Book Discussion and Giveaway

wish door

In August we announced our September book discussion. We’re reading A Wish After Midnight and the sequel The Door at the Crossroads right now and will post a group discussion about both books near the end of September. These are fascinating books and we’d love for others to be involved in the discussion. If you’re reading along, please join us by tweeting about the books using the hashtag #Zettasbooks. If you don’t use Twitter, feel free to comment on any of the posts here related to this specific book discussion. We’ve used the tag Zettasbooks with our posts.

Zetta Elliott was generous enough to provide three copies of The Door at the Crossroads to be used in a giveaway. Please enter below if you would like to win a copy.

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Interview with Lita Hooper

Everyone, please welcome Lita Hooper to Rich in Color! Lita’s novel, Running Away to Home, is out today. Running Away to Home focuses on a pair of twin sisters and their father in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina:

rath-coverHow do you find your way home when your home no longer exists? For 17-year old twin sisters Sammie and Ronnie and their father, Willis, the answer to that question becomes a life raft when they are displaced after Hurricane Katrina.

Identity….Fear….Family

Running Away to Home, a YA verse novel, tells the story of two brave sisters, a repentant father, and the amazing triumphant spirit of familial love.

Loss.…Memory….Family

After leaving New Orleans for Atlanta, Ronnie and Sammie are separated and find themselves living in different parts of the city. Each sister is lured by false promises of love and security as they initially believe the people they encounter.

Love….Change….Family

As a YA verse novel, this story relies on poetry to express the intimacy of sisterhood and the triumphant spirit of its characters. Older YA readers will be moved by this family’s journey in the wake of one of the most memorable historical events our nation has experienced.

Spirit….Strength….Family

Today, Lita has stopped by to talk about Running Away to Home and to give away five copies to our readers! The giveaway is open to those with U.S. mailing addresses. Don’t forget to enter the drawing at the end of the interview!


What drew you to write about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina? Why did you decide to write about it in verse?

I remember being so overwhelmed with emotion when it happened. The thought of being separated from family members is really devastating to me, so as I watched the media coverage on television, that’s all I could think about. How could people find one another? This is has happened to the black family throughout history. During Reconstruction, newly freed black men and women sought family members throughout the South. During the Great Migration, families were torn apart by a need to find employment in the North. I wanted to give voice to this experience and because I am primarily a poet, verse seemed natural. I like persona poems, so this project fit nicely with what I was already doing.

Tell us more about Sammy, Ronnie, and their relationship with each other and their father.

Well, the girls are really interesting to me because I’ve always been fascinated by twins. I thought about how a teenager would feel during this really emotional time and how he or she would deal with the trauma of losing a home and being displaced. That’s when I decided to give to very different perspectives…to work with twin protagonists. I think the girls are very strong but they don’t know how strong they are until the storm changes their lives. I think they’re both very vulnerable but in different ways. Sammie is very simplistic in the way she approaches her survival. She has something to prove to her sister and father, so she takes advantage of being displaced to become the “strong” twin. Ronnie needs to be cared for, something she has longed for since her mother died. She loves her family but doesn’t know how to put herself first. The girls love their father, but when the storm hits, the family was really dysfunctional. The storm changes everything. Literally.

The search for home and family is an essential part of RATH. Why were you excited about these themes?

“Home” has a broad meaning, and I was interested in delving into the layers….I wanted to play around with the idea of running away from one thing in order to find oneself back home. Teenagers always run away from home in YA books. I was interested in creating characters who wanted to return. Being home was so much more than just being in their home town. It was reconnecting with family and fully understanding how fortunate they were. It was about trusting the voice inside, even when others doubted them, and being guided back to where they belonged. I find the idea of family and geographic location interesting because I have always wanted to move and live in a variety of places. Even as a child, I wanted to relocate every few years, but my friends always thought that was odd. In a way, this book is a personal exploration of why traveling and relocating are important to me.

What are you proudest of in RATH? What did you learn while writing it?

I’m proud that I finished my first YA verse novel! The genre is really exciting to me. I never saw myself entering this space, but after reading Make Lemonade by Virginia Wolff, I was hooked. I have been a poet for many years, but I found that book when putting together a list of books for my son’s homeschool reading assignments. Boy, that was a game changer. So RATH is always going to be special to me because it represents my first attempt at YA and at the verse novel.

Are there any other novels in verse that you would recommend to a YA audience? Do you have any recommendations for teens who are looking to learn more about Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath?

I like the entire series by Wolff (Make Lemonade, True Believer and This Full House). I also really love the character-driven Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse (a classic verse novel), and Andrea Davis Pinkney’s beautiful simplicity in The Red Pencil. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson is just amazing and so important given the times we are in, and Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall is filled with gorgeous verse. I would recommend teens watch Spike Lee’s When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Parts. It’s a documentary about Katrina. The footage and interviews are amazing though heartbreaking.

What books by or about people of color or people from First/Native Nations are you looking forward to this year? Or that have already come out this year?

I’m planning to read Erin Schneider’s Summer of Sloane, Aditi Khorana’s Mirror in the Sky, and Mia Garcia’s Even if the Sky Falls. So many great books!


Thank you, Lita! If you like what you’ve heard about Running Away to Home, you can now enter to win a copy of the book. Only those with U.S. mailing addresses are eligible for this drawing.

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lita_hooper
Lita Hooper is a poet and YA author whose young characters are challenged but triumphant in the wake of historic events. Her work has been published in various journals, magazines, and online publications. She is the author of Thunder in Her Voice: The Narrative of Sojourner Truth (Willow Books). When she’s not writing, taking pictures, or traveling, she teaches writing and designs online courses.

 

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Can you believe it has been 3 years?

Tomorrow marks our third anniversary here at Rich in Color, and we can’t begin to tell you how grateful we are for all of your support. We have learned so much in the last three years–and with any luck, we will have many more years to come. To celebrate three years dedicated to young adult books by or about people of color or people from First/Native Nations, we are giving away several of our favorite books!

We’re giving away copies of Burn Baby Burn (ARC) by Meg Medina, Outrun the Moon (ARC) by Stacey Lee, Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan, P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han, Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang, American Ace by Marilyn Nelson, I Will Always Write Back by Caitlin Alifirenka & Martin Ganda, Dove Arising by Karen Bao, The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, City of a Thousand Dolls and Empire of Shadows by Miriam Forster, Shutter by Courtney Alameda, Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi, Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall, The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork, Urban Tribes edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale, Three Day Summer by Sarvenaz Tash, Make it Messy by Marcus Samuelsson and Veronica Chambers, and Consent by Nancy Ohlin. We’re also giving away “Winner’s Choice” prizes to two lucky winners!

This giveaway is open only to those with U.S. mailing addresses. Please see terms and conditions for further details. The drawing will end on March 31st, so be sure to enter!

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Thank you again for your support!

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2015 End of the Year Giveaway + Hiatus

Thank you for your support this year at Rich in Color. This year was filled with many opportunities for our team and provided us with a number of fantastic YA books by or about people of color. If you haven’t checked out our 2015 favorites lists, you should! (Audrey’s Favorites, Crystal’s Favorites, Jessica’s Favorites, and K. Imani’s Favorites)

We here at Rich in Color have decided to give ourselves a break and spend some time relaxing and recharging as we prepare to take on a new year. We will be on hiatus until January 11, 2016.

In the meantime, we have giveaway to wrap up the year. It is open to U.S. mailing addresses only. See terms and conditions for further details. The giveaway will end at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve (EST), so make sure you enter to win some of our favorite books, both from this year and years before!

May the new year bring you joy–and lots of wonderful books to read!

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Two Wonderful Years

Two years have already gone by since Rich in Color had its start. If you’re interested in finding out about the beginnings, Audrey, Jon and I did a podcast last year to provide a little history. Speaking for myself, being part of this blog has been a fantastic learning journey as we have sought out, read and promoted young adult lit by and about people of color. I’ve met amazing authors and readers who have inspired and challenged me.

In honor of our 2nd anniversary, we’re having another giveaway. We get ARCs from publishers or may even purchase books for review and we would like to share some of these books with our readers. We also have a few brand new books on offer. While we have your attention, please let us know about any great books that you’re looking forward to reading especially if they aren’t on our calendar yet. Thanks for visiting the blog and being a part of our journey.

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