Welcome to Diversify 2017! Diversify 2017 is a series of interviews and guest posts centering around books that I’m especially looking forward to and that I think truly represent the diversity movement that’s been shaping up these past couple of years. For day three, TSW’s featuring a book about a student’s journal to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called:
Release Date: October 17th, 2017
Nic Stone joins industry giants Jason Reynolds and Walter Dean Myers as she boldly tackles American race relations in this stunning debut.
Justyce McAllister is top of his class, captain of the debate team, and set for the Ivy League next year—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. He is eventually released without charges (or an apology), but the incident has Justyce spooked. Despite leaving his rough neighborhood, he can’t seem to escape the scorn of his former peers or the attitude of his prep school classmates. The only exception: Sarah Jane, Justyce’s gorgeous—and white—debate partner he wishes he didn’t have a thing for.
Struggling to cope with it all, Justyce starts a journal to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But do Dr. King’s teachings hold up in the modern world? Justyce isn’t so sure.
Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up. Way up. Much to the fury of the white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. And Justyce and Manny get caught in the crosshairs. In that media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack. The truth of what happened that night—some would kill to know. Justyce is dying to forget.
Description taken from Goodreads.
Top Ten (In the Form of a Letter, Of Course ;))
1. Whatever it is that has made you a target of discrimination—your race, religion, gender identity, sexual/romantic orientation (or lack thereof), disability, mental illness diagnosis, form of neurodivergence, size… Whatever it is: the world needs to hear about it.
2. Those people who targeted you? The problem is with them.
3. Your stories full of your struggles, your hurts, your triumphs, your healing, your growth—they matter.
4. They matter because you’re not alone. There are people just like you waiting, wanting, needing to see themselves reflected in the books they read.
5. And not only them. Others. People who are different from you are waiting, wanting, needing to see you in the books they read—even if they don’t realize it yet.
6. Because if they don’t see you, their worlds will stay small. And no one should have to live in a small world, right?
7. And there are people looking for your stories. It may not seem like there are many right now, but really, there don’t have to be. It only takes one.
8. And you are fully capable of writing that essay/short story/op-ed piece/novel that will completely change someone’s worldview. Don’t let anyone tell you you aren’t.
9. Because that’s a lie too. That notion that you’re not good enough? It’s something that’s been heaped on you by people who want to keep you small so they feel big. You ARE good enough, dammit.
10. So write. And write. And write and write and write. Keep writing and keep fighting. Your words are your weapons.
(P.S. – Your first draft is going to suck. Everyone’s does. Practice makes better. Perfect doesn’t exist.)
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.
You can find her goofing off and/or fangirling over her husband and sons on most social media platforms as @getnicced.
Thanks so much to Nic for doing this post! I’m not usually into letter-type books, but Dear Martin sounds amazing enough to make me change my mind! Be sure to follow Nic on social media to keep up with all things Dear Martin and enter into the giveaway above! Tomorrow’s author will be Maurene Goo.