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YA authors Nic Stone and Ibi Zoboi spotlight Black history and healing in their latest novels for middle-grade readers. In Clean Getaway, an eleven-year-old boy takes a long drive through the American South with his grandma. Their road trip is filled with perseverance, hope, and love, even as Jim Crow and segregation mar the landscape they call home. In Zoboi’s My Life as an Ice-Cream Sandwich, a twelve-year-old girl living with her grandfather, one of NASA's first African American engineers, flees her hometown in the wake of racist violence and migrates north to Harlem, where new fears and self-discoveries await her. Stone and Zoboi discuss the importance of joy, survival, and family throughout Black history, as well as the power of fiction to reclaim true stories that risk getting lost.
Nic Stone is an Atlanta native and a Spelman College graduate. Her debut novel for young adults, Dear Martin, was a New York Times best seller and a William C. Morris YA Debut Award finalist. She is also the author of the teen titles Odd One Out, a novel about discovering oneself and who it is okay to love, which was an NPR Best Book of the Year and a Rainbow Book List Top Ten selection, and Jackpot, a love-ish story that takes a searing look at economic inequality. Nic lives in Atlanta with her family. Learn more at nicstone.info and follow her on Instagram at @nicstone.
Ibi Zoboi is the author American Street, a National Book Award finalist and a New York Times Notable Book. She is also the author of Pride and My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich, a New York Times best seller, and editor of Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America. Punching the Air, co-authored with Exonerated Five member Yusef Salaam is due out in September 2020. Born in Haiti and raised in New York City, she now lives in New Jersey with her husband and their three teen children. You can find her online at www.ibizoboi.net.
This event is a co-production of Uptown Kid Lit at Word Up Community Bookshop and Next Generation Now programming for young readers at the PEN World Voices Festival.
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with City Council, Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME), and Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation and administred by the LMCC.