Ladysitting: MY YEAR WITH NANA AT THE END OF HER CENTURY
W.W. Norton, HC, $25.95, 256 pages
Lorene Cary’s grandmother moves in, and everything changes: day-to-day life, family relationships, the Nana she knew—even their shared past.
From cherished memories of weekends she spent as a child with her indulgent Nana to the reality of the year she spent “ladysitting” her now frail grandmother, Lorene Cary journeys through stories of their time together and five generations of their African American family. Brilliantly weaving a narrative of her complicated yet transformative relationship with Nana — a fierce, stubborn, and independent woman, who managed a business until she was 100 — Cary looks at Nana’s impulse to control people and fate, from the early death of her mother and oppression in the Jim Crow South to living on her own in her New Jersey home.
Cary knew there might be some reckonings to come. Nana was a force: Her obstinacy could come out in unanticipated ways—secretly getting a driver’s license to show up her husband, carrying on a longtime feud with Cary’s father. But Nana could also be devoted: to Nana’s father, to black causes, and—Cary had thought—to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Facing the inevitable end raises tensions, with Cary drawing on her spirituality and Nana consoling herself with late-night sweets and the loyalty of caregivers. When Nana doubts Cary’s dedication, Cary must go deeper into understanding this complicated woman.
In Ladysitting, Cary captures the ruptures, love, and, perhaps, forgiveness that can occur in a family as she bears witness to her grandmother’s 101 vibrant years of life.
Banking on Freedom: Black Women in U.S. Finance Before the New Deal
Columbia University Press, PB, $35.00, 288 pages
Between 1888 and 1930, African Americans opened more than a hundred banks and thousands of other financial institutions. In Banking on Freedom, Shennette Garrett-Scott explores this rich period of black financial innovation and its transformative impact on U.S. capitalism through the story of the St. Luke Bank in Richmond, Virginia: the first and only bank run by black women.
Banking on Freedom offers an unparalleled account of how black women carved out economic, social, and political power in contexts shaped by sexism, white supremacy, and capitalist exploitation. Garrett-Scott chronicles both the bank’s success and the challenges this success wrought, including extralegal violence and aggressive oversight from state actors who saw black economic autonomy as a threat to both democratic capitalism and the social order. The teller cage and boardroom became sites of activism and resistance as the leadership of president Maggie Lena Walker and other women board members kept the bank grounded in meeting the needs of working-class black women. The first book to center black women’s engagement with the elite sectors of banking, finance, and insurance, Banking on Freedom reveals the ways gender, race, and class shaped the meanings of wealth and risk in U.S. capitalism and society.
illustrated by Sara Ogilvie
A feisty tale of determination, ingenuity, and friendship, sure to capture the imaginations of aspiring young inventors.
Izzy Gizmo’s inventions are marvelous, magnificent - and they often malfunction. But when she finds a crow with a broken wing, she just has to help! Izzy tries again and again to build a new pair of wings, but nothing is working. And that makes Izzy really cross! Can Izzy overcome her failures? Or is her friend destined to live as a crow who can’t fly?