st. louis | Top Trumps USA, creators of classic games and puzzles, will soon debut Monopoly: St. Louis Edition, under license from Hasbro. The company is seeking well-established St. Louis-area businesses and nonprofits to be part of this historic way to honor neighborhoods and attractions throughout the metro. Monopoly: St. Louis Edition will switch out the perennial board game’s familiar Atlantic City squares, from Boardwalk to Park Place, for St. Louis businesses, nonprofits and landmarks. The St. Louis board will also include a customized Community Chest, Chance playing cards and Monopoly’s legendary phony currency, ensuring each detail of the game pays homage to beloved features of the Gateway City. And the mayor of our town is completely on board. “I’m an avid Monopoly player and happy this company has recognized the brilliance of St. Louis,” says Mayor Tishaura O. Jones. “What an amazing source of pride!” To ensure the board captures the most essential elements of the Lou, Top Trumps is seeking recommendations from metro residents about which locations should be included as squares on the board—in addition to such obvious choices as the Gateway Arch—so your concern has the momentous opportunity to be included in the game … into perpetuity. Email your submission or business inquiry to for consideration. The game will debut after Halloween and be available in stores and online at retailers, including CVS, Amazon and select local stores.

wash u.
Acclaimed novelist Amor Towles is slated to appear May 1 at Wash U.’s Graham Chapel to discuss and sign his new fiction collection, Table for Two. Tickets for the 7 p.m. event—presented by County Library Foundation’s Favorite Author Series, Wash U. and The Novel Neighbor—can be purchased through Eventbrite. The bestselling author of A Gentleman in Moscow and The Lincoln Highway, Towles presents a richly detailed and sharply drawn collection of six short, NYC-based stories, plus a novella set in Golden Age Hollywood featuring one of his most beloved characters. The New York stories, most of which take place around Y2K, consider the fateful consequences that can spring from brief encounters and the delicate mechanics of compromise that operate at the heart of modern marriages. With Eve in Hollywood, Towles returns to the indomitable Evelyn Ross from Rules of Civility, his bestselling debut. Told from seven points of view, the novella describes how Eve crafts a new future for herself—and others—in a noirish tale that takes us through the movie sets, bungalows and dive bars of L.A. in the late 1930s. Written with his signature wit, humor and sophistication, insiders say Table for Two is a glittering addition to Towles’ canon of stylish and transporting fiction. His novels have collectively sold millions of copies and been translated into more than 35 languages.

the metro
Here the moon goes again, to block out Ol’ Sol completely … just not around here. In Missouri, one of the closest and best places to see the total solar eclipse April 8 will be in Cape Girardeau. Now, if you’re one of those stick-in-the-muds who still thinks the people who live in that state just to the right of us are ‘Illinaliens,’ you wouldn’t deign to travel over there to view totality. Or, would you? Red Bud, Illinois, will see 3 minutes and 50 seconds of totality, something like what we saw seven years ago throughout the metro, when it became as dark as dawn or dusk in these parts and the shadows looked all weird. This time, we’ll have an annular or partial eclipse, which means you’ll have to dig around in that drawer where you stored the eye protection for our previous once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event. (The next won’t happen here until 2044. I’ll be 89. You?) Don’t look right at the sun, even if using your finest polarized sunglasses, NASA insists. Get the special eyewear designed specifically for this purpose (which you can buy in bulk quantities). Anyhow, who’s up for a road trip? It’s 98.53 miles to Cape Girardeau, but it’s only 38 miles to Red Bud. And as I recall, since we have friends out in the country not all that far—as the drunken crow flies—there’s at least one Casey’s convenience store along the way. So, we’re good!

notable neighbors
u. city
You gotta believe. Julius B. Anthony certainly does. School District of U. City has become the latest—and ongoing—beneficiary of a Believe Literacy Lab for young should-be readers, with its third such center having opened at Jackson Park Elementary School—the district’s fourth is planned for the not-too-distant future. Anthony, president of St. Louis Black Authors of Children’s Literature, is grateful for the support of Build-A-Bear Foundation and Maxine Clark. The purpose of St. Louis Black Authors is to help pupils become confident and competent readers by the end of third grade. The nonprofit’s mission dovetails with that of the Build-A-Bear Foundation, which has a critical focus both locally and nationally on increasing literacy. Developing readers helps build their sense of identity and self-confidence, especially when they see characters who look like themselves and have experiences they can relate to. This is not the Dick & Jane approach to reading instruction that so many of us remember from primary school. Anthony, whose background includes working both as a teacher and administrator, now works full-time for the nonprofit, and realizes his task remains an uphill battle. In a recent conversation with Carol Daniel on Nine PBS, he said that research shows 80% of Black children failed the group’s litmus test. “It’s not a panacea, but can cure some of the ills,” he acknowledges. “Black children who cannot read at the end of third grade have a grim time growing into a thriving adult life.” There are 13 Believe labs in the metro and three in preschool programs; the project will enter its first middle school in the fall. “We work in those communities where there’s a need,” he says. “Parents often don’t have the skills because the school system failed them. This vicious cycle could be a beautiful cycle! As we help the kids develop a positive self-image, it’s best for our city.” Anthony, who lives in Tower Grove South, wrote Me, a children’s book of poetic affirmations drawn from thoughts and ideas he would share with his pupils in the morning. He smiles. “That’s what my teachers did for me!” The affirmations helped the kids build self-esteem, buoyed by his inherent warmth and enthusiasm. Between stints working in formal education, Anthony enjoyed reading children’s literature, which is overwhelmingly upbeat: “It gives them hope the world will be that way.” He shares an amusing anecdote about meeting prominent and prolific children’s author Patricia McKissack, a St. Louisan who wrote many of her books, some of them biographies, with husband Fredrick, who enjoyed doing research. Anthony shared his book with her. “Is this a pamphlet?” she asked, with no intent to be condescending. “At first, I was a little deflated,” admits Anthony. “But it’s all good.” Anthony’s literary output will likely remain at one. One thing he doesn’t concentrate much on is writing the nonprofit’s annual report. “They don’t even read those, anyway,” he notes. Instead, much effort goes toward beefing up his nonprofit’s social media. For more information on St. Louis Black Authors, search Instagram for stlblackauthor and you’ll be rewarded with dozens of interesting posts.