Five gripping books to brighten up your summer

Terrance J and his mother discuss parenting and his success.

Terrence J and his mother discuss parenting and his success.

By Carmen Glover

Summertime evokes a variety of emotions: excitement, fun, adventure, exploration, relaxation. It’s a time when families go to new locations to unwind and recharge their batteries for the bustling activities that come with September. One of the best ways to enjoy the summer months is with a good book. has a vibrant book reviews section and we respect the value of reading and learning from each other’s stories. Here are five books that will add a little verve to your summer:

Terrenace J

1. “In The Wealth of My Mother’s Wisdom: The Lessons That Made My Life Rich,” (Harper Collins, $19.99), actor and media personality Terrence Jenkins, also known as Terrence J, alternates his memoir about his childhood with road to success, with gems provided by his mother. He includes advice other stars such as singer Trey Songz, rappers Ludacris and T.I, as well as comedians Kevin Hart and Gary Owens. The entertainers share tips that they got from their mothers, obstacles they overcame and words of encouragement for others. Great book for all age-groups.

Author Kimberla Lawson roby and her book cover, the Prodial son

Author Kimberla Lawson Roby and her book cover, the Prodigal Son

2. In her most recent book, “The Prodigal Son” (Grand Central Publishing, $26) author Kimberla Lawson Roby explores family dynamics. She vividly describes how envy, greed and deception combine to create a potent mixture that can destroy a family until they decide to draw strength and guidance from biblical principles. Solid read.

carl weber

3. Carl Weber continues where he left off in his latest offering, “The Choir Director 2: Runaway Bride ” (Grand Central Publishing, $25). Weber outlines a story about a choir director who is tamed by a member of his church and the drama that ensues as they try to make it to the altar. Gripping tale.

Rochelle alers

4. Rochelle Alers’ recent Cavanaugh Road novel ” Magnolia Drive” (Grand Central Publishing, $8) explores the lives of a new couple as they learn about each other, cautiously approach dating and become open to all that a life together entails: Soothing, breezy, blissful love story.

robin roberts

5. Former athlete and current media personality Robin Roberts delves into her life story in “Everybody’s Got Something,” (Grand Central Publishing, $25). Roberts shares details about her life that were not previously addressed by the media and disclosing values imparted by her mother. Inspiring. Read the full book reviews under the books tab on our website.–OnPointPress.Net

Disney Dreamers Academy accepting applications through October 31

E! News host Terrence J (c) is flanked by Husain and Zahra Abd' Allah, who participated in the Disney Dreamers Academy in 2013 and 2012, respectively.

E! News host Terrence J (c) is flanked by Husain and Zahra Abd’ Allah, who participated in the Disney Dreamers Academy in 2013 and 2012, respectively. (All photos by Disney/Julie Hirshenson).

By Carmen Glover

For the past six years, Walt Disney World has partnered with entertainer Steve Harvey and Essence magazine to present the Disney Dreamers Academy (DDA). The DDA provides 100 U.S. high school students, aged 13-19, with a weekend getaway at Walt Disney World. During the weekend, participants are paired with mentors and provided with immersion seminars geared towards careers. The career and mentoring events are interspersed with activities which allow the students to enjoy the sights and sounds of the theme parks.  Applications are currently being accepted for the competitive program and interested students are encouraged to take advantage of the free, event-filled, enlightening weekend event by submitting their applications before the deadline of October 31.

Terrence J and his mother, Lisa Gonzalez, talk about his book.

Terrence J and his mother, Lisa Gonzalez, talk about his book and his fond memories as a mentor with the Disney Dreamers Academy.

Representatives from the Disney Dreamers Academy, including Director of Walt Disney World Public Relations Carole Munroe and  Public Relations Manager Maria Cecilia Toro, were on hand at Trattoria Dell’ Arte in Manhattan on Wednesday, October 2, to talk about the program and the ways in which it changes the lives of the students who have been participants. E! News co-host and actor Terrence J was a featured speaker at the Manhattan event . He talked about his recent book, “The Wealth of My Mother’s Wisdom,” while sharing the stage with his mother, Lisa Gonzalez,. Terrence J answered questions about his life as well as his involvement with the Disney Dreamers Academy as a mentor and speaker. “The deadline is October 31 so if you know anyone that’s young tell them to apply,” he said. “It’s a genuine program. You will see Steve Harvey with a group of men teaching them to tie a tie.”

Members of the media listen as Terrence J and his mother discuss his book.

Members of the media listen as Terrence J and his mother discuss his book and the Disney Dreamers Academy program.

Terrence J also spoke about the degree of dedication that Disney has to the DDA. “Disney is very committed to the event,” he said. “After the event we meet and discuss what worked and what didn’t. They meet with the students to find out what their favorite parts were.“ Describing the joy that he derives from participating in the program,Terrance J said: “The Disney Dreamers Academy is so rewarding and fulfilling. This is the first organization I really sank my teeth into with mentoring. I feel that the program benefits me more than the students.”

Brother and sister Zahra and Husain Abd’Allah, 2012 and 2013 DDA alums, respectively, spoke eloquently about their participation in the program.  When asked what they have learned through their participation in the program, they brightened and talked animatedly, “I learned that you should never give up on your dreams because dreams are the things that make you who you are,” said Zahra, 18, a freshman at Laguardia Community College majoring in communication studies. “I learned that it’s not enough to learn everything. It’s enough to learn enough to help others,” said Husain, 15, who is taking a public speaking class at Hostos Community College. The siblings, who were both home-schooled and are spoken word artists, excelled in the DDA. Zahra was named Ms Curiosity during when she participated, while Husain wrote an original piece called “Ain’t Nothin’ Like A Dreamer” in honor of his DDA class.

Tanisha Sykes, personal finance editor at Essence, described one of the ways in which  the magazine contributes to the weekend’s activities. “At the Disney Dreamers Academy Essence provides a deep dive where we gave an immersion seminar on journalism,” she said. “What I have come to learn,” Sykes said, “is that a dream plus a plan equals success.” Essence, she said, “has been a part of this from the beginning and will continue to be a support.” Zahra said that during her participation in the program she attended a deep dive on health care with Dr Ian Smith as well as the Essence deep dive on journalism. As a result, she said she is considering becoming a journalist.  Husain said he met the founders of the Kinsey Collection during his participation in the journalism deep dive. “I learned to hold fast to my dreams,” he said of the deep dive experience. Keeping with the theme of dreams, Zahra said she learned that “dreams are the blueprint of who you are.”

Applications for the seventh class are being accepted through October 31, 2013 at The next Academy will take place over the weekend of March 6-9, 2014.

Terrence J salutes his mother in inspirational book


By Carmen Glover

Former BET co-host of 106 and Park, actor and current E! News co-host Terrence J credits his mother’s example, guidance and counsel for providing the fundamentals of his success. In a beautiful ode to his mother’s love, support and guidance, Terrence J authored The Wealth of My Mother’s Wisdom: The Lessons That Made My Life Rich, a book that lovingly explores Terrance J’s life and how closely his successes are aligned with the choices his mother made in hers.

The book describes the circumstances surrounding his mother, Lisa, becoming pregnant at age 17 and her decision to not only have her son but devote her life to ensuring his overall success. It details her goals for her life and how she decided to put her son’s well-being first in all aspects of her life, including her decision to choose a life partner. Along the way, Terrance J shares the life lessons his mother taught him about becoming a man, pursuing his dreams, embracing education, ignoring obstacles, choosing friends wisely and sharing his gifts with others through mentoring.

Told in a very conversational tone, the book intersperses Terrence J’s recollections with his mother’s accounts of what motivated her to make the decisions she made and how determined she was to ensure that she led an exemplary life for her son. An interesting and compelling feature of the book is the nuggets of wisdom shared by other public figures who reflect on the impact their mothers had on their lives. Among the notables who share vignettes from their relationships with their mothers are Kevin Liles, former president of Def Jam Records, singer Trey Songz, rappers T.I and Ludacris, comedians/actors Kevin Hart and Gary Owen.

Terrence J’s book shares the many ways in which the values that his mother instilled in him shaped his viewpoints and his core system of operation. But The Wealth of My Mother’s Wisdom is also profound and illuminating in honing in on the message of friendships and relationships as well as the theme that no one is an island. It shines a light on an important essence of human relationships: the fact that truly successful people develop the art of nurturing relationships, which then mushrooms into meaningful bonds that can make the difference when you least expect it. The book is a great read for everyone who wants to learn the importance of having a central core as well as understanding the value of being true to yourself and your dreams.—