The child star who healed a nation

Mar. 28, 2014 @ 04:48 PM

The late Shirley Temple’s legacy goes far beyond film, John F. Kasson argues in his new biography of the child star, “The Little Girl Who Fought the Great Depression: Shirley Temple and 1930s America” (W.W. Norton, $27.95). Her optimism, and that of Franklin Roosevelt, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, and many other public figures, was vital to helping Americans get through the Great Depression, writes Kasson, a professor of history at UNC Chapel Hill.
“In all of her major roles in the 1930s Shirley’s central task was emotional healing,” Kasson writes in his introduction. “She mended the rifts of estranged lovers, family members, old-fashioned and modern ways, warring peoples, and clashing cultures.”
For information about this biography, visit

Other readings and releases:
-- Krista Bremer, an associate publisher with The Sun magazine of Chapel Hill, has written a memoir of her cross-cultural marriage, “My Accidental Jihad: A Love Story” (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, $24.95). The book centers on her meeting with Ismail, born of a Muslim family in Libya, and her journey learning about another culture.
Bremer will read and sign copies of her book at 7 p.m. April 22 at Flyleaf Books, 752 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., and at 11 a.m. May 6 during the Chatham County Literacy Council luncheon at Galloway Ridge at Fearrington Village in Pittsboro.

-- Last year, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill introduced its series of titles for young readers. The newest title in the series scheduled for release April 22 is “The Art of Secrets” (Algonquin Young Readers, $16.95) by James Klise.
When the apartment of the Khan family burns, a piece of outsider art is donated for a school fundraiser for the family. When the art is found to have historical and high monetary value, the debate centers on who should get the money. Klise tells this story through multiple narrators, through journal entries from sophomore Saba Khan, but also from the viewpoint of other students, other family members, teachers, and firefighters. For more on this novel, visit
-- Jonathan Scott Holloway, Yale University professor of history, American studies and African-American studies, will read and discuss his book “Jim Crow Wisdom: Memory and Identity in Black America since 1940” at 7 p.m. Thursday at Hayti Heritage Center, 804 Old Fayetteville St. in Durham
In “Jim Crow Wisdom,” Holloway weaves intimate personal and family memories into his analysis of broad social, cultural and political phenomena. He explores race memory from the beginning of the modern civil rights era to the present.
Duke professor of African and African-American studies Mark Anthony Neal will lead a discussion with Holloway after the reading. A book signing and reception will follow. A limited number of copies of “Jim Crow Wisdom” will be available on a first-come, first-served basis at The Regulator Bookshop, 720 Ninth Street. (Inform the staff that you are participating in the Forum for Scholars and Publics discussion, and they will give a free copy. Copies are also available at the library.)
This program is co-sponsored by Duke University’s Forum for Scholars and Publics and Durham Library Foundation.

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