In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, join the Boston Public Library and The Associates of the Boston Public Library for an online author talk with Jennifer De Leon about her upcoming book Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From, written when Jenn was the 2015-2016 Associates of the BPL Writer-in-Residence. Christopher Jacobs, Teen Technology Coordinator at the BPL, will moderate this program. We ask that people who are interested in attending please visit this link to register. To purchase a copy of this book, please visit this link on the website of Brookline Booksmith. This program will also be streamed on our YouTube page via this link:
In the book, first-generation American LatinX Liliana Cruz does what it takes to fit in at her new nearly all-white school. But when family secrets spill out and racism at school ramps up, she must decide what she believes in and take a stand.
Liliana Cruz is a hitting a wall—or rather, walls.
There’s the wall her mom has put up ever since Liliana’s dad left—again.
There’s the wall that delineates Liliana’s diverse inner-city Boston neighborhood from Westburg, the wealthy—and white—suburban high school she’s just been accepted into.
And there’s the wall Liliana creates within herself, because to survive at Westburg, she can’t just lighten up, she has to whiten up.
So what if she changes her name? So what if she changes the way she talks? So what if she’s seeing her neighborhood in a different way? But then light is shed on some hard truths: It isn’t that her father doesn’t want to come home—he can’t…and her whole family is in jeopardy. And when racial tensions at school reach a fever pitch, the walls that divide feel insurmountable.
But a wall isn’t always a barrier. It can be a foundation for something better. And Liliana must choose: Use this foundation as a platform to speak her truth, or risk crumbling under its weight.
“A funny, perceptive, and much-needed book telling a much-needed story.”
—Celeste Ng, author of the New York Times bestseller Little Fires Everywhere
“Written with humor and grace, with intimacy and empathy, Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From is the perfect coming of age novel for our time.”
—Matt Mendez, author of Barely Missing Everything and Twitching Heart
Jennifer De Leon is the author of Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From (forthcoming from Atheneum/Simon & Schuster on August 18, 2020) and the editor of Wise Latinas (University of Nebraska Press). An Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Framingham State University, and a GrubStreet instructor and board member, she has published prose in over a dozen literary journals, including Ploughshares, Iowa Review, and Michigan Quarterly Review. Her essay collection, White Space: Essays on Culture, Race, & Writing, will be published by UMass Press in Spring 2021. She lives outside of Boston with her husband two sons. Learn more about the author by visiting her website.