What is KidLit Author Jennifer Mathieu Giving for the Holidays?

Article by Joy

We’re excited to continue our feature about what books Texas kidlit authors are giving for holiday gifts this year! Because who better to recommend books than authors? And we have a huge, diverse and amazing community of writers for young people in Texas, many of them right here in Houston-- so many wonderful voices and stories and points of view. I hope you continue enjoy reading their choices as much as I did!

Up this week is rising contemporary YA superstar and friend of the store, Jennifer Mathieu, sharply brilliant author of young adult fiction including THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE, DEVOTED, and her most recent novel, AFTERWARD. Jennifer is also an English teacher in HISD, a fierce advocate for human rights, and the one who made us laugh delightedly with her reading of the whizzpopping scene in THE BFG at our Roald Dahl Day extravaganza.

Here’s what Jennifer Mathieu chose as her three holiday gift picks and what she had to say about why she’ll be giving these books this year!

Rad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries Who Shaped Our History . . . and Our Future! (City Lights/Sister Spit) Cover Image
By Kate Schatz, Miriam Klein Stahl (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780872866836
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: City Lights Books - April 7th, 2015

What a delicious and necessary book this is, especially in light of our recent election. As some try to normalize misogyny, those who know better should be sure to get this colorful, inspiring book into the hands of the young people they care about. With bright colors and informative text, Rad American Women A-Z shares the stories of such trailblazers as Angela Davis, Dolores Huerta, and Sonia Sotomayor. Although this primer is intended for younger readers, adults are sure to enjoy reading about women who truly made America great.

Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594485367
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Riverhead Books - September 6th, 2011

It's tricky to find a short story collection where every single narrative delivers, but Danielle Evans's compilation is a like an album full of number one hits. These stories - most of them focus on teenage girls and young women of color - are full of heart and aching authenticity, and they tackle race, friendships, and female sexuality with a bold and unique voice. I had the pleasure of teaching "Virgins" to my eleventh graders and they went crazy for it, debating its gut-wrenching ending until the bell rang. "Snakes" - about two young cousins whose summer spent with grandma has lasting ramifications on their lives - chilled me to my core. A must read.

The Book of Unknown Americans (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780345806406
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Vintage - March 3rd, 2015

Full disclosure.  The author of this novel is an old college classmate and dear friend, but I would recommend this novel even if she were a stranger on the street.  Set in a Delaware apartment complex that is home to Spanish-speaking immigrants from all over Latin America, Henriquez's novel centers around a teenage romance and a family that has recently emigrated from Mexico to the United States.  Using interchapters narrated by a variety of immigrants, this story shines a light on new Americans - both documented and undocumented - who play an integral part of our American story.  A beautiful book, but get the tissues handy.

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