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EPOCA: THE RIVER OF SAND

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EPOCA: THE RIVER OF SAND

 

The next book in the #1 New York Times best-selling Epoca series from Kobe Bryant and Ivy Claire.

As Pretia, the Princess of Epoca, prepares to return to Ecrof, the elite magical sports academy, she is focused on the most important part of her upcoming year: the Junior Epic Games. She knows that her destiny is to rule Epoca, but right now, all she wants is to be selected for the Junior Epic team so that she can compete against the best young athletes in Epoca and bring honor to her people. But as rumors begin to swirl about unrest surrounding the Games, Pretia realizes that winning might not be as simple as being the best athlete she can be. She might have to decide which is more important: being an athlete or being a leader.

Pretia‘s best friend, Rovi, is ecstatic when he hears that the Junior Epic Games will be held in Phoenis, where he lived before attending Ecrof. True, his time in Phoenis wasn‘t ideal―he‘d lived on the streets as a Star Stealer, part of a gang of kids who stole what they needed to survive―but he‘d found a home there. He‘s excited to return as a Dreamer, an athlete at the top of his game. But all is not well with the Star Stealers. Rovi‘s old friends are being blamed for the unrest surrounding the Games, even though he‘s sure they have nothing to do with it. Now that he‘s back in Phoenis, Rovi is faced with a difficult question: Is he a Dreamer or a Star Stealer? Can he be both?

As tensions mount, Pretia and Rovi, along with their friend Vera, find themselves in a race to save the Star Stealers. And they begin to understand that if anyone is going to make a new future for Epoca, it just might be them.



Geese Are Never Swans

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Geese Are Never Swans

 

Gus’s life is about one thing―swimming. He is determined to make it to the Olympics and he knows that the only coach in town who can get him there is Coach Marks. So it seems like a simple plan: convince Coach Marks to train him. Everything from there on in is just hard work – and Gus has never been afraid of hard work.

But there are a few complications. For one thing, Coach Marks was Danny’s coach. Danny, Gus’s older brother, committed suicide after failing to make the national swimming team, a big step on the way to the Olympics. And for another thing, Gus and Danny didn’t exactly get along when Danny was alive. Gus never liked living in Danny’s shadow, and that shadow has grown even longer since Danny’s death.

In this powerful novel about the punishing and the healing nature of sports, Gus’s rage threatens to swallow him at every turn. He’s angry at his brother, his mother, his coach . . . even himself. But as he works through his feelings and toward his goal, Gus does everything he can to channel his anger into excelling at the sport that he and Danny both loved, finding solace in the same place he must face his demons: the water.


Below is a list of organizations and resources available to support the mental well-being of student athletes:

The Hidden Opponent
Raising awareness for student-athlete mental health, the Hidden Opponent empowers athletes to face the hidden opponent together as a community.

instagram.com/thehiddenopponent/ 

Michael Phelps Foundation
Focused on promoting water safety, healthy living (mental and physical), and the pursuit of dreams, especially for children.

michaelphelpsfoundation.org 

TaskForce
The original art presented in this book was curated by TaskForce, a creative agency that collaborates with the most influential non- profits, brands, and people taking on the most pressing challenges facing our state, our nation, and our world. TaskForce builds capacity and community for those shaping a more empathetic society through public opinion and policy.

For more information, please visit taskforce.pr


Artist Biographies 

Artists are listed in the order in which their work appears in the book. 

BEDELGEUSE

 

Bedelgeuse (Travis Bedel) is the anatomical collage work and alias for artist Travis Bedel. Travis’s wild amalgamation of botanical, zoological, and anatomical imagery produces synergistic visuals that represent humanity’s inherent relationship to nature and the universe.

I sought to manifest an image that represented the crushing darkness of depression. Predatory sea creatures and kelp wrap around the figure, as if to keep them drowned in the grips of their suffering. From above, they are being pulled toward sparkling light from the surface, out from the darkness below.

 

 

DEEDEE CHERIEL

 

Deedee Cheriel is an Indian American artist living and working in Los Angeles. With influences derived from such opposites as East Indian temple imagery, punk rock, and her Pacific Northwest natural environment, her images are indications of how we try to connect ourselves to others and how these satirical and heroic efforts are episodes of compassion and discomfort.

In searching for an image to create for this book, I wanted to use bold loose strokes to convey flow and movement. I used white to create negative spaces to convey beauty and tension, overlapping them with bold images of anthropomorphic beings connecting and disconnecting with others.

 

Adam Enrique Rodriguez

 

Born and raised in Indio, California, Adam Enrique Rodriguez is known for his signature style of deconstructed faces and human figures. He incorporates abstraction with classical aspects, in an ongoing conversation around psychology and the human condition. Rodriguez has made art for charitable and community organizations, as well as more than twenty large-scale murals in commercial spaces, private residences, and music festivals throughout California.

For my work in Geese Are Never Swans, I highlight the intensity of the story’s vibrant character; the passion and the confusion in the life of a young athlete navigating through personal traumas, mental health, and triumphs; and the raw emotion of the human experience that connects us all.

 

Augustine Kofie

 

Born and based in Los Angeles and active in the Southern California graffiti scene since the midnineties, Augustine Kofie works in painting, collage, and mural interventions. Kofie’s fine art practice draws together the languages of graffiti’s deconstructive lettering, street culture, mechanical drafting, modern architecture, contemporary music, and 1960s–80s iconography.

My painting is inspired by the novel’s aquatic theme in its palette of blues, greens, and aquamarines, as well as its compositional elements of rip- ple and reflection. Like much of my work, the painting harmonizes opposing and contradictory dynamics in a quest for balance. In this, it reflects Gus’s quest to find a path through the struggles and challenges of his life. Sport, like art, becomes a way to organize one’s feelings, to take control of the breakage, and to create order out of chaos.

 

Najeebah Al-Ghadban

 

Najeebah Al-Ghadban is a designer and collage artist from Kuwait. Her collage work has been featured in the New York Times Magazine, the California Sunday Magazine, and Anxy magazine. She is currently a designer for the NYT Mag Labs in New York.

 



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The Wizenard Series: Season One

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The Wizenard Series: Season One

 #1 New York Times Bestseller

Reggie has never felt destined for greatness. He dreams about basketball brilliance all day and night, but the hard truth is that he’s a benchwarmer for the West Bottom Badgers the worst team in the league. Even their mysterious new coach, Rolabi Wizenard, can’t seem to help them end their losing streak.

Reggie is willing to train tirelessly to improve his game, but the gym itself seems to be working against him in magical ways. Before Reggie can become the player her dreams of being, he must survive the extraordinary trials of practice.

Basketball legend Kobe Bryant presents this illuminating follow-up to the #1 New York Times bestseller The Wizenard Series: Training Camp―a story of strain and sacrifice, supernatural breakthroughs, and supreme dedication to the game.



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Epoca: The Tree of Ecrof

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Epoca: The Tree of Ecrof

 

EPOCA: The Tree of Ecrof

Set in an alternate classical world dominated by sports and a magical power called grana, Epoca: Island of the Gods is the story of two children, the lowly born Rovi and the crown princess Pretia who uncover and battle terrible evil and discover their inner strength along the way.

Epoca: Island of the Gods takes place at the most elite sports academy in the land, where the best child-athletes are sent to hone their skills. When Rovi and Pretia arrive, each harboring a secret about themselves, they begin to suspect that something evil is at play at the school. In the course of their first year, they must learn to master their grana in order to save the world from dark forces that are rising.



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Legacy and the Queen

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Legacy and the Queen

GAME.  SET.  MAGIC.

Tennis means everything in the Republic of Nova. Too poor to afford formal training, twelve-year-old Legacy practices serves and returns against the wall of her father’s orphanage to pass the time. But all that is about to change.

Silla “the Queen,” announces her annual
tournament where citizens battle for her favor and a cash prize big enough to save Legacy’s family’s orphanage. . .and Legacy has her heart set on winning both.

In Nova, tennis can unlock inner magic, and with her family’s orphanage at stake, Legacy will need to channel hers to rise above the competition and shine.



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The Wizenard Series: Training Camp

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The Wizenard Series: Training Camp

ON THIS COURT, IT’S FEAR VS. MAGIC

A mysterious coach. Five perspectives. One team.

Magic doesn’t seem possible for the West Bottom Badgers. They’re the lowest-ranked basketball team in the league, and they live in the poorest neighborhood in Dren. Nobody expects them to succeed. Plus, every kid on the team has secret struggles of his own.

When a new coach named Rolabi Wizenard arrives on the first day of training camp, the Badgers can’t explain the magical-seeming things happening around them. Every player experiences unique visions that challenge what they know about their lives on and off the court. To survive camp, the Badgers need to take unimaginable risks, learn to trust their teammates, and confront their inner fears.

From the mind of basketball legend Kobe Bryant comes this portrait of one magical coach, told from each player’s perspective, whose unusual approach reveals how greatness lies within.



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The Mamba Mentality: How I Play

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The Mamba Mentality: How I Play

For the first time, and in his own words, Bryant reveals his famously detailed approach and the steps he took to prepare mentally and physically to not just succeed at the game, but to excel.

Readers will learn how Bryant studied an opponent, how he channeled his passion for the game, and how he played through injuries. They’ll also get fascinating granular detail as he breaks down specific plays and match-ups from throughout his career.