Last month, Carolrhoda Books editor Amy Fitzgerald, wrote a teaser post about her upcoming trip to Book Expo America (BEA). If you haven’t yet read it, her to-do list at the end is worth a spare moment of your time.
In addition to consuming an absurd amount of leafy greens prior to her departure, Amy also mentioned practicing her Editors’ Buzz Panel speech about Auma’s Long Run, a debut novel by Eucabeth Odhiambo.
For those of you who may not know, the Middle Grade Book Editors’ Buzz Panel is a highly selective program highlighting five of the most highly anticipated middle grade books for 2017. Both the editor and the author are invited to speak about the process of writing and editing the book.
Both Amy and Eucabeth knocked it out of the park and I’ve got the iPhone footage to prove it.
Amy gets to the heart of what Auma’s Long Run is all about:
“As Americans we’re so used to stories that carry a ‘follow your dreams’ message. It’s not that simple for Auma; it isn’t that simple for many children in the US. Instead Auma’s path forward is to hang on to her dreams even when she has to put them on hold; to hang on to her dignity even when she has to make difficult compromises; to hang on to her faith in herself and in others even in the midst of this darkness nobody knows how to banish.”
Eucabeth shares why she chose to write for a middle grade audience:
“Auma asks a lot about culture and questions, ‘Why do I have to do that?’ . . . and I had the same questions. It came naturally that I was going back into myself.”
Auma’s Long Run pubs September 1, but you can enter our Goodreads contest now for a chance to win an advance reader’s copy. Digital review copies are also available for request on both NetGalley and Edelweiss.
And hey, if you read it and love it as much as we do, please consider nominating it for the Indie Next program and/or rating it on Goodreads. We’d love to know what you thought about it!
I love when my fiction and nonfiction reading converge thematically, and it just happened again for me this week, when I finished Ben Winters’s astonishing 2016 novel Underground Airlines.
In all honesty, I almost put it down three times. I was already familiar with his Raymond Chandler-esque voice from The Last Policeman (fun, but gets old), and I struggled a little with the proselytizing about race in particular.
(IMO, the protagonist would be smarter about these things, even though I get that the noir hero wants to be duped or at least has a blind side.) However, I plugged away, practicing patience, and boy oh boy was I rewarded. The end is quite a surprise, and one you don’t see coming.
I won’t give it away, but let’s just say that, as a novel about deep racial injustice set within a technologically advanced dystopian America, it is a perfect pairing for nonfiction works that tackle racial profiling and our very real fears of losing our humanity, both literally and figuratively.
If your YA students are interested in alternative-history fiction books–and especially if they’re looking for something to read after finishing Winter’s Underground Airlines–you’ll want to hand them a copy of Alison Marie Behnke’s Racial Profiling and Stephanie Sammartino McPherson’s Artificial Intelligence. Both pub this fall with Twenty-First Century Books and both touch on similar themes.
After reading, here are some discussion questions you could ask your students:
1. Can they make the thematic connections between the fiction and the nonfiction titles?
2. Ask them about Winters’s vision. Is he onto something or not?
3. Can they expand the reading list to include other fiction and nonfiction titles–and movies–about similar topics?
4. And is this future (or present) fearful or promising?
These are the questions I see us all struggling with in the twenty-first century. Fortunately, fiction and nonfiction books are here to help us.
It’s finally Friday, and we’ve got a giveaway to make your day even better! Here’s how you can enter to win an ARC of Geoffrey Girard’s YA novel Truthers:
Katie Wallace has never given much thought to 9/11. She was only a year old when terrorists struck American soil. But now her dad has landed in a mental institution after claiming to know what really happened. He insists the attacks were part of a government conspiracy. And he claims that Katie is living proof: the lone survivor of a massive cover-up. Hoping to free her dad, Katie sets out to investigate his bizarre claims. Soon she’s drawn into the strange and secretive world of 9/11 conspiracy theorists known as the Truthers. What is fact and what is fiction? Katie no longer knows what to believe.
“With compelling characters and non-stop action, Truthers will leave you thinking.”—Mindy McGinnis, Edgar-winning author of A Madness So Discreet and The Female of the Species
“Girard is a skilled storyteller, weaving history and conspiracy into a thriller that’s bold, smart, and impossible to put down.”—Natalie D. Richards, author of Six Months Later and One Was Lost