"For the past forty-seven years I have devoted most of my time and energy to writing. It has been a vocation in the original sense of the word, that is a religious calling, one I was helpless to deny. For me writing has never been about self-expression. Writing has been about tending the spirit and making real the soul." So says Julius Lester in the introduction to this extraordinary book that combines memoir and social criticism. In strikingly honest, thought-provoking prose, he discusses the aspects of his life that have influenced his writing, including his relationships, political views, and religious beliefs; offers revealing anecdotes of the editorial process; and expresses the absolute importance of story. He also shares photographs he has taken through the years-photos that offer their own moving commentary on his text. This bold, insightful book could only have been written by Julius Lester, a revered author known for his strong voice and clear eye. He won a Newbery Honor for his groundbreaking To Be a Slave, has been a National Book Award finalist and the recipient of the Coretta Scott King Honor and Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, among many other honors, and is a professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.