My Opinion: How to Build A Museum

+-+077073584_70.jpgHow To Build A Museum by Tonya Bolden
Smithsonian Series; Viking (Penguin)

Kirkus: “An inspiring tale as well as a tantalizing invitation to visit one of our country’s newest “must see” attractions. (source notes)”

When the museum itself is history, the story needs to be document and the best way to do that is with author Tonya Bolden.

When I received this book in the mail, I knew I had to write about it and I also knew that I was too close to the author to review it. This is a somewhat biased opinion piece about Tonya’s most recent book.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been looking at postings about the National Museum of African American History and Culture which will have it’s grand opening next week. The images in the book show a magnificent building that was built on some of the most important space in this country for collecting history. Tonya’s book documents the legacy that got the museum funded and approved through Congress, that developed an architectural plan and that collected and curated items for the museum to house.

In telling the story of the museum, she identifies the roles so many people played in building this museum and in doing so, the important role we all play in creating history. Imagines throughout the book excite readers about what they will find in the museum’s collection while the text describes the symbolic details embedded in the building and the process of getting things done. Young readers will be able to take ownership of their part in history and not just see ‘history’ as belonging to someone else.

Published by the Smithsonian, How to Build a Museum has beautiful, high quality photos. Each page is laced with the design used to decorate the exterior of the museum. The editors did a wonderful job of organizing the photos to highlight the text and engage readers in the story.

How to Build A Museum is probably something any parent would want their child to read if they’re planning a trip to the museum or if they’re lovers of history. But, it could also be an important book for a young child who is searching for their own identity. Tonya quotes the museum’s Director, Lonnie Bunche, on the back of the book.

Whether your family’s been in this country two hundred years or twenty minutes… I want you to come to this museum and say, “I get it. This is not a black story. This is my story. This is the American story.”

As I read the book, and looked at all the realia, I started thinking about the artifacts, photos and letters I have from my family’s history. I don’t have much, but hope to maintain what I can to pass down to my children. I think this book reminded me of my history and it’s place in America’s history. I’m really excited to share this book with you!




Help Request

I’m sure you know that Latinx Heritage Month begins tomorrow and I’m sure you’re busy ordering books, building displays and planning programs to celebrate the month. I’m going to begin the month here by updating my list of MG/YA Latinx authors, and I need your help! I’m sure there are glaring omissions of new and established authors so, could you please point them out so that I can update the list on my blog? Remember, middle grade and young adult authors; I’m not looking for children’s authors or illustrators. Gracias!

updated 15 September 2016 5:30pm

Alex Sanchez
Adam Silvera
Alisa Valdés
Alma Flor Ada
Angela Cervantes
Anna-Marie McLemore
Ava Jae
Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Bettina Restrepo
Caridad Ferrer
Charles Rice González
Christina Diaz Gonzalez
Christina García
Cindy L. Rodriguez
Claudia Guadalupe Martínez
Claudia Meléndez
Courtney Alameda
Danette Vigilante
Daniel Jose Older
David Bowles
David Hernandez
Diane Gonzales Bertrand
Diana López
Donna Freitas
e. E. Charlton-Trujillo
Erika L. Sánchez
Estela Bernal
Eva Darrows
Francisco Jiménez
Francisco X. Stork
Gaby Triana
Gabby Rivera
Gary Soto
Gloria Velásquez
Jennifer Torres
Jennifer Ziegler
Joe Jiménez
Guadelupe Garcia McCall
Hillary Manahan
Isabel Quintero
Jennifer Cervantes
Jennifer Mathieu
Jenny Torres Sanchez
Jorge Aguirre
Juan Felipe Herrera
Julia Alvarez
Judith Ortiz Cofer
Kelly Loy Gilbert
Kelly Parra
Kim Baker
Latifa Sanchez
Lila Quintero Weaver
Lydia Gil
Lynn Joseph
Malin Alegria
Margarita Engle
Maria E. Andreu
Marjorie Agosín
Matt de la Peña
Meg Medina
Melissa Gray
Nancy Osa
Nicholasa Mohr
Nicola Yoon
Olive Senior
Pam Muñoz Ryan
Patrick Flores-Scott
Rafael Rosado
Raúl the Third
Ray Villareal
René Saldana Jr
Rigoberto González
Samantha Mabry
Sindy Felin
Socorro Acioli
Sofia Quintero
Sonia Manzano
Stephanie Kuehn
Steven dos Santos
Tony Medina
Torrey Maldonado
Xavier Garza
Veronica Chambers
Viola Canales
Will Alexander
Yasmin Shiraz
Yxta Maya Murray
Zoraida Córdova


Oh, let’s just get the ugly news out of the way first.

It was comments by Lionel Shriver (The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047; Harper) that led Yassmin Abdel Magied to walk out of Shriver’s speech at the Brisbane Writers Conference. Shriver, like Rosoff and so many writers feel that the latest calls for diversity is a directive on what they can or should write. Megied, much more eloquently than I expresses the fallacies of Shriver’s whitely entitled perspective. I can just see that 8 year old telling his 3 year old sibling “you can’t tell me what to do.” Or that underhanded, technology superior being in a sci fi thriller telling the little earthling the same: “You can’t tell me what to do.”

But, we do tell you that when it’s about us, we want it right. We stand up to the giant, the bully, the entitled one and make our statements. Don’t rely upon the stereotypes you’ve know all your life. The problem is, when they’re the stereotypes you’ve known all your life, and you continue to work around people from the same socio-economic group as you, they’re your neighbors and in your yoga class and in your writing groups then you have no way of know what real LGBT or real African American or real disabled people are like.

And then, you want to endow upon yourself the uber privilege of being and artist and the world is supposed to be your canvas.

 Maybe, only, possibly if we could just get more books published in #ownvoices. I have to admit it does sound like we need Book Police in saying need more editors from marginalized groups to make sure authors are getting it right when they write about marginalized people but, yes we do need that. We need it early in the process because this nonsense of calling out books after they’re published needs to stop. We’re talking about people’s careers and livelihoods here. And, we’re talking about books that portray characters and events that send numerous subliminal messages to young readers about what society thinks of them. Marginalized people want the privilege of being visible, being whole and being human. We want to be able to drop the ‘marginalized’ moniker.

Today I’m walking the walk; starting a book club on my campus, Believers in Black Girl Magic. We’re selecting our first book this evening and I’ll be sure to report back what they select. The books on the list for them to select from are Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson; Everfair by Nisi Shawl; Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie; Sister Citizen by Melissa Harris-Perry; Hidden Figures by Margo Lee Shetterly and Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler. I’m excited to get these young minds reading books with invigorating messages for young black and brown women. I hope to eventually read Juliet Takes a Breath with them. What a powerful book!!

The news is getting better!

I’ve been filling my FB pages with news of Colin Kaepernick. I love that story of the power of one! The press wanted to convince us that this young man was going to turn every NFL game in which he played into a near riot as he bordered on committing an almost unpatriotic activity when in reality, he was building a huge following and fan base. His jersey sales skyrocketed from #22 to #1 among other NFL jerseys. Not only have players on his and other NFL teams join him, but so have women’s soccer players and high school football teams. And, they did it not to echo Kaepernick, but to protest the senseless murder of young African Americans by the people paid to protect them, the police. #BlackLivesMatter.

We’re entering book award season. The short list for the Man Booker Award is out as is the long list for the National Book Award for young people’s literature. Can we stop the clock so that I can read them ALL??

Kwame Alexander Booked

Kate DiCamillo Raymie Nightingale

John Lewis, Andrew Aydin & Nate Powell (illustrator) March: Book Three

Grace Lin When the Sea Turned to Silver

Anna-Marie McLemore When the Moon Was Ours

Meg Medina Burn Baby Burn

Sara Pennypacker & Jon Klassen (illustrator) Pax

Jason Reynolds Ghost

Caren Stelson Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story

Nicola Yoon The Sun Is Also a Star

WOW!!!! Congratulations to these authors and publishers.

I haven’t even seen GHOST or THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR. Not yet…

Let’s get psyched for Latinx Heritage month that runs from 15 September – 15 October. Let’s do that by looking at the fabulous list of winners of the 2015 International Latinx Book Awards. I love that this award celebrates the vast contributions of Latinx writers throughout children’s literature by presenting awards in 23 categories. I would like to specifically recognize the Young Adult winners. You can find a complete list here.

Best Young Adult Latino Focused Book
Francisco Newton The Trails of Tizoc: An Aztec Boy in a World of Trouble
Maria Nieto The Water of Life Remains in the Head

Best Young Adult Fiction Book – English
Meg Medina Burn Baby Burn
Estela Bernal Can You See Me Now?
Daniel José Older Shadowshaper
Anna-Marie McLemore The Weight of Feathers

Best Young Adult Fiction Book – Spanish or Bilingual
Editorial Bambu Laberinto, Víctor Panicello
Gael Solano No sin Besarte
Armando Rendón Noldo Saves the Day

Best Young Adult Nonfiction Book
Sonia Manzano Becoming Maria
Margarita Engle Enchanted Air, Two Cultures, Two Wings, A Memoir

Best Educational Young Adult Book
Roxanne Ocampo Nailed It! Quetzal Mama’s Toolkit for Extraordinary College Essays

CONGRATULATIONS!! And, thanks ever so much for adding to my overly abundant reading list.

It’s really nice to see books honored that are written in own voices. It’s wonderful when Latinxs recognize the literary contributions from within their own community and it’s exhilarating when a prestigious award such is the National Book Award recognizes the outstanding talent that exists in marginalized authors. I’m so giddy for Meg Medina right now! What a year for her! And, for Nicola Yoon who’s first book is currently in production to become a major movie release. And, Jason and Kwame and… really, for any marginalized author who was able to publish this year. We have to be as excited for these established and duly honored writers as for these 2016 debut artists. All of these artists are worried about their next contract, hustling to sell the last one and crunched to find time to write. Let’s make it easy for them: follow them on social media (that’s super important in publishing today), post about their books when you read them and… keep reading them! Keep honoring #ownvoices by reading #ownvoices.


review: Playing for the Devil’s Fire

Today’s review is part of a blog tour to promote Playing for the Devil’s Fire. Here are the other spots on the tour.

    1. August 31: Rich in Color review
    2. Sept 1: The Pirate Tree review & interview
    3. Sept 4: Guest Post for Clear Eyes, Full Shelves
    4. Sept 6:Rich in Color author interview
    5. September 8: Anasasia Suen, #KidLitBookoftheday.
    6. September 9: Reading Through Life author highlight
    7. Sept 9: The Brain Lair guest post
    8. Sept. 12: Linda Washington 
    9. Sept. 13:  Mom Read It exerpt and guest post


book review: Playing for The Devil’s Fire
author: Phillippe Diederich
date: Cinco Puntos; September 2016
main character: Liberio “Boli” Flores
young adult fiction


Phillippe Diedrich describes himself as “the son of exiles”. This description seems to permeate The Devil’s Fire, his most recent book and his first venture into young adult fiction. Diedrich was born in Haiti and has lived in Mexico and the United States. In Devil’s Fire, he examines how the exiled person is perceived.

Boli and his family live in Izayoc described by the main character as “a small pueblo in a tiny valley in the Sierra Nanchititla. Even though we were only a few hours west of Mexico City, where the State of Mexico meets the states of Michoácan and Guerrero, we were hidden from the world by a pair of huge cliffs, El Cerro de la Soledad at the south and El Cerro Santacruz in the north. Nothing ever happened here.” (p. 9)

When the young people in the story have noses like potatoes, nicknames from bakery items and earn extra income by shining shoes you know you’re reading a story about working class families. These are the families that work hard for what they get. Boli’s family owns a bakery and as an established businessman, his father is quite aware of all the changes taking place in the city where nothing happens. He sees the young men from other towns driving around his city in big American cars and blasting American music. And then, he sees the decapitated head of Enrique Quintanilla, the teacher, displayed in the town square. He and his wife decide to complain to the regional authorities and they disappear from the story.

Diederich writes about the changes in this small Mexican town that are brought about by external forces, by people who rarely show their faces and consequently build no ties to the community. There is little examination of which characters are the good guys and who are the bad guys, rather the book explores the dynamic forces that lead people to be who they are and where they are.

Devil’s Fire is rich in symbolism, leaving readers many opportunities to find meaning in the text. Grandma sitting with a Superman blanket in her lap. A luchador named Chicano. The church that was falling apart. A hummingbird. The lines that blur in the marble game.

The devil’s fire is a marble that is a “little red sphere el diablito rojo. It was bright red and iridescent with a soft swirl of ygellow at the center. It was beautiful. It didn’t even look like a real marble. It glowed like a jewel, like fire.” (p. 40) And in the game of marbles, just like in the game of life sometimes you have to know when enough is enough.

As the town is being assaulted, Diederich paints a vague picture of who is doing what and why, allowing readers to build their own narrative while he keeps Boli’s narrative front and center. Deierich trusts his readers. This story of a young Mexican boy’s coming of age is written for young people who are also growing up and coming of age in a globalized society. It’s a different take on the push and pull factors of migration. With all its notes of sadness, it manages to provide hope through the act of choosing to exile one’s self.

September Releases

The Reader by Traci Chee; Putnam. ages 12 and up Debut Author
Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive. The only clue to both her aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book—a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed—and punish the people responsible.

Every Falling Star: The True Story of How I Survived and Escaped North Korea by Sungju Lee and Susan Elizabeth McClelland;  AgeAmulet Books.(ages 13–up)
Every Falling Star, the first book to portray contemporary North Korea to a young audience, is the intense memoir of a North Korean boy named Sungju who is forced at age twelve to live on the streets and fend for himself. To survive, Sungju creates a gang and lives by thieving, fighting, begging, and stealing rides on cargo trains. Sungju richly re-creates his scabrous story, depicting what it was like for a boy alone to create a new family with his gang, his “brothers”; to be hungry and to fear arrest, imprisonment, and even execution. This riveting memoir allows young readers to learn about other cultures where freedoms they take for granted do not exist.

Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige; Bloomsbury.(ages 14–up)
Seventeen-year-old Snow has spent the majority of her life within the walls of the Whittaker Institute, a high security mental hospital in upstate New York. Deep down, she knows she’s not crazy and doesn’t belong there. When she meets a mysterious, handsome new orderly and dreams about a strange twisted tree she realizes she must escape and figure out who she really is.

Using her trusting friend Bale as a distraction, Snow breaks free and races into the nearby woods. Suddenly, everything isn’t what it seems, the line between reality and fantasy begins to blur, and she finds herself in icy Algid–her true home–with witches, thieves, and a strangely alluring boy named Kai, none of whom she’s sure she can trust. As secret after secret is revealed, Snow discovers that she is on the run from a royal lineage she’s destined to inherit, a father more powerful and ruthless than she could have imagined, and choices of the heart that could change the fate of everything . . . including Snow’s return to the world she once knew. This breathtaking first volume begins the story of how Snow becomes a villain, a queen, and ultimately a hero.

Rani Patel in Full Effect by Sonia Patel; CInco Puntos. (ages 12–18)
Almost seventeen, Rani Patel appears to be a kick-ass Indian girl breaking cultural norms as a hip-hop performer in full effect. But in truth, she’s a nerdy flat-chested nobody who lives with her Gujarati immigrant parents on the remote Hawaiian island of Moloka’i, isolated from her high school peers by the unsettling norms of Indian culture where “husband is God.” Her parents’ traditionally arranged marriage is a sham. Her dad turns to her for all his needs even the intimate ones. When Rani catches him two-timing with a woman barely older than herself, she feels like a widow and, like widows in India are often made to do, she shaves off her hair. Her sexy bald head and hard-driving rhyming skills attract the attention of Mark, the hot older customer who frequents her parents’ store and is closer in age to her dad than to her. Mark makes the moves on her and Rani goes with it. He leads Rani into 4eva Flowin’, an underground hip hop crew and into other things she’s never done. Rani ignores the red flags. Her naive choices look like they will undo her but ultimately give her the chance to discover her strengths and restore the things she thought she’d lost, including her mother.

Aluta by Adwoa Badoe; Groundwood Books. (ages 14–up)
For eighteen-year-old Charlotte, university life is better than she d ever dreamed a sophisticated and generous roommate, the camaraderie of dorm living, parties, clubs and boyfriends. Most of all, Charlotte is exposed to new ideas, and in 1981 Ghana, this may be the most exciting and most dangerous adventure of all.
At first Charlotte basks in her wonderful new freedom, especially being out of the watchful eye of her controlling and opinionated father. She suddenly finds herself with no shortage of male attention, including her charismatic political science professor, fellow student activist Banahene, and Asare, a wealthy oil broker who invites Charlotte to travel with him and showers her with expensive gifts, including a coveted passport.
But Ghana is fraught with a history of conflict. And in the middle of her freshman year, the government is overthrown, and three judges are abducted and murdered. As political forces try to mobilize students to advance their own agendas, Charlotte is drawn into the world of student politics. She’s good at it, she’s impassioned, and she’s in love with Banahene. The struggle continues Aluta Aluta continua she shouts, rallying the crowd with the slogan of the oppressed. But her love of the spotlight puts her in the public eye. And when Asare entrusts her with a mysterious package of documents, she suddenly realizes she may be in real danger.
But it’s too late. As she is on her way to a meeting, Charlotte is picked up by national security, and her worst nightmares come true. And in the end, she must make a difficult and complicated decision about whether to leave her education, and her beloved Ghana, behind.

Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz;  Harlequin Teen.  (ages 14–up)
Jasmine de los Santos has always done what’s expected of her. Pretty and popular, she’s studied hard, made her Filipino immigrant parents proud and is ready to reap the rewards in the form of a full college scholarship. And then everything shatters. A national scholar award invitation compels her parents to reveal the truth: their visas expired years ago. Her entire family is illegal. That means no scholarships, maybe no college at all and the very real threat of deportation

For the first time, Jasmine rebels, trying all those teen things she never had time for in the past. Even as she’s trying to make sense of her new world, it’s turned upside down by Royce Blakely, the charming son of a high-ranking congressman. Jasmine no longer has any idea where or if she fits into the American Dream. All she knows is that she’s not giving up. Because when the rules you lived by no longer apply, the only thing to do is make up your own.

Frazzled: Everyday Disasters and Impending Doom by Booki VivatHarper Collins. (ages 8–12) DEBUT AUTHOR
Meet Abbie Wu. Abbie is in crisis and not just because she’s starting middle school or because she’s stuck in a family that doesn t quite get her or because everyone seems to have a Thing except her. Abbie Wu is always in crisis.

From debut author and professional doodler Booki Vivat, Frazzled dives right into the mind of this hilariously neurotic middle school girl as she tries to figure out who she is and where she belongs. Akin to Smile by Raina Telgemeier, Frazzled is heavily illustrated, embarrassingly honest, and sure to appeal to anyone in the middle of figuring out how to survive the everyday disasters of growing up.

One Half from the East by Nadia Hashimi; HarperCollins.  (ages 8–12)
Perfect for fans of Rita Williams-Garcia, Thanhha Lai, and Rebecca Stead, internationally bestselling author Nadia Hashimi’s first novel for young readers is a coming-of-age journey set in modern-day Afghanistan that explores life as a bacha posh a preteen girl dressed as a boy. Obayda’s family is in need of some good fortune, and her aunt has an idea to bring the family luck dress Obayda, the youngest of four sisters, as a boy, a bacha posh. Life in this in-between place is confusing, but once Obayda meets another bacha posh, everything changes. Their transformation won t last forever, though unless the two best friends can figure out a way to make it stick and make their newfound freedoms endure.

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake; Harper Teen. (ages 14–up)
In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions. But becoming the Queen Crowned isn t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.

The last queen standing gets the crown.

The Three Lucys by Hayan Charara, illus. by Sara Kahn;  Lee & Low. (ages 7–12)
Luli likes to sit in the shade of an olive tree with his beloved cats: Lucy the Fat, Lucy the Skinny, and Lucy Lucy. But when Luli and his parents go to the city to see his aunt and uncle one weekend, the cats must stay behind at home. After a fun visit with family, Luli is looking forward to going home and seeing the Lucys. But then Luli’s hometown comes under attack and the family must seek refuge at his aunt and uncle’s house. Luli doesn t understand what is happening and worries about his pets. Who will keep the three Lucys safe? And when will he and his family be able to return home?

Recipient of Lee & Low’s New Voices Honor award, The Three Lucys is inspired by real events of the July War in Lebanon. This tender story of loss, rebuilding, and healing is a tribute to the sustaining love of family, and to the power of the human spirit to hope for a peaceful future.

Metaltown by Kristen Simmons; Tor Teens. (ages 13–18)
The rules of Metaltown are simple: Work hard, keep your head down, and watch your back. You look out for number one, and no one knows that better than Ty. She’s been surviving on the factory line as long as she can remember. But now Ty has Colin. She’s no longer alone; it’s the two of them against the world. That’s something even a town this brutal can t take away from her. Until it does. Lena’s future depends on her family’s factory, a beast that demands a ruthless master, and Lena is prepared to be as ruthless as it takes if it means finally proving herself to her father. But when a chance encounter with Colin, a dreamer despite his circumstances, exposes Lena to the consequences of her actions, she ll risk everything to do what’s right.

In Lena, Ty sees an heiress with a chip on her shoulder. Colin sees something more. In a world of disease and war, tragedy and betrayal, allies and enemies, all three of them must learn that challenging what they thought was true can change all the rules.

Pasadena by Sherri L. Smith;  PG Putnam’s Sons. (ages 14–up)
Bad things happen everywhere. Even in the land of sun and roses.
When Jude’s best friend is found dead in a swimming pool, her family calls it an accident. Her friends call it suicide. But Jude calls it what it is: murder. And someone has to pay.
Now everyone is a suspect–family and friends alike. And Jude is digging up the past like bones from a shallow grave. Anything to get closer to the truth. But that’s the thing about secrets. Once they start turning up, nothing is sacred. And Jude’s got a few skeletons of her own.
In a homage to the great noir stories of Los Angeles, award-winning author Sherri L. Smith’s”Pasadena”is a tale of love, damage and salvation set against the backdrop of California’s City of Roses.

Into White by Randi Pink; Feiwel & Friends; ages 12 and up. Debut Author
LaToya Williams lives in Montgomery, Alabama, and attends a mostly white high school. It seems as if her only friend is her older brother, Alex. Toya doesn t know where she fits in, but after a run-in with another student, she wonders if life would be different if she were . . . different. And then a higher power answers her prayer: to be anything but black. Toya is suddenly white, blond, and popular. Now what?

Randi Pink’s audacious fiction debut dares to explore a subject that will spark conversations about race, class, and gender.

Going Geek by Charlotte Huang;  Delacorte. (ages 12–up)
It wasn t supposed to be this way. Skylar Hoffman’s senior year at her preppy East Coast boarding school should have been perfect:
amazing boyfriend
the coolest friends
the most desirable dorm
But it’s far from it. To her dismay, Skylar’s not going to rule senior year because she’s stuck in Abbot House, a tiny dorm known for, well, nothing. Living with a group of strangers everyone thinks is lame is bad enough. Worse is that Skylar wasn t exactly truthful about how she spent summer break in Los Angeles and her little white lie is causing her once rock-solid romance to crumble fast. And when it turns out that Skylar’s best friend is the one responsible for having her booted from Lincoln? It’s an all-out war.
Stepping out of her comfort zone never felt so scary or necessary. But everything is different now. Including, maybe, Skylar herself.

Lucy and Linh by Alice Pung;  Alfred A. Knopf. (ages 12–up)
Lucy is a bit of a pushover, but she’s ambitious and smart, and she has just received the opportunity of a lifetime: a scholarship to a prestigious school, and a ticket out of her broken-down suburb. Though she’s worried she will stick out like badly cut bangs among the razor-straight students, she is soon welcomed into the Cabinet, the supremely popular trio who wield influence over classmates and teachers alike.
Linh is blunt, strong-willed, and fearless everything Lucy once loved about herself. She is also Lucy’s last solid link to her life before private school, but she is growing tired of being eclipsed by the glamour of the Cabinet.
As Lucy floats further away from the world she once knew, her connection to Linh and to her old life threatens to snap. Sharp and honest, Alice Pung’s novel examines what it means to grow into the person you want to be without leaving yourself behind.

Watched by Marina Budhos;  Wendy Lamb Books. (ages 12–up)
Naeem is far from the model teen. Moving fast in his immigrant neighborhood in Queens is the only way he can outrun the eyes of his hardworking Bangladeshi parents and their gossipy neighbors. Even worse, they re not the only ones watching.Cameras on poles.Mosques infiltrated. Everyone knows: Be careful what you say and who you say it to. Anyone might be a watcher.
Naeem thinks he can charm his way through anything, until his mistakes catch up with him and the cops offer a dark deal. Naeem sees a way to be a hero a protector like the guys in his brother’s comic books. Yet what is a hero? What is a traitor? And where does Naeem belong?

Freedom over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan.;  Atheneum. (ages 6–10)
Using original slave auction and plantation estate documents, Ashley Bryan offers a moving and powerful picture book that contrasts the monetary value of a slave with the priceless value of life experiences and dreams that a slave owner could never take away.
Imagine being looked up and down and being valued as less than chair. Less than an ox. Less than a dress. Maybe about the same as a lantern.
You, an object. An object to sell.
In his gentle yet deeply powerful way, Ashley Bryan goes to the heart of how a slave is given a monetary value by the slave owner, tempering this with the one thing that CAN T be bought or sold dreams. Inspired by the actual will of a plantation owner that lists the worth of each and every one of his workers, Bryan has created collages around that document, and others like it. Through fierce paintings and expansive poetry he imagines and interprets each person’s life on the plantation, as well as the life their owner knew nothing about their dreams and pride in knowing that they were worth far more than an Overseer or Madam ever would guess. Visually epic, and never before done, this stunning picture book is unlike anything seen.

Rights Reports: August 2016

New books deals for Native/Authors of color as reported in Publishers Weekly.

Knopf has bought Vanessa Brantley-Newton‘s picture book Grandma’s Purse, featuring a girl who is enthralled with her grandmother and all the wonders she might be hiding in her bag. Publication is scheduled for spring 2018.

HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books has acquired Mia Garcia‘s second novel, The Year of Everything. The book follows four friends who assign each other New Year’s resolutions to try to change the course of their disastrous lives. It will publish in winter 2018.

Penguin’s Nancy Paulsen Books has acquired Vanessa Brantley Newton‘s Jewel, a picture book about a girl who worries that she’ll never be as talented as her sisters, until she discovers her remarkable talent for spelling. Publication is slated for fall 2018.

Greenwillow has bought world English rights to Legendry, a YA anthology of re-imaginings of East and South Asian mythology, folklore and fairy tales, to be edited byEllen Oh (l.) and Elsie Chapman. The anthology will feature stories by Melissa de la Cruz, Julie Kagawa, Roshani Chokshi, Alexander Chee, Renee Ahdieh, Alyssa Wong, Aliette de Bodard, and more. Publication is set for summer 2018.

Scholastic/Graphix has acquired world rights to two books in a YA graphic novel series by Amy Kim Kibuishi. They recount the story of Tabby Charon, who, after her father dies, travels to a distant world of magic and beauty where she meets a handsome boy and learns of her destiny. Publication of the first book is scheduled for 2019.

Putnam has bought world English rights for a YA duology from Renée Ahdieh. The first book, Flame in the Mist, is set against the backdrop of feudal Japan, where Mulan meets Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness. Publication is slated for May 2017.

Running Press Kids has acquired Jannie Ho‘s Bear and Chicken, a picture book about a defrosted chicken who is convinced that Bear is going to eat him for lunch. Publication is scheduled for fall 2017.

S&S/Paula Wiseman Books has bought world rights to a picture book biography of a little-known journalist byLesa Cline-Ransome, with 2016 Golden Kite winner John Parra illustrating. Publication is slated for fall 2019.

Feiwel and Friends has acquired the Arena trilogy by Taran Matharu, author of the bestselling Summoner series. In the new series, a race of aliens has ruled our universe for billions of years and have evolved to become immortal, with god-like levels of technology. They abduct “lesser” life forms and leave them on other planets, forcing them to battle with other races for their twisted entertainment. Publication will begin in spring 2019.

Simon Pulse has acquired Gloria Chao’s debut novel, tentatively titled American Panda. Inspired by the author’s experiences as a second-generation Taiwanese-American, the novel follows 17-year-old Mei, whose parents want her to become a doctor and marry a Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer despite her germophobia and crush on a Japanese classmate. Publication is planned for spring 2018.

Scholastic has acquired world rights to Jaime Reed’s YA contemporary novel Perfect Match. When 18-year-old Janell’s childhood-BFF-turned-rival, Alyssa, is hospitalized due to complications from diabetes, Janell sets their differences aside, defies the risks of racially mixed transplants, and volunteers as a donor. But the test results reveal that Janell is the only kidney donor match in the entire state – a fact that could save (or take) Alyssa’s life. Publication is planned for 2018.