Welcome to the second installment of NPR's Backseat Book Club! Every month, we invite kids to read a book along with us, and then send in their questions for the author.
Our book club selection for November is a classic that's celebrating a big anniversary. The Phantom Tollbooth — written by Norton Juster and illustrated by Jules Feiffer — was published 50 years ago. Juster tells NPR's Michele Norris that the story sprang from his own childhood.
Thanhha Lai was 10 years old the day in 1975 that North Vietnamese tanks crashed through the gates of the presidential palace in Saigon and fear spread through the city on rumors that Communist troops were about to begin a massacre. Lai recalls fleeing with her eight older siblings and her mother to the nearby port and boarding a crowded South Vietnamese Navy ship that then headed to sea.
Joining us now to talk about what the U.S. hopes to accomplish at the UN climate talks in Durban is the chief negotiator for the United States, Todd Stern. He's been negotiating on behalf of the U.S. off and on since the Kyoto Protocol was first forged back in 1997. Todd Stern, welcome to the program.
TODD STERN: Thanks very much, Guy. Happy to be here.
RAZ: As we just heard, the expectations are pretty low for a treaty that limits emissions coming out of Durban. What needs to happen at Durban for you to consider it a success?
NPR's Hard Times series features stories of economic hardship and also stories of hope. We asked for ideas from listeners, and Emily Nugent of Berea College in Kentucky responded, writing: "With a student body composed entirely of students from low socio-economic backgrounds, Berea students know about the challenges Americans are facing." Noah Adams went in search of Emily and the Berea College story.