See KidlitWomen for daily links to posts by the children’s lit community, in celebration of Women’s History Month and focusing on improving the climate for social and gender equality. I plan to share my favorite books focused on girl characters and/or written by women through this month.
Doing something a little different today, all because I want to feature I book I haven’t read yet but am greatly anticipating. Full disclosure here, when I started out wanting to write for children 15+ years ago, author Cynthia Leitich Smith was my guide and mentor. She was patient and generous with her time and knowledge and I am forever grateful to her.
I fell in love with her work, first with Jingle Dancer, a picture book about a contemporary Native American girl excitedly preparing for an upcoming powwow where she will participate in a jingle dance for the first time. (Illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright) And then with Indian Shoes, a book with six interconnected short stories. But my favorite of her books was a YA novel, Rain is Not My Indian Name.
It’s been many years since I’ve read the book, but I recall feeling so much sympathy for the main character, Rain, who had recently lost her best friend, and used photography to help her cope with grief. She also struggles with deciding how involved she wants to become in a controversy that has come up around her aunt’s Indian Camp. (Ah this makes me want to re-read this book!)
And now I recently learned that the author, who has had success with a series of paranormal novels, will be publishing a contemporary YA novel this fall! I’m beside myself with excitement!
Hearts Unbroken is due out on November 6. This from the publisher’s site: When Louise Wolfe’s first real boyfriend mocks and disrespects Native people in front of her, she breaks things off and dumps him over e-mail. It’s her senior year, anyway, and she’d rather spend her time with her family and friends and working on the school newspaper. The editors pair her up with Joey Kairouz, the ambitious new photojournalist, and in no time the paper’s staff find themselves with a major story to cover: the school musical director’s inclusive approach to casting The Wizard of Oz has been provoking backlash in their mostly white, middle-class Kansas town. From the newly formed Parents Against Revisionist Theater to anonymous threats, long-held prejudices are being laid bare and hostilities are spreading against teachers, parents, and students — especially the cast members at the center of the controversy, including Lou’s little brother, who’s playing the Tin Man. As tensions mount at school, so does a romance between Lou and Joey — but as she’s learned, “dating while Native” can be difficult. In trying to protect her own heart, will Lou break Joey’s?
AHHHH! I can’t wait! But I will! Pre-order here.