Feeling uninspired and stuck today (while revising my middle grade book), I slouched to the mailbox and got a nice surprise and just the shot of adrenalin I needed. No, not a book contract, but something really cool, nonetheless (I love the fact that that word is actually three words put together to make a new word that is totally unnecessary to use, but sounds cool).
Anyway, my new BFF homeboy, Alan Lawrence Sitomer sent me an ARC of Homeboyz, which will be released on April 1st (my birthday…very few shopping days left for you guys…just sayin'). And I am thrilled! Not only is Mr. Alan (as his students call him) an amazingly talented, witty, brilliant writer for teens, but he is also California's 2007 Teacher Of The Year! Not to mention an incredibly nice dude. I discovered him a year ago when I read The Hoopster and Hip Hop High School, and was blown away by how much our writing had in common in terms of subject and themes. We began e-mailing back and forth and he has been a tremendous source of inspiration for me ever since. His enthusiasm for teaching and literacy stimulated me to return to the schools this year to tutor in reading and writing, which has been a blast! Thanks, Alan!!
After reading his books and learning what he's done for his students and community, I can't help but mention him on our blog and insist that you go out and buy, rent, borrow, or steal his books right now! The thing I love most about his writing is that it's authentic, fast-paced, funny, and extremely kid friendly. Meaning, it's exactly what I would have picked up as a kid. The issues he tackles are tough and important, and too often neglected in Kid Lit. There are only a handful of authors today writing about contemporary inner city kids and their struggles. Alan Lawrence Sitomer is a shining star among them, and I sincerely hope to join him one day.
Evie's review of Homeboyz to follow soon!