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February Review Roundup

Mixed Media

Therapy for Black Girls (Podcast)

Reviewed by Michelle Loyd-Paige

Joy Harden Bradford, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist, began podcasting in 2017 and now has produced 235 episodes of Therapy for Black Girls. What I enjoy most is the variety of topics, including self-care, mental health, how we think about ourselves, and body image. Some topics get very personal, such as “How Our Sex Lives Changed During the Pandemic,” “What Not to Do When Co-parenting,” and “Transracial Adoptions.” The podcast features laughter, personal stories, vulnerability, and a healthy dose of practical yet professional advice. The insights provided are not just for Black women. This podcast is a reminder to all who find themselves caring for everyone but themselves that they can’t pour from an empty cup.


The Side B Podcast

By the C.S. Lewis Institute, hosted by Jana Harmon

Reviewed by Kayleigh Fongers

Why do people believe in God? Why do some not believe? These are the kind of questions explored in this story-driven podcast from the C.S. Lewis Institute that helps listeners examine their own beliefs and diligently seek after truth. Each episode features an interview with a former atheist about how that person came to Christianity. Borrowing from musical language, the name of the podcast refers to the traditionally less-popular songs on a record’s B-side. The show’s tagline—“How skeptics flip the records of their lives”—brings that idea full circle. Because of its commitment to exploring truth, this podcast is one that can motivate skeptics and Christians alike.


The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song

By Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Reviewed by Reginald Smith

The Black Church is a companion book to the PBS series of the same name. This trip through almost 400 years of history of the Black church provides color, emotion, and much appreciation of how Black people adopted and adapted the very religion that enslaved them into a powerhouse for citizenship, voting rights, and social justice. This beautifully made book offers readers in our denomination an understanding of the essential role of Black people in the American church at large or even in the Christian Reformed Church, as well as the value they bring with them: an array of gifts to bless all of God’s people. (Penguin Random House)       


When Stars Are Scattered

By Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed 

Reviewed by Sonya VanderVeen Feddema

Based on the true story of Somalia-born Omar Mohamed, this graphic novel for middle school readers offers a stirring, disquieting window into the desperation, hunger, and poverty of refugee children while also depicting their enduring hope, humor, and resiliency. When Stars Are Scattered touches on themes that might be foreign to North American children, including child marriage, war, disturbing attitudes toward people with disabilities, educational challenges faced by girls in refugee camps, and substance abuse. Christian parents and teachers who share this book with children have a unique opportunity to talk about these themes and about how Jesus wants us to live with love, justice, and mercy in a broken world. (Dial Books)

The Lowdown

Celebrating Black Youth: Young, Gifted, and Black gives voice to the real-life stories of Black millennials and younger adults. Sheila Wise Rowe goes beyond the common narrative that focuses solely on their successes or struggles. Her stories of celebration and lament point toward hope, joy, and healing. (IVP)

Hercule Poirot: In Death on the Nile, Agatha Christie’s fictional Belgian detective is played by the film’s director, Kenneth Branagh. Poirot must solve a murder while on vacation in Egypt. (20th Century Studios)

The End of This Is Us: Since 2016, millions of fans have cried and laughed along with the Pearson family through all their loves and losses, including a transracial adoption when a triplet died at birth. The series, planned for just six seasons, launches its sixth and final season of eighteen episodes in early 2022. (NBC)

Zora Neale Hurston: In You Don't Know Us Negroes and Other Essays, readers will experience the revolutionary writer's work spanning three decades. (Amistad Press)

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