Holiday Gift Ideas: Make Your Reading Black - AmNews Curtain Raiser


Friday, December 6, 2019

Holiday Gift Ideas: Make Your Reading Black

I want to bring to your attention one YA book that I think would be fabulous for ESSENCE called FULL DISCLOSURE by Camryn Garrett. Camryn is available for interview consideration and she brings a fresh, new voice that really resonates with readers, and can speak about the importance of loving yourself, sex-positivity, exploration of your sexuality as a young black woman, fighting against bi-erasure and tragedy porn, and why the story of an HIV positive teenager has to be told to combat public perception of the virus.

Camryn Garrett is bursting onto the scene with her debut novel, FULL DISCLOSURE (Alfred A. Knopf BFYR | On Sale October 29, 2019 | Ages 14 and up)—an honest, affecting, sex-positive, and laugh-out-loud-funny young adult debut about a black teen born HIV-positive. Angie Thomas, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Hate U Give and On The Come Up celebrates it as “an unflinchingly honest, eye-opening story that’s sure to keep readers talking.”

Simone Garcia-Hampton is starting over at a new school, and this time things will be different. She’s making real friends, making a name for herself as student director of Rent, and making a play for Miles, the guy who makes her melt every time he walks into a room. The last thing she wants is for the word to get out that she’s HIV-positive. Keeping her diagnosis under wraps is not so simple. As Simone and Miles start going out for real, she feels an uneasiness that goes beyond butterflies. She knows she has to tell him that she’s positive, especially if things start to get intimate. Then she finds an anonymous note in her locker: I know you have HIV. You have until Thanksgiving to stop hanging out with Miles. Or everyone else will know too. 

Simone’s journey to share her secret while still protecting her heart is a thoughtful, compelling, and heartwarming look at the particular challenges of adolescence, written as only a teen could. Camryn was just seventeen years old when she sold this book. Now nineteen, she is ready for her debut to make its way into the world. Today, the HIV virus continues to disproportionately affect the Black community and the queer community. This is a story that Camryn felt had to be told.

Additionally, I have an upcoming picture book that is perfect for Black History month roundup consideration. THE OLDEST STUDENT (On Sale January 7, 2020) by Rita Lorraine Hubbard with illustrations by Caldecott award winner Oge Mora explores the true and little known story of Mary Walker, the nation’s oldest student. Imagine learning to read at the age of 116! In 1848, Mary Walker was born into slavery. At age 15, she was freed, and by age 20, she was married and had her first child. By age 68, she had worked numerous jobs, including cooking, cleaning, babysitting, and selling sandwiches to raise money for her church. At 114, she was the last remaining member of her family. And at 116, she learned to read. From Rita Lorraine Hubbard and rising star Oge More comes the inspirational story of Mary Walker, a woman whose long life spanned from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement, and who--with perseverance and dedication--proved that you're never too old to learn.

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