Jonaki Mehta

Calvin was always a boy — but the world did not recognize him that way.

That's the story in the new children's book Calvin. Authors JR and Vanessa Ford show how their young protagonist navigates the complicated feelings of being a transgender kid and how he comes into expressing who he really is, with illustrations from Kayla Harren.

The Fords are also parents to two children, one who is trans and inspired this book. Ellie first raised the topic shortly after their 5th birthday — the family is now six years into their journey.

Just a few blocks away from a stretch of busy highway in LaPlace, La. — about 30 miles northwest of New Orleans — Donald Caesar Jr., 49, walks down the street he grew up on and has lived his entire life. Even a month after Hurricane Ida pummeled Louisiana as a Category 4 storm, this street and many others in the hardest-hit areas of the state are still completely unrecognizable.

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At the moment, Tammy and Benny Alexie are staying in a cream-colored house that overlooks the Mississippi River delta. The house survived the flooding of Hurricane Ida with minimal damage because it stands on stilts. An expansive deck in the back is covered with an insect net on all four sides, a long wooden table in the middle, and a propane grill in the corner where the Alexies have been making their meals for the past six weeks. Their three children and two grandchildren are staying with them.

In the wee hours of a Saturday morning this past June, Mary Waters pulled into a grocery store parking lot in St. Louis. It was where she had been working for more than a year, stocking the freezer section.

"I sat in the parking lot, and I tried to will myself to go in, and it wasn't happening. So I just drove away," Waters said.

And she never looked back.

Waters is one of a growing number of Americans who have walked away from their jobs in 2021 — a record-setting year for job quits in the United States.