Latina writer of books for kids of all ages.

Posts tagged ‘Candlewick authors’

A letter to RVA about Girls of Summer 2017

January 16, 2017

img_0609It’s MLK Day in our nation, during a time when our country is heartbreakingly fractured. On Saturday, January 14, 2017, the two of us took a stand and walked in the March on Monument, a peaceful coming together of the various social justice groups that serve the Richmond community.  Two thousand or so of our neighbors stood shoulder to shoulder chanting a call and response:

Show Me What Democracy Looks Like! THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE!

What do we need? LOVE. When do we need it? NOW. What do we need? Unity. When do we need it? NOW.

There were older women and men. Parents pushing strollers and carrying signs. Old Basset hounds. Seasoned activists and college students. Wheelchair users. Artists, writers, musicians. And, members of the faith community.

Looking around, we saw our community celebrating diversity and inclusion at the statue of Robert E. Lee asking, How do we knit ourselves together in strength? How can we make our community a place where all people are respected and cared for? What can each of us offer?

We had been thinking long and hard about Girls of Summer, our curated reading list for strong girls, now approaching its seventh year. To be frank, last year, we wondered if it might be time to let the list go. Exhausted and overscheduled, we could point to dozens of other reading lists for girls to choose from.

But then the world got upended in deep and disturbing ways, most notably in an infamous video and talk of grabbing women by their genitals. And we realized that now was not the time to stop. There is still so much work to do together to make this world safe, secure, and nurturing of girls.

So plans have changed.

For the next four years, not only are we not letting go of Girls of Summer, but we are going to grow it big. We’ll use every ounce of our strength as authors, mothers, and literary citizens to build it up as a resource to empower young women of all ages to become lifelong readers and learners, with the tools to find their voices, to stand up, and to protect themselves.

So, here is the first of what will be many exciting changes this year:

Our Girls of Summer team is growing. We are joined by new and dynamic friends with loving ties to our city. These are book women, strong women, and advocates who will be helping to choose our list, plan our event, and spread the word to girls here at home and around the country. They are:

stacyhawkinsadamsheadshotStacy Hawkins Adams

amanda_headshot-cropped-300x294Amanda Nelson

aisha-saeed-headshotAisha Saeed

maya-smart-headshot-2016Maya Smart

 

 

 

In the coming months, you can expect to hear about new a partnership with Richmond Young Writers, too, as we develop new ways for young people to have access to our visiting authors. You’ll hear about a literary breakfast event organized by our longtime champions at the Richmond Public Library and about new schools and organizations who have asked to join us in this effort. And it’s our hope that you will, in fact, engage with us through attendance, earmarked donations to the Richmond Public Library foundation, and support with new and urgent energy.

We linked arms as we marched on Saturday, in effort to stay warm and in thanksgiving for this friendship of ours. Encircled by thousands of new friends, we got caught up in the spirit of loving kindness and the spirit of justice that rolled down Monument Avenue. How did this happen, we wondered? Just two girls: one with roots in Cuba and one from Mississippi, two friends who have found that it’s our differences that make us strong and our shared values that keep us brave.

Our friendship is what sparked Girls of Summer, but we know that friendship alone isn’t what sustains this important project. For that kind of sustenance, we need a community filled with smart people who care about books and reading in the lives of every day folks. (Here’s looking at you bbgb books and Kris Spisak – champions from the start.) We need a community that is invested in respecting and empowering females, from ages eight to eighty-eight. We need neighbors who insist on equality and inclusion where we live, work, and play.

And in Richmond, Virginia, as it turns out,  we have found exactly that.

Stayed tuned.

Meg Medina and Gigi Amateau are authors of works for young readers. Among their many projects, they are the cofounders of Girls of Summer List, a curated summer reading list for strong girls. They live (proudly) in Richmond, Virginia.

We’re Making (Badass)History: A Google Hangout with YA authors

I’ll be joining three amazing authors for a Google Hangout on Sunday, March 6. Check out the details and mark your calendar.

Banner_BadassHistoryFinal

 

 

Who will be there?

ForbiddenOrchid_ForFinal_LR

 

 

Sharon Biggs Waller
The Forbidden Orchid

Synopsis: 1861, Kent, England. 17-year-old Elodie Buchanan is the eldest of ten girls, all named for flowers, and daughter of a world-famous Victorian plant hunter and Darwinist. When an accident leaves her father immobile and badly in debt, Elodie herself must journey to China in search of a rare orchid to save her family from debtors prison. Along the way she finds danger, deception, and first love. Published by Viking, February 2nd, 2016.

Starred in PW and School Library Journal

“VERDICT A historical romance with a strong female protagonist, sure to find fans.–School Library Journal


9780763678487Jessica Spotswood
A Tyranny of Petticoats: 15 Stories of Belles, Bankrollers, and Other Badass Girls

Synopsis: Join fifteen of today’s most talented writers of young adult literature on a thrill ride through history with American girls charting their own course. They are monsters and mediums, bodyguards and barkeeps, screenwriters and schoolteachers, heiresses and hobos. They’re making their own way in often-hostile lands, using every weapon in their arsenals, facing down murderers and marriage proposals. And they all have a story to tell.

Starred review in Booklist

“Readers of historical fiction and adventure need look no further.” ~ Kirkus


SteepAndThornyWay_CVCat Winter
The Steep and Thorny Way

Hanalee Denney’s hometown is not a welcoming place in the 1920s. Hanalee is the daughter of a white woman and an African-American man, so she has almost no rights by law. If that weren’t enough, the Ku Klux Klan is a powerful force in the area, breeding fear and hatred, even among friends. Her father, Hank Denney, died a year ago, hit by a drunk-driving teenager. Now the killer is out of jail and back in town . . . but he claims that Hank wasn’t killed by the accident at all, but, instead, was poisoned by the doctor who looked after him—who just happens to be Hanalee’s new stepfather. The only way for Hanalee to get the answers she desperately needs is to ask her father—a “haint” who wanders the roads at night.Inspired by Hamlet and infused with the real history and feel of Prohibition-era Oregon, The Steep and Thorny Way is a gripping and thoughtful story of intolerance, forgiveness, and finding one’s own path.

Starred reviews in Kirkus, School Library Journal, and Booklist

“A powerful, gripping, and exceptionally well-executed glimpse into a little-known corner of U.S. history.” Booklist


BurnBabyBurn_cvrSktch-7 copy 2Meg Medina
Burn Baby Burn

Synopsis: New York, summer 1977. Nora Lopez is seventeen, in love with both a new guy and disco music. But the city is besieged by arson, a massive blackout, and a serial killer named Son of Sam who shoots young women on the streets. And her troubles don’t even end there. Her brother, Hector, is growing more threatening by the day, and her mother is helpless or unwilling to stop his decline. Life is a series of secrets, with tempers and temperatures running high. What will it take for Nora to survive?

Starred reviews in Kirkus, School Library Journal, Booklist, and The Horn Book

“Rooted firmly in historical events, Medina’s latest offers up a uniquely authentic slice-of-life experience set against a hazy, hot, and dangerous NYC backdrop.” ~Kirkus

A True Bienvenidos

A warm welcome!

A warm welcome!

I spent a wonderful morning at Good Shepherd Episcopal School visiting with students from Pre-K through the eighth grade. It is so exciting to find schools like this where  the students are so obviously honored and loved.

Favorite comment:

On hearing that my tía Isa was actually a terrible driver:  “Your next book should be Tía Isa Goes to the Emergency Room.

Three best questions:

My fellow dinersDo you ever find that you accidentally put pieces of one story in another story?

How do you know if your idea should be a book?

(With a worried look.) Is your tía Isa still driving on the streets?

Most touching event:

Chef Sue (who cooks homemade from organic produce every day for these sweet kids) made me “lechon” (pulled Cuban pork), white rice and black beans, so that I could enjoy un buen almuerzo. We even had merengues for dessert.  (A big hit. “Yum! You got this cookie right,” said one of the third graders.)

A Cuban feast for school lunch!

A Cuban feast for school lunch!

Chef Sue!

Chef Sue!

Best slang I taught them:

¡Pin Pan Pun! (rollaway bed)

Happiest coincidence:

Señora Cardounel, the  Spanish teacher, is from Cuba, too. We chatted in Spanish and swapped lots of stories. I hope she’ll visit me soon.

The fabulous Mrs. Dysart

The fabulous Mrs. Dysart

Thank you, Ms. Dysart and all the lovely faculty and students at Good Shepherd! If I had to go to school again, I would want to go to a place just like Good Shepherd.

Scenes for the Girls of Summer Live Launch

The Girls of Summer 2012 site is live — 18 great summer reads for girls! But here are some shots from a truly magical night under the shady trees of Library Park in Richmond, VA. More than 100 girls, moms, librarians, teachers, and friends gathered for ice cream, book talks, and a chance to meet the fabulous Wendy Shang, author of The Great Wall of Lucy Wu. Thank you to everyone at the Richmond Public Library, to bbgb tales for kids (our bookseller), to Penelope Carrington for filming, and to the Ice Cream Connection for the fantastic refreshments and music!

Mammas, grandmas, bitty babies

Winners of our picture book, chapter book, and early middle grade bag of books! Cute or what?

My new magical realism book bag. A present from Betty Sanderson!

The lucky winner of our middle grade and YA book titles!