Welcome to the second installment of NPR's Backseat Book Club! Every month, we invite kids to read a book along with us, and then send in their questions for the author.
Our book club selection for November is a classic that's celebrating a big anniversary. The Phantom Tollbooth — written by Norton Juster and illustrated by Jules Feiffer — was published 50 years ago. Juster tells NPR's Michele Norris that the story sprang from his own childhood.
A package of tough new economic sanctions imposed this week by the Arab League is another blow to the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad. But will international pressure really help the people of Syria? Melissa Block talks with Kimberly Ann Elliott, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development. Elliott co-authored a case study on sanctions against Syria that was published by the Peterson Institute.
Thanhha Lai was 10 years old the day in 1975 that North Vietnamese tanks crashed through the gates of the presidential palace in Saigon and fear spread through the city on rumors that Communist troops were about to begin a massacre. Lai recalls fleeing with her eight older siblings and her mother to the nearby port and boarding a crowded South Vietnamese Navy ship that then headed to sea.
NPR's Hard Times series features stories of economic hardship and also stories of hope. We asked for ideas from listeners, and Emily Nugent of Berea College in Kentucky responded, writing: "With a student body composed entirely of students from low socio-economic backgrounds, Berea students know about the challenges Americans are facing." Noah Adams went in search of Emily and the Berea College story.
As diplomats from around the world gather in Durban, South Africa, for talks about climate change, a big question looms: What will become of the Kyoto climate treaty, which was negotiated with much fanfare in 1997. The treaty was supposed to be a first step toward much more ambitious actions on climate change, but it is now on the brink of fading into irrelevance. That could have major implications for the future of United Nations climate talks.
Twitter already beat us to all the good puns, including the one in the headline. But, yes, it is true, you will either love or hate this news story from England: A tanker carrying 20 tons of yeast extract — the main ingredient in the loved-or-reviled Marmite — was involved in a late night accident, yesterday, spilling its contents and shutting down the M1, which connects London to the northern part of England.
Politicians and food executives have been talking about ending the problem of child labor in the West African cocoa industry for the last decade. After shocking revelations that hundreds of thousands of children were forced to harvest cacao beans under abusive conditions, companies pledged to address the practice as "fair trade" entered their lexicon.
Florida A&M's famed "Marching 100" band has been rocked by the death of one of its drum majors on Nov. 19. Police still haven't released all the details of his death, but they said Robert Champion had been throwing up and hazing had something to do with it.
American Airlines is filing for bankruptcy protection. The airline is the last of the so-called legacy carriers, airlines that flew interstate routes before de-regulation of the industry, to reach this step. Delta, Northwest, United and US Airways all went through bankruptcy proceedings in the last 10 years.