An Interview with 2021 Morris Award finalist Christina Hammonds Reed, author of The Black Kids

The William C. Morris Award is awarded each year to a debut YA publication. After considering the wealth of excellence each year, the committee selects 5 finalists, announced in December. From these, the winner is chosen (2021: Kyrie McCauley’s If These Wings Could Fly) though all of the finalists demonstrate unique greatness in every page.

Finalist Christina Hammonds Reed is a force, and her debut The Black Kids offers a compelling portrait of a young Black woman growing up in Los Angeles, coming of age just as the city erupts after Rodney King’s beating by police and the subsequent acquittal of the officers involved. At the 2021 Morris Award Celebration event, Hammonds Reed pointed out that her main character, Ashley, and the city of L.A. were on “parallel journeys of self-reckoning.” This book is beautiful and complicated, and we are so thankful for Christina for participating in this wide-ranging and thoughtful interview.

author photo by Elizabeth T. Nguyen

THE HUB: For those of us who were teens in the 90s, this storyline doesn’t feel like historical fiction. The beating of Rodney King and the unrest in L.A. filled our television screens and dominated the news for a brief season. For today’s teens, this story might be totally new to them, but it will – tragically – feel like current events. How did you balance the past and the present as you dove into this story?

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2021) Nominees Round Up, October 30 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Best Fiction for Young Adults nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

Every Body Looking by Candice Iloh
Dutton Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House
Publication Date: September 22, 2020
ISBN: 978-0525556206

In the Igbo language, “Ada means first daughter, means oldest girl, means pressure, means you do as expected, to do a lot of things you don’t want to do because the honor of this family rests on your back.” Ada’s story unfolds in vignettes from different time periods in her life, as she searches to find her true self despite the expectations placed upon her by others.

Continue reading Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2021) Nominees Round Up, October 30 Edition