NPR Staff

In September of last year, a Flint pediatrician released stark findings about her city: The percentage of children age 5 and under with elevated levels of lead in their blood had nearly doubled since the city switched its water source a year and a half earlier.

The superintendent of Flint Community Schools, Bilal Tawwab, was listening. Even small amounts of lead can affect children's behavior and intelligence over time. With that in mind, he decided to keep the city's water out of his schools.

Last spring, Benny Smith began having epileptic seizures. In his fifth-grade English class, he fell out of his chair and found he couldn't move. It soon got so bad for the 11-year-old, in fact, that his falls even led to several concussions.

And when he'd wake up, he'd feel terrible, too — "a bit like a hangover," Benny tells his mother, Christine Ristaino, on a recent visit to StoryCorps.

Just don't ask him what a hangover feels like.

"You told it to me!" he tells her.

Ready for a quick game of true or false?

In 1987 Donald Trump wrote a business advice book called The Art of the Deal. [TRUE]

That book was a best-seller. [TRUE]

Trump made a TV movie based on the book that was supposed to air but didn't because a football game went into overtime. Years later, director Ron Howard found the movie at a yard sale in Phoenix. [FALSE]

A 10-piece funk band from Houston, Texas has been on a lot of "musicians to watch" lists lately: Horns, guitars, percussion, keys, all led by the sultry, smoky, soaring vocals of Kam Franklin. Up until a year ago, the members of The Suffers had pretty normal lives.

Comedian Samantha Bee made her name on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and now her name is on her own show. Full Frontal with Samantha Bee is a weekly, half-hour show that riffs on the news. It premiered Monday on TBS.

Bee is currently the only late night TV host who's a woman, something the show took on from the very beginning:

Who would have predicted a year ago that Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump would win the New Hampshire primary? Meanwhile, John Kasich eked out a second-place victory over Ted Cruz. Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina came in a disappointing sixth and seventh place, respectively, and both announced the suspension of their campaigns on Wednesday.

A new novel takes young readers inside the mind of a 5-year-old fox. Abandoned as a kit, Pax is taken in by Peter, a boy whose mother has died. When Peter's dad joins the military, Peter is forced to send Pax into the wild for the first time. The story — set during wartime in an unidentified time and place — is told from both Peter and Pax's perspectives.

Shortly after arriving in Washington for diplomatic meetings this week, Egypt's foreign minister, Sameh Hassan Shoukry, stopped by NPR to speak with Morning Edition's David Greene.

Shoukry, a veteran diplomat and former ambassador to Washington, represents the government of Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who led a military coup in 2013 and became president in 2014.

The new novel from Mexican writer Álvaro Enrigue is full of characters you'd recognize, among them Mary Magdalene, the painter Caravaggio and Henry VIII's wife, Anne Boleyn. The book, Sudden Death, begins with a tennis match between Caravaggio and Spanish poet Francisco de Quevedo, played with a ball made from Boleyn's hair. The match is a metaphor for history's imperial forces.

"That's the privilege of the novelist," Enrigue tells NPR's Ari Shapiro. "You can do whatever you want with historical characters."

In January 1997, the poet Miller Williams stood on the steps of the Capitol at President Bill Clinton's second inauguration and read a poem he'd written about our country:

We have memorized America,

how it was born and who we have been and where.

In ceremonies and silence we say the words,

telling the stories, singing the old songs.

We like the places they take us. Mostly we do.

Anne Bowers wanted her boyfriend to buy her a used ring. Second-hand engagement rings are hundreds or even thousands of dollars less expensive than new ones.

But when it came time for him to propose, her husband went for a new ring. He said he just couldn't buy a second-hand ring. Why?

Second-hand rings have a history. They may have been worn by someone in an unhappy relationship.

If you watched Sunday's Super Bowl, how did you get it? Over cable? Rabbit ears? (Yes, those still work.) Or did you stream it online?

Not that long ago, being a woman in the workplace was different. Just watch any episode of Mad Men.

That was just the way things were back then. It wasn't until 1986 that the Supreme Court acknowledged that there's something called sexual harassment and it's a violation of federal civil rights law.

Primary season has officially begun. And as the presidential candidates campaign ahead of Tuesday's New Hampshire primary, both Republicans and Democrats are making big arguments in response to some big questions about their party's future.

Is there such a thing as an "establishment lane" that can win the GOP contest? Can a Democrat be both moderate and a progressive? Is it better to be pragmatic or idealistic?

In 2009, one of the founders of the online eyeglass maker Warby Parker approached management consultant Adam Grant about becoming an early investor. Grant says he declined because the company's founders weren't working at their startup full time; he also says it was the worst financial decision he's ever made.

As part of a series called My Big Break, All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.

All football players know they're one big hit away from the end of their career. Delvin Breaux was a high school senior with a scholarship on the line when he took one of those hits. It broke his neck.

With February comes Black History Month in the U.S., a time designated to reflect on the history and contributions of people of African descent in this country. And while the month may invite debate among some, one thing rarely does in the U.S.: the idea of calling oneself, or being described as, black or African-American.

There was a time when it felt like Keurig coffee pods were going to take over the world — or at least encircle it.

But now sales are on the decline, down some $60 million from last year.

The company has faced criticism because the individual coffee pods are not kind to the environment. But Venessa Wong with BuzzFeed says that's not the only factor that's contributed to the decline in sales.

It's not simply Flint that has bad water. The Michigan city, which has grabbed headlines recently for its rampant water contamination, is joined in that dubious distinction by another town, much farther south: St. Joseph, La.

"It's just a given fact that at some point during the week, you're going to have brown or yellow water," says resident Garrett Boyte.

The band School of Seven Bells wrote its final album together in 2012, but it's only now being released. They didn't know it at the time, but one of the band's two members, Benjamin Curtis, was about to be diagnosed with cancer. He died the following year at the age of 35.

The Jordanian movie Theeb has been nominated for a best foreign language film Oscar. It's a beautiful, sweeping story set in 1916 in an area of western Saudi Arabia then known as the Hejaz. The film's director, Naji Abu Nowar, says Theeb covers a pivotal moment in the region's history.

"The First World War is kicking off ... and the war is coming toward this area of Hejaz," he tells NPR's Kelly McEvers. "The British are ... inciting the Arab tribes to revolt against the Ottoman imperialists. And so you're on the brink of a massive change."

Editor's Note: Some may find the graphic material in this post disturbing.

"I remember taking the gun out," says Sean Smith. "My sister was off to the side of the room."

Smith, now 36, was just 10 years old at the time. He had arrived home after school with his 8-year-old sister, Erin. Their parents weren't home yet, so they'd gone searching for hidden video games in their father's dresser drawer.

That's when Sean Smith found a .38 revolver.

The world of haute cuisine lost one of its brightest stars over the weekend.

Benoit Violier, a French Swiss chef who many said was the best in the world, died in his home in Switzerland in what appears to have been a suicide. He was 44.

The NPR Politics Podcast team has a lot to discuss in the wake of the Iowa caucuses. It was a record-breaking night, with more than 180,000 people, and 22,000 young people, participating in the Republican caucuses. Ted Cruz walked away victorious while Donald Trump claimed second place and Marco Rubio finished a strong third.

To people who live in big cities, the sound of honking, the whir of traffic, the howl of street vendors and the clang of construction can just be background noise.

But for Nigerian sound and video artist Emeka Ogboh, the city is his palette — his symphony of sound. And his compositions can whisk the listener to another time and place.

Over the past 25 years, there's been no more prominent name in gospel music than Kirk Franklin. In that time, the singer has been no stranger to controversy. By merging hip-hop with gospel, he brought the stars and sound of the club scene into the church — and not everyone in the church has been comfortable with that.

Monday's Iowa caucuses are being billed, as they are every election season, as "a fight for the soul of the Party," both Democratic and Republican.

Yes, it's a worn-out cliché, but especially on the Republican side this year, it's a real battle.

As many know, parenting isn't an easy job. It can be hugely frustrating and even lonely trying to figure out what's best for your kid. Should you be a taskmaster or a best friend? Is there a middle ground? The pressures of full-time work and round-the-clock activities can make that question even more challenging to tackle.

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