Ivan, a silverback gorilla who lived for 27 years in a Tacoma, Wash., shopping mall, chews on his finger at the Atlanta Zoo in 1996. The story was the inspiration for Katherine Applegate's book The One and Only Ivan.
Credit Erica Yoon / NPR
Katherine Applegate, pictured above at NPR in Washington, D.C., is the author of The Buffalo Storm, Home of the Brave and The One and Only Ivan. Along with her husband, she co-wrote the young adult series Animorphs.
The school year is drawing to a close, but NPR's Backseat Book Club has plenty of reading lined up for the summer. Our June pick is The One and Only Ivan, a Newbery Medal-winning book by Katherine Applegate. It tells the story of a gorilla who spent 27 years in a shopping mall in Tacoma, Wash. — and it's based on a true story.
Jeremy Jackson's grandma Mildred was famous for her strawberry cake. Legend has it that one of the families in her small Missouri town loved the dessert so much, they "commissioned" her to make it for them once a week.
Jackson is the author of Good Day for A Picnic: Simple Food that Travels Well. He shared two versions of his Strawberry Cake for All Things Considered's Found Recipes series.
In More Than Honey, Attica Boa's striking close-up photography helps visualize a story whose urgency needs no amplification: With global honeybee populations threatened, the world's food supply could be seriously endangered.
Credit Kino Lorber
Trucked by the millions across countries and continents in the service of massive fruit-farming operations, honeybees are as essential to the global economy and the food chain as they are to the production of honey.
Credit Kino Lorber
Director Markus Imhoof visits China, Australia, California — and his family's Alpine orchards in Switzerland, all in the name of illustrating the ways bees and beekeeping have changed over the centuries.
An amiably shaggy combination of science lesson, whimsical musing and alarm bell, More Than Honey isn't as urgent as its eco-catastrophic subject — the possible destruction of the world's critically important honeybee populations — might seem to require. But the documentary's most memorable vignette is suitably unnerving: a visit to northern China, where the threatened disappearance of bees has already come to pass, leaving workers to pollinate fruit trees ... by hand.
Henry Cavill plays the title role in Zach Snyder's expensively earnest iteration of our most recognizably American superhero. An "alien" aesthetic — which ironically owes plenty to the Industrial Age and to the metallo-organic curves of art nouveau — informs everything from the film's palette to its interpretation of Superman's iconic costume.
Credit Clay Enos / Warner Bros. Pictures
This telling of the Superman story leans hard on the tension between the fit-in-at-all-costs imperatives of Kal-El's Kansas upbringing, featuring Diane Lane as surrogate mother Martha Kent ...
Credit Warner Bros. Pictures
... and the fallout from the long-ago space-opera insurrection that landed Krypton's General Zod (Michael Shannon, right, with Antje Traue) and his rebels in the Phantom Zone.
Take heart, ye spandex-haters: Zack Snyder's steroidal yet sensitive Man of Steel is not a superhero film.
Full disclosure: Over the past two years, this reviewer has spent a great deal of time thinking about superheroes in general and Superman in particular. Less than some, perhaps, but more — it's safe to say — than most of you reading these words, as you debate whether or not to duck out of the heat this weekend to take in Snyder's latest summertime smash-em-up.
Born in Israel in 1930, Yoram Kaniuk wrote novels and articles that explored war, the Holocaust, Israel, and the prospect of peace for Israelis and Palestinians. He was an outspoken proponent of the need for Israelis and Palestinians to understand that both groups of people deserve sovereignty.
"Both sides are right, and both sides are so strong about the rightness," he told Fresh Air's Terry Gross in August 1988. He believed that arguing over "who suffered more" wasn't productive.