Interview With Markette Sheppard, Author of “What is Light?”!

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Emmy award-winning television journalist and entrepreneur Markette Sheppard was inspired to write her first book, What is Light? after becoming a stay-at-home mother for a year to her then newborn son. The book, in which Sheppard describes as a “love letter” to children, soared to number one on Amazon‘s Children’s Sense & Sensation list. Parents of all backgrounds have expressed appreciation for Sheppard’s children’s book. “I think people are fatigued by seeing one type of version of African American people, and so this is something new, something different, and it’s something you can feel good about,” she told So Booking Cool. “No one’s going to feel bad by the end of this book– whatever part they play in the story that is our human family’s history.”

What is Light? is the board book debut from Denene Millner Books (Agate Publishing) and is illustrated by award-winner, Cathy Ann Johnson. Sheppard has nothing but positive things to say about her first publishing experience. Like many debut authors, the former Essence magazine writer researched what entailed writing a book and getting it published. While she didn’t have the connections, she believed in her work. Today she remains in awe over the fact that something she wrote in her notebook is now available to the world. “I’m just so proud that my words are in print. I feel like there’s a lasting legacy in this book that hopefully people will keep and share with their family members for many, many generations to come, like Goodnight Moon.”

WHAT IS LIGHT COVER

Listen to the full interview to learn more about Sheppard, her advice for children’s book authors, including the advice she received from a New York Times bestselling author, her childhood exposure to reading, her next book, and more! For more information, visit Sheppard’s official website.

Review: Renaissance Man: The Lin Manuel Miranda Story, An Unauthorized Biography By Marc Shapiro

marc shapiroRENAISSANCE MAN: THE LIN MANUEL STORY, AN UNAUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY, Marc Shapiro. Riverdale Avenue Books, $18.01 (200p) ISBN-13: 978-1626014480
Publication date: May 10, 2018

From the New York Times bestselling author and veteran entertainment journalist, Marc Shapiro, comes his newest biography of a high-profile talent: the self-made Lin Manuel Miranda’s story. Unlike some unauthorized biographies, Renaissance Man is anything but salacious and scandalous. Shapiro doesn’t go for the cheap. He has instead chosen to tell the compelling journey of the Hamilton frontman that will leave readers feeling inspired and motivated. Ever the page-turner and crisply written, this book is just as pleasurable for the celebrity memoir and/or “tea” enthusiast as it is for the go-getter crowd. When absorbing Miranda’s story, the takeaway extends beyond the fact that Miranda was a man who went after his dreams steadfast. The real message here is the level of discipline one should probably have for pursuing and maintaining a passion.

Prior to the groundbreaking success of Hamilton, there was Miranda’s first major theater production, In the Heights, which dealt with cultural themes significant and personal to Miranda, who was bred in a predominately Latino community in Inwood, New York City. Shapiro highlights the tireless work ethic Miranda dedicated to his play as a college student, as well as his determination—there is a moment when Miranda meets with a potential investor who wanted Miranda to trade the loss of a scholarship storyline for one about drugs and/or a teen pregnancy. In short, the investor opted for a stereotypical scenario and showed he didn’t get the heart of the project. Miranda stuck to his guns, and the play eventually soared past his college campus and onto Broadway. Each new opportunity that arose to elevate his work, whether it be in the form of a national tour or any new stage in general, raised the stakes for Miranda; he did not allow the praise to make him comfortable or complacent.

Miranda was introduced to Alexander Hamilton in school for an assignment. And while he possessed a keen interest in literature early on (he’d read to the other kids in daycare, kind of like a teacher, in which he would eventually become) as well as in musicals and hip hop, the Puerto Rican visionary never imagined he would one day create a play in the late president’s honor.

Call it fate, nevertheless, Miranda worked hard for his success. He had talent, recognized his talents, and made the choice to hone them (even if there were on-and-off-again periods and other obstacles he had to overcome). He didn’t ask for handouts and didn’t need to. Shapiro shows how Miranda got to the point where his work spoke and continues to speak for itself.

Rating: Excellent

Rating Scale

Cool: Decent

So Cool: Good

Booking Cool: Excellent

So Booking Cool: Masterpiece