“The Queen of Katwe” by Tim Crothers tells the true story of Phiona Mutesi who was raised in the slums of Katwe, Uganda in a single windowless room that she shared with her mother and two brothers. Her father died of AIDS when she was young and her mother struggled to take care of her family. With little hope of changing her life, Phiona meets Robert Katende, a soccer player who originally set out to teach kids soccer but noticed many were not interested in learning. He looked for an alternative and inexpensive sport to teach the children to sharpen their minds and he chose the game of chess. In a game usually dominated by boys, Phiona was not expected to do well but as she trained with Robert her skill reached the stage of competition. She entered her first tournament in the slums and came away the champion. She went on to win the Ugandan Junior Chess Championship, which qualified her for the African Championship. For the first time in her life, Phiona left the slums and boarded an airplane for Sudan to compete against the best chess players in Africa. With a determination far beyond her years, she played to win and win she did – at 10 years old she became the youngest champion ever. As Phiona masters the game, she has become an inspiration for the disadvantaged as she continues to stun her rivals on the world scene. Her stated goal is to become a Grandmaster, a goal her mentor believes she will one day attain.
“Pieces of Jamaica, the Real Rock Edition” by David Muir. Muir, a native of Jamaica, has launched a book dedicated to the beauty of the country and its people through his photographs. Journalist and poet Sonia Morgan using prose, poetry and patois composed the captions for the photos. The book may be ordered through www.piecesofjamaica.net.