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Rutendo Tavengerwei offers us a glimpse into the lives of two struggling teens in her young adult debut, Hope Is Our Only Wing.

We begin with a new student arriving at a boarding school in Zimbabwe. Shamiso has spent most of her childhood in England with her mother and journalist father, an investigative reporter intent on telling hard truths about his beloved homeland and its many corruptions. When her father dies in what looks like a car accident, they are forced to return home to bury him and try to set up a new life in Zimbabwe.

The other day, I went down to the National Mall here in Washington, D.C., and heard the sound of hope in sweet, strong, young voices.

A youth choir and chamber ensemble from Haiti are on a U.S. tour that's taken them from Maine to Manhattan to Kentucky over the past month. This stop was in a lush garden of the Smithsonian museums. The tour is meant to showcase Haiti's rich musical heritage — and to raise awareness of the country's rebuilding efforts.

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Author Eoin Colfer knows the world has plenty of "boy-and-his-dog books." So if you want to write a book about a boy and his dog, he says, "you have to have something new."

Colfer's The Dog Who Lost His Bark is a book in two halves: "In the first half the boy heals the dog, and in the second half the dog heals the boy," Colfer explains. Music plays a role in helping both characters cope.

On-air challenge: I'm going to give you clues for two words. The first word has an R somewhere within it. Change the R to two S's, and you'll get a new word that answers the second clue.

Example: Female horses / Roman Catholic services --> MARES, MASSES

1. Singer who starred in "Moonstruck" / Game on a 64-square board

2. Tiny opening in the skin / Group helping a sheriff

3. Kitchen surface that stools might be next to / Noblewoman

4. Cry on a golf course / Choreographer Bob

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Those throbbing, insistent strings, the ting of the bell in the servants' quarters.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "DOWNTON ABBEY")

PHYLLIS LOGAN: (As Mrs. Hughes) I want every surface to gleam and sparkle.

In the near future, resources on Earth are limited, space pirates fight for control of the moon, and travel into deep space is possible.

At least that's the future in Ad Astra, directed by James Gray and starring Brad Pitt. In the new sci-fi movie, Pitt plays astronaut Roy McBride, the son of space hero Clifford McBride, who commanded a mission called the Lima Project.

That mission disappeared somewhere in the outer reaches of the solar system many years ago. But when he learns that his father may still be alive, the younger McBride sets out to find him.

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DREW SCANLON: My name is Drew Scanlon. I'm a video producer, but you may know me better as the blinking guy in the GIF.

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Get ready to get woozy, get groovy and yell "Yee-ha!" September sees the arrival of a handful of audacious new graphic novels aimed at the young-adult crowd. With settings ranging from a contemporary Chinese-American community to the Old West, this trio of books tackles such unexpected topics as irritable bowel syndrome and transgender history with a combination of wit, heart and visual flair. It's a good month to be a preteen — or to read like one.

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Comedian Zach Galifianakis is known for his Internet series Between Two Ferns, in which he conducts celebrity interviews while seated — you guessed it — in between two ferns. Between Two Ferns: The Movie premieres on Netflix in September.

We've invited Galifianakis to play a game called "Between Two Derns" — three questions about actor Laura Dern and her father, Bruce Dern. Click the audio link above to find out how he does.

From small things, greatness.

This line from Tracy Chevalier's new A Single Thread perfectly sums up a story about how a needle and the right stitch can change the course of a life.

Sometimes destiny seems to drop a little hint of goodness you could never imagine coming your way. For Cuban-born Aymée Nuviola and Puerto Rican-born Jeimy Osorio destiny played out to the tune of Celia Cruz.

Aymée Nuviola was a young singer with Pachito Alonso's orchestra when she met the legendary "Queen of Salsa" at a wedding in Mexico. It was a brief encounter that sparked an affinity between the two Afro-Cuban singers who were far from their homeland. Cruz offered up a little career advice and as she was leaving, took off her big, stone earrings and gave them to Nuviola.

My Signature Song: 'Defying Gravity'

Sep 21, 2019

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Kaley Johnson of Fort Worth, Texas, has a dramatic signature song, one so important to her, it's almost part of her identity.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DEFYING GRAVITY")

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David Yoon's debut novel has set off commotion, excitement, and a movie option.

It's Frankly in Love, in which we meet Frank Li, a high school senior and a self-described nerd, who, with his best friend Q, plays video games, watches obscure movies, gets high SAT scores and doesn't talk about girls — except, of course, when they do. Which is a lot.

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"How long until the world hollows me out?" Eunice Turner asks her younger brother Noah in one of her many letters to him — most of them suicide notes. That question lies at the heart of A Cosmology of Monsters, Shaun Hamill's debut novel. It's a horror tale unafraid to tackle big issues of familial fealty, the architecture of fear, and the metaphysics of love, all while shocking the pants off the reader.

Grief can feel like a new world emerging, swallowing up the reality you once knew and expanding into something entirely all-consuming. New York rapper Kemba used that monolithic feeling to create his major label debut album, Gilda, a record that pays tribute to his mother who passed away two years ago.

Kemba's mother raised him and his two brothers in The Bronx, N.Y., a place that gave him little choice but to be immersed in hip-hop

Even in Times Square — crammed with tourists from around the world dodging people in superhero costumes — the playwright Jeremy O. Harris stands out.

He's walking down the sidewalk with two thick and long braids, standing six feet and five inches tall, wearing a see-through shirt, carrying bags from fashion designers and smoking a cigarette. He's between New York Fashion Week events and his Broadway opening.

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When Belinda Qaqamba Ka-Fassie dresses in drag, she doesn't typically go for the sequins and feather boas worn by performers on RuPaul's Drag Race. A post-graduate student of education at Stellenbosch University in Cape Town, South Africa, Ka-Fassie might put on a dress that resembles the white blanket typically worn by boys at a traditional male circumcision ritual, called ulwaluko, and she might add a multi-colored headpiece and beaded stick, both handmade and used by brides.

James Verini calls himself a "coward and a hypocrite."

Why? For not having the guts to cover the Afghanistan war after reporting on the destruction of the World Trade Center as a young reporter.

Heading to Mosul in the summer of 2016, he says, to write about life under the Islamic State was a kind of "penance."

Friday News Roundup - Domestic

Sep 20, 2019

On a trip to California, President Donald Trump threatened to bring action from the EPA against San Francisco unless it does something about its homelessness problem.

The administration is also saying it plans to revoke the state’s authority to set vehicle emissions standards that exceed federal rules.

Steve Earle & The Dukes On Mountain Stage

Sep 20, 2019

One of the last of the hard-core troubadours, three-time Grammy winner Steve Earle made his seventh appearance on Mountain Stage on June 23 at the Cultural Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va. The show occurred during FestivALL, Charleston's local arts celebration, and featured guest host Kathy Mattea.

Mattea, who used to sing demos for Earle, told the crowd about how she and Earle signed record label deals in Nashville on the same day (which happened to be her 24th birthday). She called Earle someone with "a big brain and a big heart underneath that gruff exterior."

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This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies, in for Terry Gross. "Downton Abbey," the feature film based on the Masterpiece series that ran on PBS for six seasons, opens today in theaters. Much of the cast returns in the movie for a plot set in motion by the visit of King George the V to Downton. In this scene, conflicts emerge as servants at Downton are talking about preparations from the royals with the king's page, who's part of the royals advance team.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "DOWNTOWN ABBEY")

If you submitted the DNA of rock and roll to one of those ancestry outfits, you'd get traces of just about every kind of music that developed in the U.S. Spirituals, folk, blues, country and western music have all have contributed to that early 1950s explosion of what became known as rock and roll.

Gang Starr, Hip-Hop's Chilliest Pair Of Heads, Returns

Sep 20, 2019

Gang Starr is back. After 16 years of silence, the revered duo of Guru and DJ Premier has put out a surprise new single, "Family and Loyalty." The song features posthumous verses from Guru, who passed away in 2010, DJ Premier's trademark string chops and light touch, and an acrobatic verse from J. Cole.

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