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Five questions for Ruta Sepetys

I Must Betray You (Philomel, 12 years and up) by Ruta Sepetys takes place in 1989 Romania under the repressive rule of Ceauşescu and on the cusp of revolution. Sepetys (most recently The Fountains of Silence) once again proves her mastery of immersive, propulsive, historical-fiction thrillers. 1. What draws you...

Five Questions for Maxine Beneba Clarke about When We Say Black Lives Matter

When Kitty and I visited All She Wrote Books last week, it was the first time we were able to see "in person" some of our recent favorite new picture books. Some of them even came home with us — including When We Say Black Lives Matter by Maxine Beneba Clarke, winner of...

Five questions for Kevin Young

Emile and the Field (Make Me a World/Random, ages 3–6; illus. by Chioma Ebinama) is the picture-book debut of Kevin Young, an acclaimed poet, poetry editor of the New Yorker, and the Andrew W. Mellon Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. In the lyrically...

Five questions for Christine McDonnell and Victoria Tentler-Krylov

Many Bostonians know about Rosie’s Place, the first-of-its-kind shelter in the U.S. for women, which continues to operate today as a “sanctuary of hope, a place where every woman [is] welcomed. Listened to. Understood. Loved.” Its founder was the fiercely persistent, radically empathetic, and highly quotable Kip Tiernan, whom readers...

Five questions for Marilyn Nelson

Through poetry that is captivating, evocative, and informative, Marilyn Nelson introduces readers to the life, work, and legacy of a prominent Harlem Renaissance sculptor in Augusta Savage: The Shape of a Sculptor’s Life (12 years and up, Ottaviano/Little, Brown). See also our Black History Month and Black History Month 2022 coverage....

Five questions for Thomas King

Originally a short story in the author’s 1993 adult collection One Good Story, That One, Thomas King’s Borders (Little, Brown, 11 years and up) is now a graphic novel, illustrated by Natasha Donovan. When the narrator and his mother are stopped at the U.S.-Canada border and asked about their citizenship,...

Five questions for Nikole Hannah-Jones, Renée Watson, and Nikkolas Smith

The 1619 Project, developed by journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, with writers from the New York Times and the New York Times Magazine, debuted in August 2019, marking “the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery.” The project’s goal: “To reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and...

Five questions for Marcie Colleen and Aaron Becker

This Saturday will mark the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. For children born after this tragic event in which 2,996 individuals lost their lives in New York; Washington, DC; and Pennsylvania, reading books such as Marcie Colleen and Aaron Becker’s moving tribute Survivor Tree (Little, Brown, 6–9 years)...

Five questions for Emily Jenkins

On the hundredth day of school, members of Harry Bergen-Murphy’s first-grade class will celebrate the milestone by each bringing in one hundred of something. “But what?” he worriedly wonders. Emily Jenkins’s slice-of-life chapter book Harry Versus the First 100 Days of School (ages 4–7, Schwartz/Random; Educators’ Guide here), illustrated by...
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