Watch this space for our newly revamped wompus website, coming soon. Today: Matthew Inman, Craig Steven Wilder, Jodie Gummow, Just Detention International, Henry Louis Gates Jr., and Neil Gaiman (with a special reprise appearance by Sxip Shirey).

Matthew Inman on why when your house is burning down, you should brush your teeth.

Craig Steven Wilder’s new book, Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities continues to flush out some of the hidden corners of our history. Among all the despairing news of the world, the widening and deepening conversation about race, and the rise of civil rights irrespective of sex, gender, or sexual preference give us hope.

At the intersection of slavery and sexual exploitation is the difficult subject of child trafficking. Jodie Gummow writes a layered and complex exploration on alternet about demystifying the commercial sexual exploitation of boys and transgender kids. It’s about the money of course, since the face of women and girls exploited by sex traffickers is more socially palatable to funding sources, according to the director of ECPAT-USA (End Child Prostitution and Trafficking).

Just Detention International is a health and human rights group seeking to end sexual abuse in detention. The passage of the Prison Rape Elimination Act ten years ago mandated a survey which showed that one in eight detained youth are sexually abused–and for transgender youths the number is nine times greater.

Henry Louis Gates Jr., director of the W. E. B. Dubois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard is about to launch his new PBS mini-series, The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, in which he begins to fill in some of the blanks in 500 years of history.

Neil Gaiman has some stuff to say about libraries, reading, and daydreaming, in the second annual invited lecture to The Reading Agency. You gotta love a writer who refers to fiction as the gateway drug of reading. Here’s a clip of Gaiman and Sxip Shirey playing the Sxipenspiel in a park in Berlin a couple years ago.

with love,