A small, child-like creature in a cone hat peers into a toy shop, happy at the sight of a snow globe, in a vignette called "Tininess" in <em>Darkness Outside the Night</em>, a graphic novel illustrated by Xie Peng. Find out what happens in the <a href="http://www.npr.org/books/titles/187048382/darkness-outside-the-night?tab=excerpt#excerpt">excerpt below</a>.
Credit Xie Peng and Duncan Jepson, with permission to reproduce the panels from Tabella Publishing LLP
Xie Peng, a 36-year-old Chinese graphic novelist, spent six years working on his first book, Darkness Outside the Night. It's been praised by China's first Nobel laureate for literature, Mo Yan, as inspiring people on how to deal with life.
Tourists watch as workers clean oil from the sand along a strip of oil that washed up on the beach in Gulf Shores, Ala., in 2010 after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded off the Louisiana coast.
Credit Dave Martin / AP
Casi Callaway of Mobile Baykeeper points out new marsh grass on the western shore of Mobile, Ala. Volunteers created an oyster reef just off the shoreline at this Mobile park, one of the first coastal restoration projects in the aftermath of the 2010 BP oil spill.
Gulf Coast states are lining up to spend $1 billion from BP on coastal restoration. The money is part of BP's legal responsibility to restore the Gulf of Mexico's natural resources in the aftermath of the worst oil disaster in U.S. history.
But the nature of some of the state projects, including boat ramps and a beachfront hotel, is raising questions about just what counts as coastal restoration.
Two young men — foster brothers in love with the same woman — leave their small Pakistani town for Afghanistan in late 2001. Jeo, a medical student, wants to help wounded civilians and Mikal is there to look after Jeo, but their good intentions aren't enough to keep them safe in an increasingly dangerous war zone.
About 2,200 passengers were being flown back to Baltimore on Tuesday, a day after their cruise ship caught fire on its way to the Bahamas. There were no injuries aboard Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas.
But in the wake of the incident and others like it, the cruise ship companies have something of a black eye. The industry is now trying to reassure passengers it's OK for them to sail, adopting what it called a passenger "bill of rights."
Frankie Kuzuguk, 82, gets a hug from his daughter Marilyn Kuzuguk at Quyanna Care Center in Nome, Alaska, after receiving an official honorable discharge and a distinguished service coin from visiting Veterans Affairs officials. The VA is still tracking down the few surviving members of the World War II Alaska Territorial Guard or delivering benefits to their next of kin.
Credit David Gilkey / NPR
Laban Iyatunguk, who served in the ATG, or "Eskimo Scouts," walks away from the Veterans of Foreign Wars hall in Nome, where VA officials from Washington, D.C., were trying to register ATG vets. Iyatunguk says he has waited years to take advantage of his VA benefits but found the application process too daunting.
Credit David Gilkey / NPR
For years, Clyde Iyatunguk has been waiting for benefits for his father, Laban Iyatunguk, who served in World War II with the Alaska Territorial Guard. Congress did not recognize ATG members as veterans until 2000.
Woody Guthrie's relationship with his home state has always been complicated. The singer-songwriter left Oklahoma and traveled the nation, composing some of the best-known songs of his time and ours. But to many in the state, his progressive political views did not fit with a strong conservative streak during the Cold War period. His reputation there is now closer to a full restoration as Oklahoma opens his archives.
Srinivas Ayyagari onstage in 1992 (left); at right, Ayyagari today. "Seeing someone from ESPN commenting on your style and strategy was bizarre and weird. But it's the closest I'll ever come to being an athlete," Ayyagari says.
Credit Srinivas Ayyagari
Karla Miller competed in the national bees of 1984, 1985 and 1986. Her best finish was 31st, when she went out on the word "dashiki." Today, Miller is a writer and editor. At right, a recent snapshot of Miller and her daughter.
Credit Karla Miller
(Left) 1988 champion Raga Ramachandran gives a TV interview at age 13. Today, Ramachandran is a surgical pathologist at the University of California, San Francisco.
For an academic contest pitting young spellers against the dictionary, the Scripps National Spelling Bee has taken on the intensity of the fiercest athletic events. Feeling the warmth of television lights — not to mention nerves and distractions — all while sports commentators are analyzing your "style" and approach is something only a select club of young word-nerdy Americans gets to experience. How does that early experience affect these mostly middle-school-aged kids later in life?