Perhaps at no other moment in history have readers had access to such a wide range of literary voices that center the lives and stories of women and girls. How can we continue to shed shallow portrayals of young women and the tropes that have defined so many stories for younger readers? Join National Book Awards Finalists Elana K. Arnold (What Girls Are Made Of) and Erika L. Sánchez (I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter) for a discussion about the vital importance of sharing stories that are complex and empathetic, and that shed light on the realities and nuanced experiences of young women.
ERIKA L. SANCHEZ is the daughter of Mexican immigrants. A poet, essayist, and fiction writer, she is the author of a young adult novel, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, a 2017 Finalist for the National Book Award for Young People's Literature and an instant New York Times bestseller; and the poetry collection, Lessons on Expulsion, a finalist for the PEN America Open Book Award. She is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, a “Discovery”/Boston Review Prize, and a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from The Poetry Foundation. She is a currently a Princeton Arts Fellow.
ELANA K. ARNOLD is the author of many books for and about children and teens including Damsel, a 2018 Michael L. Printz Honor winner; What Girls Are Made Of, a Finalist for the 2017 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature; and A Boy Called Bat, a 2018 Global Read Aloud selection. Elana’s books have been included on numerous best lists and earned many awards, including Junior Library Guild Selections, a Westchester Fiction Award, and a Gold Medal in the Moonbeam Children’s Book Award. Elana holds a BA in comparative literature from the University of California at Irvine and a master’s degree in English and creative writing/fiction from UC Davis, where she has taught creative writing and adolescent literature. She teaches in the MFAC program at Hamline University and lives in Southern California.
The mission of the National Book Foundation, presenter of the National Book Awards, is to celebrate the best literature in America, expand its audience, and ensure that books have a prominent place in American culture. The Foundation approaches this work from three programmatic angles: Awards & Honors, recognizing exceptional authors, literature, and literary programs; Education & Access initiatives, helping young and adult readers develop a lifelong passion for books; and Public Programs, bringing acclaimed authors to communities nationwide to engage in conversations about books and the power of literature as a tool for understanding our world, cultivating meaningful discourse around the issues of our age. Information on all of the Foundation’s programs can be found online at nationalbook.org.