Raise Your Voice 2016 with Nic Stone

Raise Your Voice is a special annual month-long series on Pop! Goes The Reader whose purpose is to celebrate diversity and inclusivity in literature, with a particular emphasis on #OwnVoices stories. In it, authors recommend books with sensitive, positive and accurate representation that will help to create a resource of diverse books that marginalized readers can turn to when they need them most. Your voice matters. Raise it! For a complete list of the participants and their scheduled guest post dates, click here.

About Nic Stone

Nic Stone was born and raised in a suburb of Atlanta, GA, and the only thing she loves more than an adventure is a good story about one. After graduating from Spelman College, she worked extensively in teen mentoring and lived in Israel for a few years before returning to the US to write full-time. Growing up with a wide range of cultures, religions, and backgrounds, Stone strives to bring these diverse voices and stories to her work. Stone lives in Atlanta with her husband and two sons.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramGoodreads

(You can add Labyrinth Lost to your Goodreads shelves Here!)

The first book I ever saw myself in was written by a first-generation American son of Italian immigrants: 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith. (#JuliaBishop4Ever)

The second was written by the kindest, most wonderful little Jewish lady I’ve ever met: Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. (Abby Suso was SO me, in fact, I instantly emailed Becky and asked her how she knew so much about my life.)

Both of these characters are brilliantly drawn and so true to life, I go back to these books over and over when I feel a little unseen in this industry (which is often).

But both are secondary characters, and neither are #OwnVoices.

Truth be told, like Angie Thomas, I struggled to come up with an #OwnVoices recommendation I feel like I’ve seen MYSELF in. Because between you and me, Internet, I don’t know that I’ve ever really seen myself — not just a black girl, but a black girl I could truly identify with — in an #OwnVoices book. (Actually, revision: Angie Thomas’s book The Hate U Give has a black girl I can identify with — *Waves to Starr* — as does a 2018 debut by an author named Ashley Woodfolk that you should definitely put on your radar. But those books aren’t out yet.)

So. I’m going to recommend an #OwnVoices book that gave me insight into another culture (and one I feel is particularly appropriate for HALLOWEEEEEEEEN *Muahahahahahahaha*): Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova.

While I personally check “Not Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish” on the census, seeing this utterly kickass Latina bruja fighting all kinds of monsters and creatures to save her family from demise in this super vivid alternate dimension was so. Dang. AMAZING.

Because #OwnVoices books aren’t JUST for the marginalized people represented within them. Yes, we all need to see ourselves as the heroes/heroines of our own stories…

But other people need to see us that way too.

Title Dear Martin
Author Nic Stone
Pages N/A
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre & Keywords Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
To Be Published October 17th, 2017 by Crown Books for Young Readers
Find It On Goodreads

Justyce McAllister is a good kid. Fourth in his class and captain of the debate team at his prestigious prep-school — where he’s one of only a handful of African-American students — he’s destined for success. But none of that helps him the night he’s accused of attempting to steal his girlfriend’s car. The cops refuse to believe the truth — he was trying to keep her from driving drunk — and as a result, he’s forced to the ground, and held for hours in too-tight handcuffs.

Justyce begins writing letters to Martin Luther King Jr. to process his experiences. There are bumps in the road — especially when it comes to dealing with a best friend who refuses to acknowledge racism, and a Jewish girl he’s falling for that his mom wouldn’t approve of. Overall though, he’s fairly successful at living according Dr. King’s teachings. But when Justyce falls victim to the exact kind of incident he’s worked so hard to avoid — an encounter with an off-duty police officer over loud music that ends with him and his best friend being shot — everything Justyce believed about “The King’s Way” is called into question.

Based on a number of incidents involving the deaths of unarmed African American males, Dear Martin is a heart-wrenching story about the realities of life in 21st Century America as an African American teen.

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