Spring 2021 Children’s Flying Starts

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We spotlight the authors of six of the season’s most promising children’s and YA debuts.

Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé, whose YA thriller, Ace of Spades, landed on the bestseller list after its first week of publication, did not grow up believing she could be a professional writer.

 

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Gracey Zhang

Debut author-illustrator Gracey Zhang spoke with us about Lala’s Words, a picture book fantasy starring a girl who sees beauty in the vacant lots of her city neighborhood and whispers plants into life.

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Laekan Zea Kemp

Food and community form the heart of Laekan Zea Kemp’s debut novel, Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet, a contemporary YA romance set in Austin, Tex. 

 

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Angeline Boulley

Angeline Boulley’s first YA novel, Firekeepers Daughter, the story of an Anishinaabe teen who uses her traditional knowledge and science smarts to solve a crime on her reservation, was sparked from true events.

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Michelle Sterling

Michelle Sterling pulls from her family heritage and memories in her debut picture book, When Lola Visits, the tale of a girl’s grandmother visiting the U.S. from the Philippines, along with the summer food they share. 

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B.B. Alston

B.B. Alston’s gamble paid off when he shared the concept for his debut middle-grade adventure, Amari and the Night Brothers, via a Twitter pitch event.

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A version of this article appeared in the 06/28/2021 issue of Publishers Weekly under the headline: Children’s Flying Starts
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