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THE TALENTED RIBKINS: A Novel ~Ladee Hubbard

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

Winner of the 2016 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award

THE TALENTED RIBKINS was, “Inspired by W.E.B. Du Bois’s famous essay “The Talented Tenth” and fuelled by Ladee Hubbard’s marvelously original imagination, The Talented Ribkins is a big-hearted debut novel about race, class, politics, and the unique gifts that, while they may cause some problems from time to time, bind a family together. “

Johnny Ribkin has now reached his 70s and life should be much easier and it is not.  His mobster boss is demanding the return of some money that Johnny has been taking for pay and has hidden in buried important spots all over Florida.  As he follows his map of hidey – holes, he discovers that his brother left a 13-year-old daughter, who has a special talent and her mother cannot pay the mortgage.  Johnny ends up sharing his retrieved cash with Eloise’s Mother and then taking Eloise on his adventure to find his funds and introduce her to her family.  Actually, every descendant in the Rib King’s family tree has a special talent and they find themselves happy to use their talent to their best advantage.  The family has some most unusual talents!

Johnny, his brother and his cousins in their youth formed together to create a Justice Committee.  This group protected and assisted folks who were working on civil rights and political action.  They formed a bond that was difficult to break and yet they needed more funds to keep going, which ultimately broke up the group.  Johnny was still trying to create the perfect map for the future – he just needed more money.  He discovered lots of corruption among politicians and that often their word was not true and he got roped into helping a mobster lawyer steal.

Eloise is a bright young woman working out very carefully how her talent might be useful to her and her future.  She enjoys learning about her family and their talents as she travels with her Uncle Johnny.  Her family is very funny and her curiosity creates a backdrop for the story to unfold.  The duo is on a mission and it is wonder full.

“For sheer reading pleasure Ladee Hubbard’s original and wildly inventive novel is in a class by itself.” —Toni Morrison, Nobel Prize-winning author of The Bluest Eye, Beloved, and Song of Solomon

“Crafty and wistful…Hubbard weaves this narrative with prodigious skill and compelling warmth. You anticipate a movie while wondering if any movie could do this fascinating family…well, justice. To describe this novel, as someone inevitably will, as Song of Solomon reimagined as a Marvel Comics franchise is to shortchange its cleverness and audacity.” —Kirkus, starred review

I enjoyed every page, the interesting writing style and the clever story.  The interesting politics and discoveries were just an added bonus.  Ah the bonds of family – THE TALENTED RIBKINS


“Ladee Hubbard is the winner of the 2016 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award and the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition for the Short Story. She holds a BA from Princeton University, an MFA in Dramatic Writing from New York University, an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin, and a PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles. She lives in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Talented Ribkins is her first novel.”

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Language Arts

The Perfect Mother’s Day Gift

Thursday, May 10th, 2012
Ruth M Hamilton

Ruth M Hamilton

I love to give gifts and I pride myself in giving gifts that truly match up to the person to whom they are intended. The specific event is not so important, it is the thought and intention which matter the most.

Mother’s Day is celebrated in the middle of May in the USA.  My older brother holds the record for giving the best gift to our Mother by being born male on Mother’s Day.  He was the first grandchild added to my Mother’s family tree and she was so proud to hold that honor.  The two daughters had to work very hard for this event and we never quite measured up.

My Mother was very proud of all of her children and extremely equal with her attentions.  She taught us all that we must work very hard to achieve anything in life, how to be good citizens and thoughtful people.   She wanted my brother to be an elementary school teacher, my sister to be a special education teacher and she thought maybe I could become a secretary because I was so organized.  My brother became a policeman, my sister a reading specialist and me, well (sigh) I write a blog or three.

My siblings had a hard time learning to read and I had dyscalcula (she just thought it was being lazy on my part); my siblings took on learning how to be great at what they did and to show her how wonderful they were.  My Mother hoped we would win scholarships to college and get awards for our efforts.  Rather she became the most requested 1st grade teacher in the district, not because she was a great entertainer, but because the children who left her classroom at the end of the year had a strong foundation to go forward and they felt good about school; had a sense of accomplishment.  She earned many a reward from the parents of her students and so many of her students attended her Memorial Service 5 years ago.

My brother did win the Volunteer of the year award before Mother died and she was so proud.

She was so proud of my sister for her frugality and talent with earning and investing money, at one time she thought she should have encouraged her to be an accountant, numbers were her forte’, instead of a reading teacher, which was so difficult.  Mother was proud of how hard she worked and her perseverance.  She was proud of how carefully my sister followed in her example and how disciplined they both were.

My Mother felt she had taken care of me by getting me to marry a man who would have a stable income and who she liked so very much and he would always make sure I had the basic necessities of life.  As a team, we brought her home after she fractured her spine and I took care of her 24/7 – right to the end.  I heard her confessions and there were no real regrets and I valued her clear global voice.

Her last Mother’s Day, she told me that I was an amazing mother – loving, guiding, kind, and creative – and she forgave me for sometimes yelling my anger; she apologized for being so critical of me at the time it had seemed appropriate.

Now is time for the best Mother’s Day gift of all – her grandchildren are doing her proud.  Those awards are coming this year – IT Girl has just won the highest honor for her master’s thesis at San Francisco State University and was nominated for another award for writing excellence.  Librarian Girl just had a week of 32 hugs from her students as she completes her first year of full time teaching.  Entrepreneurial Girl has been promoted in her position 2 times this year into management with her own car.  Dancing Girl will graduate from Law School this Mother’s Day.  Alaska Girl has her driver’s license and is moving towards high school graduation with honors.  First born Grandson, and oldest of the crew, is off teaching math and reading for the Navy having to leave his wife and children at home for a long period of time.

The perfect Mother’s Day gift is coming true and I think she knows – I’m sure of it.

Have you ever given the perfect gift?  Was someone proud of you?  Did you receive a great award for your talents?

Happy Mother’s Day !

If you purchase anything from this site from Amazon or Powell’s, I will receive a few beans in my bucket

TO Vered DeLeeuw  for winning the book FOODTRIENTS and the APRON from the author Grace O and TLC online book tours.

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The Smartest Woman I Know
Temple Grandin