It’s the work of someone who is just a master at what she’s doing.” -Kerri Miller

“Little Money Street: In Search of Gypsies and Their Music in the South of France” by Fernanda Eberstadt

“[Eberstadt] moved to the south of France … and she happened to settle near a Gypsy family, and at first she was very put off by them and they were very put off by her. Gradually, she becomes part of the family and they become friends. It’s a really funny and insightful exploration of how different people choose to live their lives. A breath of fresh air — and not long either.” -Stephanie Curtis

“The Vegetarian” by Han Kang

“The book was just published in the U.S. this February; it was originally published in South Korea almost a decade ago. It is an eerie, bizarre mind trip of a book. It’s about a young woman who starts to have unsettling dreams that drive her to stop eating meat. These dreams morph into hallucinations and she starts to believe life would be better as a plant. The book is told from the point of view of her husband, her brother-in-law and her sister, as they’re observing her descent into madness. You never get into her head, which makes her escalating behavior all the more puzzling and fascinating. It won the Man Booker International Prize this year and should not be missed.” -Tracy Mumford

“The House Made of Dawn” by N. Scott Momaday

“I think it tells a story that is perhaps the single-most overlooked, neglected cultural aspect of our country. It’s the story of a Native man … and him coming back from serving in war, and trying to fit back into two completely separate realities of existence.” – Loren, Duluth

“Soldier Boys”

“It’s a great read. I give it to all the teenage boys in my life. It’s set in World War II: One boy is growing up in the U.S., one boy is growing up in Germany, and it’s about how they get pulled into the war, what their perspectives are and how they come out in the end.” -Rikki, Roseville

“Braiding Sweetgrass” by Robin Wall Kimmerer

“It is just a great perspective. She is Native American and she talks about our relationship with nature and how we become disconnected from it … This book is just a great reconnection for those of us who have become detached from our surroundings.” -Jacqueline, South Dakota

Tommy Hilfiger on building his brand and realizing his dream – CBS News

In the world of American fashion, there are names that stand out as icons, like Tommy Hilfiger. The upstart designer took the world by storm more than 30 years ago. Now he’s out with a new memoir, “American Dreamer: My Life in Fashion & Business.”

Hilfiger reveals how, with no formal training, he helped grow a brand loved by celebrities. It has about $6.5 billion in global sales.

Hilfiger’s dreams began in the small New York town of Elmira where he grew up the second of nine children in a working-class family.

“I had a dream to build a brand. Build my own brand,” he said.

To him, building a brand meant creating a lasting image and products.

“It would mean that there were products behind the name that were credible, authentic, accessible, affordable and cool,” Hilfiger told “CBS This Morning.” 

“And wholesome. Americana. Red, white and blue. How did you come up with red, white and blue?” asked co-host Gayle King.

“Well, I knew I needed a logo, so I looked at Nike’s swoosh and when Phil Knight took the name Nike off the swoosh, I thought, ‘This is what I want to do someday. I want my flag to be so known that eventually I can take my name off it and people would recognize it,’” he said. 


“CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King visits designer Tommy Hilfiger’s Connecticut home. 

CBS News

Long before Hilfiger was a brand, he was a store owner. He began People’s Place in high school, bringing hippie fashions to upstate New York, while he learned important lessons in commerce.

“I had an early bankruptcy with the business before I was 25. And that gave me my MBA — taught me how to focus on the business part of the business,” Hilfiger said.

“When you first started, you weren’t necessarily embraced and praised in the fashion industry,” King said.

“Well, we ran an ad campaign devised by a genius by the name of George Louis,” Hilfiger said. “And it compared me to the other great American designers and I was completely unknown. So when that ad ran, people looked at me and said, ‘Who does he think he is?’”

“Because you’re comparing yourself, in this ad, to Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein,” King said.

“But George Louis had the idea that he would make the name famous overnight and then the audience would come to look, to see, to shop and buy. And it worked!” Hilfiger said.

“So when did you have the moment when you realized, ‘OK, I am good at what I do’?” King asked. 

“Very recently,” Hilfiger said.
“Get out of here, Tommy!” King said.

“No, it took me a long time,” Hilfiger replied. “Because I like to look at myself or our business as being the underdog because it makes us work harder, be more motivated, be more aware of the competition around and what’s going on, and it drives us.”  

In 1994, Snoop Dogg wore Tommy Hilfiger shirt on “Saturday Night Live.”

“What did that do for your brand?” King asked.

“It lit the whole street fashion on fire,” Hilfiger said.

“Like immediately,” King said.

“Immediately. I mean, Snoop was performing on SNL, and Monday morning in Bloomingdales, it was selling out,” Hilfiger said.

Just like that, Hilfiger was the hottest thing in hip hop — until rumors circulated claiming that Hilfiger had said his clothes weren’t made for minorities.

“It turned out to be a very vicious rumor, Tommy, and you write in the book that it hurt your heart and it hurt your integrity,” King said.

“It really did. Because at the end of the day, your integrity is all you have. And I didn’t want the public to think that I was that type of person. … Oprah was kind enough to call me up and say, ‘You’ve got to come on the show. Let’s squash the rumor,’” Hilfiger said.

Oprah called it a “big, fat lie.”

“In the book you say you believe you know who’s behind it, but you don’t share who that is,” King said.

“I believe it’s someone who was jealous of our success,” Hilfiger said.

“Have you ever confronted the person who you think is behind it?”

“No. I want to move on and I want to focus on doing the best I can do with my philanthropy, with our brand. With being a great family man.”

Hilfiger has seven children and says being dad is job number one. It’s a role especially important to him after a difficult relationship with his own father. He said he looks back and thanks his dad for “raising the bar.”

“He wanted me to be the best. And at the time, I didn’t realize it,” Hilfiger said, choking up. “Excuse me. You know, I thought he was being too tough on me. But maybe the reason I’m successful today is because I wanted to prove to him that I could be all that he wanted me to be.”
“You say that when you filed for bankruptcy, one of the hardest things was telling your dad that it didn’t work out,” King said.

“Yeah, it was a tough day,” Hilfiger said. “But as a positive thinker, I pulled up my boot straps and I said, ‘I’m going to start over and I’m going to realize my dream.’ Which is happening today.”

Woman fulfills childhood dream of writing book – Rising Sun Chatsworth

Elaine Pillay shows off her book.

Inspired from a young age to one day see her name on a book, former Isipingo resident, Elaine Pillay fulfilled her childhood dream of becoming an author and having her first book entitled, ‘Zwai and the Little Creature’ published.

Pillay, who currently resides in Johannesburg, had always dreamed of becoming an author, but her father had insisted that she get a ‘real’ job as he felt she needed to take care of herself. So she also studied to become a teacher, but her passion for writing never faded.

“I studied teaching as I thought the holidays would help me pursue my dream and afford me the time to write, however I relocated to Johannesburg as I had obtained a job as an English teacher. The passion for writing never subsided and I was inspired when I was teaching at a school for underprivileged children and noticed there were so few African fantasy storiee, that id when I began writing my first book.

“My book is about a boy who lives in a rural area with his grandparents. He meets a magical creature that nobody else can see. Out of fear, the villagers banish him from the village and he is sent back to his mother. On the journey to his mother he goes on an African Adventure where he meets magical African creatures. It is an exciting book for all to read. When I write I escape to another world which is filled with excitement and happiness and I want the readers to feel that they too are on a magical journey,” she added.

Pillay is also an avid reader, with James Patterson being her favourite author. She also enjoys reading books by Robin Sharma and Dr Demartini.

Pillay said in order to be an author you need to be patient as getting published could take years, disciplined as writing requires a lot of personal sacrifices, have faith in yourself because many times people around you may not have faith in you and never say die attitude as it’s the only thing that will keep you going.

“Never give up no matter what your circumstances. If you have the will to do something, you will find a way. Also never be discouraged by rejections from publishing companies, If a publisher won’t publish your book then self-publish.”

The dynamic woman who hopes to become a full time writer in future also enjoys reading, gardening, cooking, window shopping as well as spending ime wither husband and two dogs in her spare time. If you would like to get to know Elaine Pillay, contact her on twitter @ela_writes or facebook as Elaine Pillay Stevens.


Mike Portnoy Didn’t Want New The Neal Morse Band Album To Be … – BLABBERMOUTH.NET

Metal Wani editor in chief Owais “Vitek” Nabi recently conducted an interview with drummer Mike Portnoy (THE WINERY DOGS, METAL ALLEGIANCE, THE NEAL MORSE BAND, DREAM THEATER). You can now listen to the chat below.

Asked about possible comparisons between THE NEAL MORSE BAND‘s new concept album, “The Similitude Of A Dream”, and DREAM THEATER‘s latest effort, “The Astonishing”, Mike said: “I have to admit I was really resistant to do a double album [with THE NEAL MORSE BAND], because I was afraid of the inevitable comparisons to DREAM THEATER‘s latest album. Once they [DREAM THEATER] put out a double concept album, I was really resistant and reluctant for us to do it. And I fought the guys [from THE NEAL MORSE BAND] hard in the studio while making this record, desperately trying to keep it to a single [album], just because I could already picture the comparisons and I just didn’t wanna go down that road and I didn’t wanna be compared and I didn’t want anybody to think that we were stealing the idea from them, which is obviously not the case. So I was really fighting those guys. But halfway through the record and the writing, we knew it had to be a double; I finally just gave up fighting and let the album be what it needed to be. And at first I was so scared and hesitant of the comparisons, but now I kind of want it to be compared, because I’m so proud of it. I really feel we came up with such a special album that I no longer really worry about that comparison. I think what we came up with is absolutely the best of the best, so I’m proud of it and think it can stand up to anything.”
“The Similitude Of A Dream” will be released on November 11 on Radiant Records via Metal Blade Records/Sony. Clocking in at over a hundred minutes, the effort was described by Neal Morse as “loosely and sometimes directly based on the book ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ by John Bunyan. The book’s original title was ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress’ from this world to the that which is to come, delivered under the similitude of a dream, and it was originally published in 1678. The book chronicles the spiritual journey of a man from the City of Destruction to the place of Deliverance. Someone had suggested to me that I do a concept album based on this book, but I kind of forgot about it. Then when I began writing new songs last December, the suggestion came to my mind. I had never read the book, so I Googled the SparkNotes story outline and began to write some little song bits and instrumentals based on what I had read. Those bits combined with the ideas that the other guys brought to the table then miraculously exploded into this double concept album.”
Portnoy, who co-founded DREAM THEATER more than thirty years ago, abruptly quit the band in September 2010 while on tour with AVENGED SEVENFOLD. He has since been replaced by Mike Mangini (ANNIHILATOR, EXTREME, JAMES LABRIE, STEVE VAI). Portnoy later revealed that he tried to rejoin DREAM THEATER, only to be rebuffed.



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BOOKS TO BORROW, BOOKS TO BUY: Books contain dreams, courage for the future – Wicked Local Carver

We all have things we worry about. We all yearn for acceptance and have to learn how to accept others. We all have to find courage when faced with difficult situations. And everyone has dreams and hopes for their future.

Much of this we learn much from life experiences. We also learn from discussions with others. Further, a great deal can be learned about handling our worries, allowing ourselves the freedom to dream big, accepting ourselves and others, and being courageous by reading books that display one or more of these qualities.

That is what the books reviewed today offer. Ask your local librarian and bookseller to direct you to others. The kids in your life are counting on you to help them amass as much knowledge as they can to help them figure out this thing called life.

Books to Borrow

The following book is available at many public libraries.

“Hill Hawk Hattie” by Clara Gillow Clark, Candlewick, 176 pages. Read aloud: age 10 and older. Read yourself: age 10–11 and older.

Hattie’s Ma has died, and now it’s just her and her Pa. Hattie longs for her Ma again, and her Pa has become ornery and takes to the whiskey a lot.

Pa is a logger, and one day he announces that Hattie will be joining him to help cut down trees, build their raft, and ride the river all the way to Philadelphia to sell the wood. Hattie will work alongside another young man, Jasper, and his father, who will join them on their own raft when the spring thaw comes. Pa is one of the best rafters on the river, but he tells Hattie that river-rafting can be dangerous and isn’t for girls, so she is to dress and act like a boy.

Hattie does what she is told and she proves to be more like her father than either one would have suspected. She learns the river, how to handle the rapids, and hold steady through the rough waters and emotional ride.

Full of relationships, emotions, the pain of being torn apart and the joy of coming together again, this suspenseful, historical novel will command reader’s attention through all 176 pages.

Librarian’s Choice

Library: Eastern Monroe Public Library, 1002 N. Ninth St., Stroudsburg

Library Director: Susan Lyons

Head of Youth Services: Julie Bonser

Choices this week: “Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride” by Pam Muñoz Ryan; “Goin’ Someplace Special” by Paticia McKissack; “Ryan and Jimmy: And the Well in Africa That Brought Them Together” by Herb Shoveller

Books to Buy

The following books are available at favorite bookstores.

“The Darkest Dark” by Chris Hadfield and Kate Fillion, illustrated by The Fan Brothers, Little, Brown, 2016, 44 pages, $17.99 hardcover. Read aloud: age 4–7. Read yourself: age 7–8.

Young Chris has big dreams for his future, namely to be a brave astronaut and explore the universe. Chris has his own cardboard, homemade spaceship, constantly imagining his brave deeds as he explores the unknown and fends off terrible aliens.

There is one slight hitch, however: while Chris imagines himself to be tremendously brave, he is

very afraid of the dark. His parents try all sorts of remedies to help Chris shake off his fear, none were completely successful. But the night Chris saw the first man walk on the moon, he realized that “Outer space was the darkest dark ever.” Chris was irreversibly changed by that experience and from that moment forward could see the dark was something beautiful and could hold all of his big dreams.

Inspired by the true childhood experiences of astronaut Chris Hadfield, this delightful book will encourage children to be courageous and dream big.

“With Any Luck I’ll Drive a Truck” by David Friend, illustrated by Michael Rex, Nancy Paulsen Books, 2016, 36 pages, $16.99 hardcover. Read aloud: age 3–5. Read yourself: age 6–7.

Attention young truck lovers! Prepare for a wild, inventive ride through the imagination of one boy who has driven gobs of different trucks! From a backhoe to a fire truck, crane, 18-wheeler, forklift, dump truck and many more, this boy is a real professional, or hopes to be some day.

A clever rhyming romp through a child’s imagination and dreams for his future, young truck lovers everywhere are certain to love this book.

Nationally syndicated, Kendal Rautzhan writes and lectures on children’s literature. She can be reached at [email protected]