Making the Connection

Had a fabulous day at Banneker High School in Washington, D.C. on Thursday; I spent time with three of Ms. Clare Berke’s 9th grade classes. Although all ended well, the day had a troublesome beginning — my car wouldn’t start. I had my fingers crossed it was just the battery, but feared I would be on the hook to replace the starter. Eugh! Plus it was the coldest day ever. However, lucky soul that I am, my neighbors, Tom and Suzanne, were out, and Suzanne offered me her car to get me to the school. My savior! Despite the delay, I made it on time to meet my escort, Nancy, a wonderful retired teacher who volunteers with the PEN/Faulkner Foundation.

I love these school visits, which are sponsored by the PEN/Faulkner Foundation’s Writer’s in Schools program. The kids always have great questions that often get me thinking about my novel in a new way. I especially appreciate that my book, The Color of My Soul, has become a fairly popular selection in the D.C. schools. One question that arose a few times from the teens was, “What audience is your book written for.” Originally, I saw it as a book for women of color in their 20s-40s, but I have been pleased to discover that high-school girls and boys are enjoying the story and connecting with the characters and the themes of identity, race and culture.

Thank you Ms. Berke and PEN/Faulkner!

Oh, and my car? Fortunately a call to AAA got the battery re-charged and I didn’t have to purchase a new one. Phew!

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