Monday, 4:00 pm EDT June 22, 2020
4pm ET / 1pm PT
We are proud to partner with Las Musas, a collective of women and non-binary (identifying on the female spectrum) Latinx Picture Book, Middle Grade, and Young Adult debut authors. Members Michelle Ruiz Keil (All of Us with Wings), Tehlor Kay Majia (We Unleash the Merciless Storm), NoNieqa Ramos (The Truth Is), and Alexandra Villasante (The Grief Keeper) will read from their work and offer insights on literature as a place of discovery, community, refuge, and celebration for young people.
This program is part of our Inside and Out Pride 2020 series, which offers solace and affirmation to the LGBTQ community during a time of isolation from trusted social groups and support networks.
Michelle Ruiz Keil
Michelle Ruiz Keil
Michelle Ruiz Keil is a writer and tarot reader with an eye for the enchanted and a way with animals. Her critically acclaimed debut novel, All of Us With Wings, called “…a transcendent journey” by the New York Times and “…a fantastical ode the Golden City’s post-punk era” by Entertainment Weekly, was released from Soho Teen in 2019. She is the recipient of a 2020 Literary Lions Award and a 2020 Hedgebrook residency. Her short fiction can be found in the Buckman Journal, Cosmonauts Avenue, and the anthologies Color Outside The Lines and Dispatches From Anarres. A San Francisco Bay Area native, Michelle has lived in Portland Oregon for many years. She curates the fairytale reading series All Kinds of Fur and lives with her family in a cottage where the forest meets the city. Her next book, Summer in The City of Roses, is forthcoming from Soho Teen in June 2021.
Tehlor Kay Mejia
Tehlor Kay Mejia
Tehlor Kay Mejia is the author of the critically acclaimed young adult fantasy novel We Set the Dark on Fire, as well as several forthcoming young adult and middle grade novels (We Unleash the Merciless Storm – Katherine Tegen Books, Miss Meteor (co-written with National Book Award nominee Anna-Marie McLemore) – HarperTeen, Paolo Santiago and the River of Tears and Paolo Santiago and the Forest of Nightmares – Rick Riordan Presents/Disney-Hyperion).
Her debut novel received six starred reviews, and was chosen as an Indie’s Next Pick and a Junior Library Guild selection, as well as being an Indiebound bestseller in the Pacific Northwest region. It was featured in Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, and O by Oprah Magazine’s best books of 2019 lists, as well as being a book of the year selection by Kirkus and School Library Journal.
Tehlor lives in Oregon with her daughter, two very small dogs, and several rescued houseplants.
NoNieqa Ramos wrote The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary, a 2018 New York Public Library Best Book for Teens, a 2019 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Selection, and a 2019 In the Margins Award Top Ten pick.
Hip Latina named The Truth Is “10 of the Best Latinx Young Adult Books of 2019.” Remezcla included TTI in the “15 Best Books by Latino and Latin American Authors of 2019.”
Versify will publish her debut picture book Beauty Woke and Your Mama in 2021. Lerner will publish Hair Story in 2021. For more information about NoNieqa, check out https://www.lasmusasbooks.com/nonieqa-ramos.html and https://www.soaring20spb.com/nonieqa-ramos.
Alexandra Villasante has always loved telling stories—though not always with words. She has a BFA in Painting and an MA in Combined Media (that’s art school speak for making work out of anything). Born in New Jersey to immigrant parents, Alex has the privilegio of dreaming in both English and Spanish.
When she’s not writing or painting, Alexandra plans conferences and fundraisers for non-profits. She lives with her family in the semi-wilds of Pennsylvania. Her debut Young Adult novel, The Grief Keeper, was an Indies Next, Indies Introduce and Fall 2019 Junior Library Guild Selection. The Grief Keeper is on ALA’s Rainbow Book List 2020 and is the winner of the 2020 Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ Children’s Literature/Young Adult Fiction.
All of Us with Wings
By Michelle Ruiz Keil
Published by Soho Teen
Seventeen-year-old Xochi is alone in San Francisco, running from her painful past: the mother who abandoned her, the man who betrayed her. Then one day, she meets Pallas, a precocious twelve-year-old who lives with her rockstar family in one of the city’s storybook Victorians. Xochi accepts a position as Pallas’s live-in governess and quickly finds her place in the girl’s tight-knit household, which operates on a free-love philosophy and easy warmth despite the band’s growing fame.
But on the night of the Vernal Equinox, as a concert afterparty rages in the house below, Xochi and Pallas perform a riot-grrrl ritual in good fun, accidentally summoning a pair of ancient beings bound to avenge the wrongs of Xochi’s past. She would do anything to preserve her new life, but with the creatures determined to exact vengeance on those who’ve hurt her, no one is safe–not the family Xochi’s chosen, nor the one she left behind.
We Unleash the Merciless Storm
By Tehlor Kay Mejia
Published by Katherine Tegen Books
Being a part of the resistance group La Voz is an act of devotion and desperation. On the other side of Medio’s border wall, the oppressed class fights for freedom and liberty, sacrificing what little they have to become defenders of the cause.
Carmen Santos is one of La Voz’s best soldiers. She spent years undercover, but now, with her identity exposed and the island on the brink of a civil war, Carmen returns to the only real home she’s ever known: La Voz’s headquarters.
There she must reckon with her beloved leader, who is under the influence of an aggressive new recruit, and with the devastating news that her true love might be the target of an assassination plot. Will Carmen break with her community and save the girl who stole her heart–or fully embrace the ruthless rebel she was always meant to be?.
The Truth Is
By Nonieqa Ramos
Published by Carolrhoda Lab
Fifteen-year-old Verdad doesn’t think she has time for love. She’s still struggling to process the recent death of her best friend, Blanca; dealing with the high expectations of her hardworking Puerto Rican mother and the absence of her remarried father; and keeping everyone at a distance. But when she meets Danny, a new guy at school–who happens to be trans–all bets are off. Verdad suddenly has to deal with her mother’s disapproval of her relationship with Danny as well as her own prejudices and questions about her identity, and Danny himself, who is comfortable in his skin but keeping plenty of other secrets.
The Grief Keeper
By Alexandra Villasante
Published by G.P. Putnam's Books for Young Readers
Seventeen-year-old Marisol has always dreamed of being American, learning what Americans and the US are like from television and Mrs. Rosen, an elderly expat who had employed Marisol’s mother as a maid. When she pictured an American life for herself, she dreamed of a life like Aimee and Amber’s, the title characters of her favorite American TV show. She never pictured fleeing her home in El Salvador under threat of death and stealing across the US border as “an illegal”, but after her brother is murdered and her younger sister, Gabi’s, life is also placed in equal jeopardy, she has no choice, especially because she knows everything is her fault. If she had never fallen for the charms of a beautiful girl named Liliana, Pablo might still be alive, her mother wouldn’t be in hiding and she and Gabi wouldn’t have been caught crossing the border.
But they have been caught and their asylum request will most certainly be denied. With truly no options remaining, Marisol jumps at an unusual opportunity to stay in the United States. She’s asked to become a grief keeper, taking the grief of another into her own body to save a life. It’s a risky, experimental study, but if it means Marisol can keep her sister safe, she will risk anything. She just never imagined one of the risks would be falling in love, a love that may even be powerful enough to finally help her face her own crushing grief.
The Grief Keeper is a tender tale that explores the heartbreak and consequences of when both love and human beings are branded illegal..
Las Musas is the first collective of women and non-binary (identifying on the female spectrum) Latinx middle-grade (MG), picture book (PB), and young adult (YA) authors to come together in an effort to support and amplify each other’s debut or sophomore novels in US children’s literature. Titles by Las Musas are published by major houses including Arthur A. Levine Books (Scholastic), Charlesbridge, Disney-Hyperion, Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins), Knopf, Lee & Low, Page Street, Scholastic, Tor Teen and Walden Pond Press (Harper Collins), and Simon & Schuster.
The Latinx community is an incredibly vast and diverse group of people that includes Afro-Latinx, Indigenous Latinx, Asian Latinx, white Latinx, and any and all combinations of race, religion, gender, and sexual orientation. Latinx is not tied to any specific race, but is rather a classification term referring to people with cultural ties to Latin America. Las Musas represent Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Uruguay.
About this series
Inside and Out
Inside and Out is a new series from The Center for Fiction to run this Pride Month 2020! The series offers solace and affirmation to the LGBTQ+ community during a time of isolation from trusted social groups and support networks. Featuring a phenomenal line-up of authors whose books center the unique experiences of queer characters, conversations will explore how sexuality and gender identity intersect with race, class, religion, and nationality.
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