Skip to main content
Tag

Kirkus

The Last Month of 2020… An Update.

By #LetsStayConnected, Appearances
I’ve never been so eager to wrap up a year in my whole life – and I’m sure I’m not alone. I’m hanging on, helped in part by the lovely inclusion of Evelyn Del Rey is Moving Away in “best of 2020” lists at Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, New York Public Library, Chicago Public Library, and Amazon. But I also have a handful of events between now and the end of the year that are bringing me close to friends I admire – a much-needed connection. Here are a few highlights of places where we can connect around books and authors, if we’ve missed each other this year. As a heads up, I expect to keep a very quiet 2021 calendar while I finish up a manuscript and usher two new books into the world. A Conversation with Robin Farmer, author of Malcolm and Me:  I’m excited to be hosted by A Mighty Blaze on December 3 at 4 pm EST, where I’ll be talking with debut author (and dear friend) Robin Farmer, whose new YA novel, Malcolm and Me has a heroine that I think will steal your heart. Latinx Kidlit Festival:  If you haven’t signed up, please do so right away for the inaugural Latinx Kidlit Festival on December 4 and 5. It’s an astounding lineup of new and veteran Latinx authors working for kids right now. What better way to sample their work before the eventual return to in-person school visits and conferences? I’ll be the...
Read More

Football, Racism & Latino History for Teens: A talk with Sandra Neil Wallace

By Guests, Latino Life, picture book, middle grade, YA, What I'm reading

The holidays are a time to invite friends to your house, and that’s true for this blog, too. I’m honored to have Sandra Neil Wallace with me this week. Sandra is a former ESPN sportscaster and author of Muckers (Knopf 2013), a YA novel for anyone who loves fútbol Americano and underdog stories. But more important to me, it’s also a thoughtful look at anti-Latino racism in the 1950s and the difficult circumstances of Mexican-American families in Arizona at that time. Based on true events, the novel follows Red O’Sullivan, team quarterback, and his friend Cruz as they cobble together their high school’s last football season.  It offers us not only an inspiring look back, but also a way to ask questions about where we are now in sports and race. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IecqNriZVBY&w=420&h=315] ________________________ How did you discover this story? I was living in Sedona, Arizona, working as an ESPN announcer and discovered the Muckers story in a box of letters written to the principal of Jerome High School. Most of the letters were from young Mexican-American men who had graduated and gone to war. The letters helped me uncover the incredible sports triumph of the 1950 football team. Despite being the smallest squad in the state, playing on a rock field, and facing ridicule for being an integrated team, they made a run for the state championship. The football season in Muckers is modeled after theirs, and I interviewed surviving players to create characters I’d imagine experiencing the hardships of that time…

Read More

My December reading list

By picture book, middle grade, YA, What I'm reading

I did some holiday shopping today, but to treat myself kindly (and to avoid becoming a lunatic by Noche Buena), I made a pit stop at my favorite public library. That’s the Tuckahoe Area library in Henrico, VA, where the librarians make me feel like family and don’t mind walking me around to the different shelves like a lost puppy. These days I’m on the hunt for books at every age group that really dazzle me for their appeal for girls. (All suggestions welcome.) You might remember that I’m half the brains behind Girls of Summer with my friend, Gigi Amateau. We are spending this winter and spring discovering new writers and dreaming of what will make our Must Reads for 2012. Vicky Smith at Kirkus recently posted a nifty list of best books for 2011, so naturally I got curious. Very helpful, as it’s divided by categories. I picked up Inside and Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai and The Fires Beneath the Sea by Lydia Millet on her recommendation. Then, because I’m a browser, I grabbed How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr (Nat’l Book Award finalist for Story of a Girl) and Mary Hooper’s Fallen Grace, which the Times of London compared to Philip Pullman’s work on Victorian life. Finally, I took a drive to my closest indie bookstore, bbgb, where a team of design “elves” were making snowflakes and other store decorations. I picked up Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu. If you follow Shelf Awareness, you know…

Read More