Audie Cornish

A summer already full of high-profile hip-hop releases just got hotter. NPR Music's Ann Powers and Rodney Carmichael break down the surprise release of Jay-Z and Beyoncé's joint album, Everything Is Love, and explore how it sounds both on its own and compared to the competition.

As a child, author Minh Lê had a deep and loving relationship with his grandparents, but he also remembers a lot of "awkward silence."

"There were those moments where we just didn't know what to say to each other," he says.

Lê was born in the U.S. and grew up in Connecticut. His grandparents were from Vietnam. His new picture book — a collaboration with Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat — explores how a young boy and his Thai grandfather learn to bridge barriers of language, culture and age.

Black Thought has been a guiding force for The Roots since he co-founded the group with Questlove back in high school. The Philadelphia innovators have found success through many different avenues, and for almost a decade now have served as the house band for Jimmy Fallon's incarnations of Late Night and The Tonight Show.

These days, it's not uncommon to open up the paper and read about a dying town that lost its factory. Or about families struggling economically. Or about a political battle tearing a community apart.

In his latest book, Dave Eggers folds those elements into a supernatural story for kids. The Lifters is about a young boy who discovers that a dangerous force is literally feeding on the despair in his community — and even threatening his family.

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