SAT/4/17 :: 12:00p
Young Adult Fiction: The Black Experience
Bookseller: ONCE UPON A TIME BOOKSTORE
These powerful coming-of-age novels, all written in lyrical verse, are fierce, profound, and beautiful explorations of identity, race, wrongful incarceration, the power of drag, and much more. Hannah Gómez, a judge in Young Adult Literature for the L.A. Times Book Prizes, guides the conversation with Dean Atta, Morgan Parker, Dr. Yusef Salaam and Ibi Zoboi.
Hannah Gómez is a former independent school librarian and now works remotely as a librarian consultant/teacher. She also teaches fitness and writes things. Visit her at https://shgmclicious.com.
Dean Atta’s poems deal with themes of race, gender, and identity. He regularly performs across the UK and internationally and his work has been shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize and appeared on MTV and BET. The Black Flamingo, his debut YA novel, is a finalist for the L.A. Times Young Adult Literature Book Prize.
Morgan Parker is the author of Magical Negro, There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé, and Other People's Comfort Keeps Me Up at Night, and the Y/A novel Who Put This Song On? Parker received her bachelor's degree in anthropology and creative writing from Columbia University and her master's in poetry from NYU. Her poetry and essays have been published in numerous publications, including the Paris Review; The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop; and Best American Poetry 2016 among others. Parker is the recipient of a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, winner of a 2016 Pushcart Prize, and a Cave Canem graduate fellow.
Dr. Yusef Salaam
Dr. Yusef Salaam was just fifteen years old when his life was upended after being wrongly convicted with four other boys in the “Central Park jogger” case. In 2002, after the young men spent years of their lives behind bars, their sentences were overturned. Now known as the Exonerated Five, their story has been documented in the award-winning film The Central Park Five by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, and David McMahon and in Ava DuVernay’s highly acclaimed series When They See Us. Yusef is now a poet, activist, and inspirational speaker. He is the author, with Ibi Zoboi, of Punching the Air, which is a finalist for the L.A. Times Book Prize in Young Adult Literature. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from President Barack Obama, among other honors. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife, Sanovia, and their children. You can find him online at www.yusefspeaks.com.
Ibi Zoboi holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her novel American Street was 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 bestseller. Her latest novel is Punching the Air, co-authored with Dr. Yusef Salaam; it is a finalist for the L.A. Times Young Adult Literature Book Prize. She is the editor of the anthology Black Enough. Born in Haiti and raised in New York City, she now lives in New Jersey with her husband and their three children. You can find her online at www.ibizoboi.net.