rita williams garcia

BOOK OF THE DAY: Jumped by Rita Williams-Garcia

The wrong angle

Trina: “Hey,” I say, though I don’t really know them. The boyed-up basketball girl barely moves. The others, her girls, step aside. It’s okay if they don’t speak. I know how it is. They can’t all be Trina.

Dominique: Some stupid little flit cuts right in between us and is like, “Hey.” Like she don’t see I’m here and all the space around me is mines. I slam my fist into my other hand because she’s good as jumped.

Leticia: Why would I get involved in Trina’s life when I don’t know for sure if I saw what I thought I saw? Who is to say I wasn’t seeing it from the wrong angle?

Acclaimed author Rita Williams-Garcia intertwines the lives of three very different teens in this fast-paced, gritty narrative about choices and the impact that even the most seemingly insignificant ones can have. Weaving in and out of the girls’ perspectives, readers will find themselves not with one intimate portrayal but three.

Wanting My Own Family Story

By Rita Williams-Garcia

I grew up during the golden age of television, when nearly every face on the screen was white.  Before I worshiped Star Trek, I loved watching family shows:  The Donna Reed Show.  Father Knows Best.  Leave it to Beaver.  I watched all of those family shows where the father went off to work but returned every evening, while the mother took care of the home and children.  Those families were nothing like my own.  As a soldier in the Army, my father was frequently away from the family for long months, and sometimes as long as a year.  Shortly after I was born, Dad shipped out to Korea.  He was then stationed in Germany when I was a toddler, and deployed to Vietnam when I was in the fourth grade.  My mother worked, went to school for her nursing degree, and cared for my sister, brother, and me.  From my place in the family as the youngest, I longed for the constant attention of both of my parents.

Books gave me an even deeper connection to the storied lives of my favorite families.  Beverly Cleary’s Ramona and Beezus seemed to peer into the room I shared with my older sister, Rosalind.  My sister actually drew a line down the center of the floor and ordered me to stay on my side of the room–the messy side.  I had papers everywhere, between schoolwork, crayon and watercolor pictures, and, of course, my stories.  These stories were precious.  I colored the protagonist with mixtures of brown, peach, and orange to create my skin color.  My protagonist did cool things like save the day by knowing the right answers.  She was a champion bike rider and found buried treasure in her backyard.  I loved Cleary’s Ramona, Beezus, Henry, and Ribsy.  In fact, Beverly Cleary and I have birthdays that are only one day apart.  But most of all, I wanted stories that resembled my own family beyond the characters’ skin coloring. I wanted the familiarity of my own family, but with togetherness and book-worthy adventures.  Nearly half a century later, I’d find those stories in Christopher Paul Curtis’s The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963 and in Jacqueline Woodson’s Feathers and Hush.

In the sixth grade, our young, white school librarian, who taught us African folk songs, gave two books by Reba Paeff Mirsky to me.  The first was Thirty-one Brothers and Sisters and the other was Nomusa and the New Magic.  How did she know they were the perfect books for me?  In one of the books, the protagonist was a Zulu chief’s daughter who went on a hunt with her father.  I don’t think I gave anyone else a chance to check those books out!  Then came the familiar call to pack up and move from Seaside, California, to Fort Benning, Georgia.  I knew I had to return those books.  The young librarian gave me a copy of Louise Fitzhugh’s Harriet the Spy.  I read about Harriet, lonely Harriet, neglected by her parents, but saved by her journal and her caretaker, Ole Golly.  I found myself stepping inside Harriet’s soul.  As I hear from young readers of all ages and diverse backgrounds, male and female, about the characters in One Crazy Summer and P.S. Be Eleven, I see their longing to see themselves reflected in familiar stories, and to know that a reader can enter a different family through the safe and inviting portals of a book.

WNDB Signings & Panels at BEA & BookCon

If you’ll be at Book Expo and/or the BookCon in New York City this week do stop by the following panels/signings to meet these amazing authors on the WNDB team and celebrated by the WNDB team!


*unless otherwise noted BEA signings are in autographing area

Wednesday, May 27th

Tim Federle – 2:30pm

R.J. Palacio - 4pm (Penguin Random House booth)

Thursday, May 28th

Anne Ursu – 9:30am

Kwame Alexander – 10am

Kristina Yee – 11am

Sunil Yapa – 11am

Suzan Lori-Parks - 1pm (Theatre Communications Group booth)

Brian Selznick – 1:30pm

Dawn Metcalf - 1pm (Harlequin booth)

Adi Alsaid - 1pm (Harlequin booth)

Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts - 2pm (Abrams booth)

Soman Chainani - 2pm (HarperCollins booth)

Ta-Nehisi Coates - 2:30pm (Penguin Random House booth)

Miranda Paul – 3pm

Libba Bray - 3pm (Hachette Book Group booth)

Vu Tran - 3:30pm (Liveright booth)

Friday, May 29th

Marie Lu - 9:30am (Penguin Random House booth)

Lamar Giles – 9:30am

Salina Yoon – 9:30am

Ilene Gregorio – 10:30am

Tim Federle - 11am (Running Press booth) 

Kristy Shen & Bryce Leung - 11am

Don Tate – 11:30am

Shannon Hale – 11:30am

Nicola Yoon - 12:30pm (Penguin Random House booth)

Adi Alsaid - 1pm (Harlequin booth)

We Need Diverse Books Panel – 1pm, Rm. 1E10

Meg Medina - 1:30pm (Candlewick booth)

Celeste Ng - 1:30pm (Penguin Random House booth)

Marieke Nijkamp - 2pm (Sourcebooks booth)

Rita Williams-Garcia – 2pm

Christopher Myers – 2pm

Don Tate - 2:15pm (Peachtree booth)

Alex Gino - 2:30pm 

David Levithan - 3pm (Penguin Random House booth)

We Need Diverse Books signing – 7pm at La Casa Azul Bookstore


*BookCon signings are in-booth or autographing area as noted

Saturday, May 30th

Nicola Yoon – 10am (Penguin Random House)

Shannon Hale – 10:30am (Candlewick Press booth) 

We Need Diverse Books Panel: Science Fiction/Fantasy with Kameron Hurley, Ken Liu, Joe Monti, Nnedi Okorafor, Daniel Jose Older – 11am in Room 1A21.

Daniel Jose Older & Nnedi Okorafor – 12:30pm (Autographing area)

Ken Liu – 12:30pm (Autographing area) 

Kameron Hurley - 12:30pm (Autographing area)

Lamar Giles - 12:45pm (Mystery Writers of America booth)

Jenny Han – 1pm (Autographing area)

Meg Medina – 1pm (Candlewick Press booth)

Cindy Pon – 2pm (Month9Books booth)

Renee Ahdieh & Marie Lu – 2pm (Autographing area) 

Sabaa Tahir & Aisha Saeed – 2pm (Autographing area)

N.K. Jemisin - 4pm (Hachette Book Group booth)

Jason Reynolds & Ellen Hopkins – 5pm (Autographing area)

Sunday, May 31st

Melissa de la Cruz - 11am (Autographing area)

We Need Diverse Books Panel: Luminaries of Children’s Literature with Libba Bray, Soman Chainani, David Levithan, Meg Medina, and Jacqueline Woodson – 11:15am in Room 1A10.

Jacqueline Woodson & Libba Bray – 12:30pm (Autographing area)

Meg Medina & Ilene Gregorio – 12:30pm (Autographing area)

Jenny Lee & Soman Chainani - 1:15pm (Autographing area)

R.J. Palacio – 1:30pm (Penguin Random House booth)

Brian Selznick - 4pm (Autographing area)

David Levithan - 4pm (Autographing area)