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Civil Rights era novel, with a foreword by Alice Walker

BLACK, WHITE, OTHER: In Search of Nina Armstrong

As a biracial teen, Nina is accustomed to a life of varied hues—mocha-colored skin, ringed brown hair streaked with red, a darker brother, a black father, a white mother. When her parents separate, shifting definitions play out all around her, and new lines seem to be drawn every day.

Between the fractures within her family and the racial tensions splintering her hometown, Nina feels caught in perpetual battle. Feeling stranded in the nowhere land between racial boundaries, and struggling for personal independence and identity, Nina turns to the story of her great-great-grandmother’s escape from slavery. Is there direction in the tale of her ancestor? Can Nina build her own compass when landmarks from her childhood stop guiding the way?

"Teens will be caught by the alternating stories, and yes, by the messages about the cruel cliques and prejudice, then and now, which will make for great group discussion." - Booklist

"Joan Steinau Lester tells a compelling story of teen angst, a search for self-identity and personal independence, but with a racial twist." -

"Black, White, Other offers up a rich and compelling insight into the formation of identity during adolescence as Lester poignantly depicts a young girl’s struggle to break free from her sheltered upbringing and find her own voice. Nina’s innocent and deeply emotional perspective throughout Lester’s complex storyline offers an accessible and powerful
introduction to issues of race and identity." Shameless Magazine


"Just when you're ready to pack up the House of Representatives and ship them to Bazookastam, along comes a reminder that some among them actually strive for social justice--such as that rare bird Eleanor Holmes Norton." Kirkus Reviews

They call Congresswoman Norton the "Warrior on the Hill," acknowledging the battles she's waged as a political pioneer across more than four decades. Perhaps more than anyone else, she has taken to heart Eleanor Roosevelt's famous dictum that "every political woman needs to develop skin as tough as rhinoceros hide."

Lester charts four decades of Norton's political and personal challenges. FIRE IN MY SOUL shows Norton marching on the Capitol to demand a Senate hearing for Anita Hill; arguing before the Supreme Court to uphold first amendment rights, even for a segregationist; and battling for her hometown, Washington D.C., "the last colony in America."

MAYA ANGELOU says of FIRE IN MY SOUL, "Eleanor Holmes Norton knows law, people, and life. I am glad that I am a woman during the same time that [she] is. She makes me proud of us."

"Compelling and inspiring!" Publisher's Weekly

"An engaging narrative of the life and times of a remarkable individual." Washington Post


Joan Steinau Lester guides us through our social obstacle course, giving insights into real-life dilemmas:
* How do we handle the joke that uses an offensive stereotype?

* What if your co-worker calls you Black and you prefer to be called African American?

* What do you do when the search committee turns up another white male and says there's nobody else out there who is "qualified"?

* What do you do as a white male in the early twenty-first century who feels he's on the endangered species list?

* How do you give an inclusive holiday party?

Joan Lester's light-hearted ability to approach highly charged diversity issues without anger and blame is unprecedented. THE FUTURE OF WHITE MEN AND OTHER DIVERSITY DILEMMAS is the perfect solution for all of us who desire successful and harmonious relations with those around us. It's consciousness raising at its very best--getting us all to open our minds a bit more.


In one concise and enjoyable volume, Joan Lester gives women what we always thought the 'old boy network' gave to men: She offers women of all backgrounds personalized feminist strategies for clearing away internalized baggage and finding the power within.

"Her book not only provides many examples of how the personal is political, it is a step-by-step guide to making the personal powerful."
Helen Zia, contributing editor, Ms.

"A practical book for women of all ages...TAKING CHARGE is essential reading."
The Bookwatch

"Instructive, highly readable volume."
Workforce Diversity