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About Renee Watson
Her books include young adult novels, Piecing Me Together and This Side of Home, which were both nominated for the Best Fiction for Young Adults by the American Library Association. Her picture book, Harlem's Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills received several honors including an NAACP Image Award nomination in children's literature. Her one woman show, Roses are Red Women are Blue, debuted at the Lincoln Center at a showcase for emerging artists.
One of Renée's passions is using the arts to help youth cope with trauma and discuss social issues. Her picture book, A Place Where Hurricanes Happen is based on poetry workshops she facilitated with children in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Renée has worked as a writer in residence for over twenty years teaching creative writing and theater in public schools and community centers through out the nation. Her articles on teaching and arts education have been published in Rethinking Schools and Oregon English Journal. She is on the Council of Writers for the National Writing Project and is a team member of We Need Diverse Books. She currently teaches courses on writing for children for the Solstice MFA program at Pine Manor College.
Renée has also worked as a consultant within the non-profit sector, specifically around teaching for social justice and the role of art in social justice, providing professional development workshops and leadership trainings to artists, staff, executives, and board of directors. Some of her clients include Carnegie Hall, DreamYard, Lincoln Center, RAW Art Works, and Writers in the Schools-Portland.
In the summer of 2016 Renée launched I, Too, Arts Collective, a nonprofit committed to nurturing underrepresented voices in the creative arts. She launched the #LangstonsLegacy Campaign to raise funds to lease the Harlem brownstone where Langston Hughes lived and created during the last twenty years of his life. Her hope is to preserve the legacy of Langston Hughes and build on it by providing programming for emerging writers.
Renée grew up in Portland, Oregon and currently lives in New York City.
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New York Times bestseller
"Timely and timeless." --Jacqueline Woodson
"Important and deeply moving." --John Green
Acclaimed author Renee Watson offers a powerful story about a girl striving for success in a world that too often seems like it's trying to break her.
Jade believes she must get out of her poor neighborhood if she's ever going to succeed. Her mother tells her to take advantage of every opportunity that comes her way. And Jade has: every day she rides the bus away from her friends and to the private school where she feels like an outsider, but where she has plenty of opportunities. But some opportunities she doesn't really welcome, like an invitation to join Women to Women, a mentorship program for "at-risk" girls. Just because her mentor is black and graduated from the same high school doesn't mean she understands where Jade is coming from. She's tired of being singled out as someone who needs help, someone people want to fix. Jade wants to speak, to create, to express her joys and sorrows, her pain and her hope. Maybe there are some things she could show other women about understanding the world and finding ways to be real, to make a difference.
NPR's Best Books of 2017
A 2017 New York Public Library Best Teen Book of the Year
Chicago Public Library's Best Books of 2017
A School Library Journal Best Book of 2017
Kirkus Reviews' Best Teen Books of 2017
2018 Josette Frank Award Winner
Ryan Hart has a lot on her mind--school, self-image, and especially family. Her dad finally has a new job, but money is tight. That means some changes, like selling their second car and moving into a new (old) house. But Ryan is a girl who knows how to make sunshine out of setbacks. As her brother says when he raps about her, she's got the talent that matters most: it's a talent that can't be seen, she's nice, not mean!
Ryan is all about trying to see the best in people, to be a good daughter, a good sister, a good friend. But even if her life isn't everything she would wish for, when her big brother is infuriating, her parents don't quite understand, and the unexpected happens, she always finds a way forward, with grace and wit. And plenty of sunshine.
Acclaimed author Renée Watson writes her own version of Ramona Quimby, one starring a Black girl and her family, in this start to a charming new series.
All Amara wants for her birthday is to visit her father's family in New York City--Harlem, to be exact. She can't wait to finally meet her Grandpa Earl and cousins in person, and to stay in the brownstone where her father grew up. Maybe this will help her understand her family--and herself--in new way.
But New York City is not exactly what Amara thought it would be. It's crowded, with confusing subways, suffocating sidewalks, and her father is too busy with work to spend time with her and too angry to spend time with Grandpa Earl. As she explores, asks questions, and learns more and more about Harlem and about her father and his family history, she realizes how, in some ways more than others, she connects with him, her home, and her family.
Acclaim for Piecing Me Together
Newbery Honor Book
Coretta Scott King Author Award
Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Young Adult Finalist
A New York Public Library Best Book for Teens
A Chicago Public Library Best Book, Teen Fiction
An ALA Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults
An NPR Best Book
A Kirkus Reviews' Best Teen Book
A Refinery29 Best Book
"An extraordinary story of two indomitable spirits." --Brendan Kiely, New York Times bestselling co-author of All American Boys and Tradition
"Timely, thought-provoking, and powerful." --Julie Murphy, New York Times bestselling author of Dumplin'
Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Award-winning author Renée Watson teams up with poet Ellen Hagan in this YA feminist anthem about raising your voice.
Jasmine and Chelsea are best friends on a mission--they're sick of the way women are treated even at their progressive NYC high school, so they decide to start a Women's Rights Club. They post their work online--poems, essays, videos of Chelsea performing her poetry, and Jasmine's response to the racial microaggressions she experiences--and soon they go viral. But with such positive support, the club is also targeted by trolls. When things escalate in real life, the principal shuts the club down. Not willing to be silenced, Jasmine and Chelsea will risk everything for their voices--and those of other young women--to be heard.
These two dynamic, creative young women stand up and speak out in a novel that features their compelling art and poetry along with powerful personal journeys that will inspire readers and budding poets, feminists, and activists.
Acclaim for Piecing Me Together
2018 Newbery Honor Book
2018 Coretta Scott King Author Award
2017 Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Young Adult Finalist
"Timely and timeless." --Jacqueline Woodson, award-winning author of Brown Girl Dreaming
"Watson, with rhythm and style, somehow gets at . . . the life-changing power of voice and opportunity." --Jason Reynolds, NYT-bestselling author of Long Way Down
"Brilliant." --John Green, New York Times bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars
* “Teeming with compassion and insight." --Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "A timely, nuanced, and unforgettable story about the power of art, community, and friendship." --Kirkus , starred review
* "A nuanced meditation on race, privilege, and intersectionality." --SLJ, starred review
Maya Younger and her identical twin sister, Nikki, have always agreed on the important things. Friends. Boys. School. They even plan to attend the same historically African American college.
But nothing can always remain the same.
As their Portland neighborhood goes from rough-and-tumble to up-and-coming, Maya feels her connection to Nikki and their community slipping away. Nikki spends more time at trendy coffee shops than backyard barbecues, and their new high school principal is more committed to erasing the neighborhood's "ghetto" reputation than honoring its history. Home doesn't feel like home anymore. As Maya struggles to hold on to her black heritage, she begins to wonder with whom--or where--she belongs. Does growing up have to mean growing apart?
Serenity is good at keeping secrets, and she's got a whole lifetime's worth of them. Her mother is dead, her father is gone, and starting life over at her grandparents' house is strange. Luckily, certain things seem to hold promise: a new friend who makes her feel connected, and a boy who makes her feel seen. But when her brother starts making poor choices, her friend is keeping her own dangerous secret, and her grandparents put all of their trust in a faith that Serenity isn't sure she understands, it is the power of love that will repair her heart and keep her sure of just who she is.
Renée Watson's stunning writing shines in this powerful and ultimately uplifting novel.
Born to parents who were both former slaves, Florence Mills knew at an early age that she loved to sing, and that her sweet, bird-like voice, resonated with those who heard her. Performing catapulted her all the way to the stages of 1920s Broadway where she inspired everyone from songwriters to playwrights. Yet with all her success, she knew firsthand how prejudice shaped her world and the world of those around her. As a result, Florence chose to support and promote works by her fellow black performers while heralding a call for their civil rights. Featuring a moving text and colorful illustrations, Harlem's Little Blackbird is a timeless story about justice, equality, and the importance of following one's heart and dreams.
A CARTER G. WOODSON ELEMENTARY HONOR BOOK
(awarded by the National Council for the Social Studies, 2013)
The fourth volume in this beautifully illustrated anthology features traditional tales of heroic women from Russia to South Africa and beyond.
Long before Suzanne Collins created Katniss Everdeen and Octavia Butler wrote Parable of the Sower, there were many traditional folktales full of adventure, intrigue, and intrepid female characters. Feminist Folktales from Around the World collects these forgotten classics and presents them with original artwork by designer and illustrator Suki Boynton.
Volume four in the series, The Hunter Maiden features an introduction by Renee Watson, the New York Times bestselling author of Piecing Me Together. In these eleven adventures, a diverse cast of female protagonists lend their daring and determination to everything from battling evil wizards in Russia to outsmarting tricky demons in South Africa. In the title story, a young member of the Zuni Native American tribe proves her resourcefulness as she confronts cultural double standards and malicious winter spirits.
Adrienne, Keesha, Michael, and Tommy have been friends for forever. They live on the same street—a street in New Orleans where everyone knows everybody. They play together all day long, every chance they get. It's always been that way. But then people start talking about a storm headed straight for New Orleans. The kids must part ways, since each family deals with Hurricane Katrina in a different manner. And suddenly everything that felt like home is gone.
Renée Watson's lyrical free verse is perfectly matched in Shadra Strickland's vivid mixed media art. Together they celebrate the spirit and resiliency of New Orleans, especially its children.