Upcoming Events

September 20
3:30PM
Teen Space at Westerly Public Library
https://www.westerlylibrary.org/events/teen/creativewriting

Teen Creative Writing Workshop
With Rory Power


September 22

SALEM LITERARY FESTIVAL
YA Day at House of Seven Gables
http://salemlitfest.org/wp/?page_id=609


October 12
TEXAS TEEN BOOK FESTIVAL
Southwestern University, Texas
https://texasteenbookfestival.org/


October 22
Barnes & Noble
Roseville, CA
With Traci Chee and Anna-Marie Mclemore


October 23
Hicklebee’s Books
San Jose, CA
With James Brandon


November 2
YALSA Symposium
Memphis TN


November 21
NCTE
Baltimore, MD


November 23-24
MIAMI BOOK FESTIVAL
Miami, FL

The Moon Within

If my book’s birthday has as much heart, magic and song as THE MOON WITHIN’s book launch, I will count myself very lucky indeed.

Aida Salazar’s powerful and heart-expanding middle grade book in verse, THE MOON WITHIN was celebrated in grand style, beginning with the incomparable Sandra Garcia Rivera, who sang two bomba & plena songs, and blessed the proceedings with her passionate voice.

Then Aida spoke about some of what brought her to write a fiction book about menstruation and how a whole generation of girls had grown up without one that could speak to them. It was illuminating and joyous.

If you haven’t gotten your hands on this lovely book, do yourself a favor and buy it. For yourself, for a little girl or boy you care about.

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High School Kids are MAGIC.

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I was maybe in a blind panic about visiting my first class of real-life high school kids. I’m not great at talking about myself or my book in the best of times (I MEAN. That’s why I WRITE.) But my friend, Michele Fecher, is a wonderful teacher at Bordentown Regional High School and she promised me her kids were not going to murder me or fall asleep while I talked. (Though, there was that one kid in the back who definitely sounded like he was snoring…)

I panicked for nothing. Not because I’m so wonderful, but because kids are magic. I already knew this; I have two kids of my own. But I didn’t realize these high school students would be so curious about me and so willing to share their own writing.

There was slam poetry that made me laugh and want to weep, almost at the same time. There were sweet love stories and spooky ghost stories. I was astounded by the sheer creative talent and energy.

In one class, an elective on YA Contemporary literature, I got to chat with the kids about what they liked, what they loved and what they wished they could find. I handed out book recommendations like I was handing out Tic-Tacs. A book that skillfully managed several, interwoven time periods? THE GIRL WITH THE RED BALLOON by Katherine Locke. Books with f/f love stories? Beside mentioning THE GRIEF KEEPER, I recommended GEORGIA PEACHES & OTHER FORBIDDEN FRUIT by Jaye Robin Brown and WILD BEAUTY by Anne-Marie Mclemore. One kid, who read an amazing poem about wishing to see a different face in the mirror, asked for own-voices trans YA recommendations. I gave him a link to Ray Stoeve’s website (http://bit.ly/2SlC5y8) . For the two kids who claimed they were not ‘good readers’ I recommended anthologies; FRESH INK and BLACK ENOUGH.

I left my copies of these books for the teacher to loan out to whoever wanted them and I was thrilled to put a few favorites into eager hands. (Mental note: consider a job as a librarian; you certainly have enough cardigans.)

I haven’t had so much fun in a long time and being with these kids absolutely re-charged my batteries (not to mention just giving me joy.)

I know that not all visits will be like this. There will be bored kids. There will be rude kids, uncomfortable kids, uncomfortable teachers and moments that make me shake my head. Worst of all, I can guarantee that while talking about my book and other books I will encounter the dreaded apathetic kid. But I’m ready for all that. Because I know about the magic.

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