Mark your calendars: Saturday, March 16, 2013, 2 PM – 4:30 pm. Book launch party for Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, ART 180, 114 West Marshall Street, Richmond, VA 23220
One day back in middle school, a girl I didn’t know came up to me and said, “Jackie Delgado is going to kick your ass.” If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s more or less the title of my new YA novel.
I didn’t know it then, but that moment was an awful turning point for me. If you’ve ever been targeted, you know that a low grade dread sets in and crowds out everything else, like your grades, your family, your self esteem. What followed for me were two long years of dodging a school bully and her obnoxious friends who would push me and threaten me, scream out my name and cackle in the halls. I suddenly felt scared to exist at my school, and no adult seemed capable of helping. I learned to avoid classes, to lie to my mother, to hang out with downright dangerous people so that I might become so tough that no one could ever hurt me. I wasn’t alone, of course, but you couldn’t have told me that.
The good news is that, like most of us, I survived. The bad news is that girls like Jackie still exist today, and they’re made all the fiercer with their cameras and YouTube sites and Facebook pages. I saw it as a teacher. I saw it as a mom. I see it still on the news when things spiral out of control tragically and a teen takes his or her life in despair. So, as I wrote this novel, I thought not only of my own small experience but also about what goes on right now for perfectly wonderful people who are harassed at school every day.
The book launch (press release here) is a celebration of strength and a conversation. I’m thrilled that it will be held at Atlas, ART 180′s new teen art center in Richmond’s Arts District. (Long ago, I was on their board, and they continue to amaze me with the work they do to give teens some voice and power in our city.)
I’ll do a reading and a short Q & A. Then we’ll have a performance of Pushed: explorations into bullying, an original play by the Conciliation Project. (The actors are alums of ART 180.) After that, we’ll pull teens and non profit experts from the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities and the Richmond Peace Education Center for an honest Q & A about what resources are out there to help build your strength if and when you face down ugliness.
I’m already planning refreshments and the playlist. I’m digging up book titles that might help. Please spread the word, come with a friend and help me send the book out into the world. RSVP to Meg6000@aol.com. Press release to print and share: here.
For sample chapters here
For more book events for Meg this spring, here.