Lourdes Garcia-Navarro

"I wasn't afraid of fighting," Ilhan Omar writes about her childhood in Somalia in her new memoir. "I felt like I was bigger and stronger than everyone else — even if I knew that wasn't really the case."

In This Is What America Looks Like: My Journey from Refugee to Congresswoman, Omar chronicles her childhood in a middle-class family compound in Mogadishu, followed by civil war, four years in a refugee camp, a journey to the United States and ultimately her election to Congress as a Democrat representing Minnesota's 5th district.

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Earlier this year, Kelly O'Connell of Denver, Colo., started a new career as a labor and delivery nurse. But getting a job at a hospital during a pandemic - well, you can imagine how stressful that was.

Nnamdi Ogbonnaya, who releases music as NNAMDÏ, has been a staple of Chicago's indie scene for years. He's been called the city's "weirdest musician," and his most recent album, Brat, explores what happens when a kid who dreams of being an artist actually finds success.

What happens when you go back to a place you thought was your home, only to find it profoundly different? That's the subject explored in Puerto Rican indie pop duo Buscabulla's debut album, Regresa, out on May 8.

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Helen Jones is a K-through-eighth-grade music teacher in tiny Rivesville, W. Va.

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Alt.Latino host Felix Contreras offers a playlist of music that's comforting him and his listeners in these times. Listen in the audio player above and you can stream these songs by Ambar Lucid, X Alfonso, Sol Escobar, Jorge Drexler and all of Alt.Latino's favorite weekly picks on Spotify and Apple Music.

Kandace Springs' third record is a source of familiarity in uncertain times. Titled The Women Who Raised me, it's full of beloved and recognizable songs associated with jazz artists who inspired and influenced Springs as an artist: Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, Lauryn Hill and Norah Jones, among many others. But the album is not only a tribute to some of those legends, it's also a showcase of Springs' talent for reinterpreting and seamlessly blending genres.

As the coronavirus pandemic intensifies across the country, many churches, synagogues, temples and mosques are temporarily shutting their doors to all public services.

Although there are exemptions for some religious services, congregations are still expected to follow state stay-at-home orders and limitations on gatherings.

Wu Fei and Abigail Washburn, who released a self-titled debut album as a duo on Friday, have lived almost parallel lives. Both women were born in 1977, and both grew up to be accomplished and virtuosic folk musicians, albeit in completely different folk traditions. Wu is a composer and a world-renowned virtuoso on the guzheng, a 2500-year-old string instrument which is a staple of Chinese folk music. Meanwhile, Washburn is a banjo player who has won a Grammy Award for her reinterpretations of traditional Appalachian music.

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