Author Of Young Adults Books Speaks At F.R. Library
By Miriam Rosenberg
The Far Rockaway Library was host to an award-winning writer of books for young adults on April 11, when Rita William-Garcia spoke to a group of eighth graders from MS 43 in Edgemere.
The Jamaica, Queens native is the author of five books for young adults. She told the students how she got started as a writer and answered questions about her books.
Most of the questions centered on “No Laughter Here”, a novel many of the students have read in class.
The story is about the sensitive yet, to many, disturbing subject of female genital mutilation and its relation to different cultures. It deals with the question through the impact it has on two friends – one from Queens and the other from Nigeria.
“It’s a big world out there,” Williams-Garcia told the students. “We can’t close ourselves off.”
Williams-Garcia was sensitive, yet open, as she answered the questions from the inquisitive eighth graders. She explained that in some cultures female genital mutilation is a continuation of a tradition where a woman cannot be married without having it done.
“It is a special bond between mother and daughter,” she said about the subject of the book that was named one of Booklist’s Top 10 Black History Titles for Youth for 2004. She also said that many women refuse to return to their countries for fear of undergoing such a procedure.
“I wanted to give these girls a voice,” she said.
On a lighter note, Williams-Garcia answered questions about her craft.
She sold her first story to Highlights magazine when she was 14 years old and said one day she would like to author a non-fiction book on funk – the origin of music. Williams-Garcia also believes that a writer should write everyday.
In addition to “No Laughter Here”, Williams-Garcia’s other books are “Blue Tights” (her first book – which was published in 1987), “Fast Talk on a Slow Track” (1991), “Every Time a Rainbow Dies” (2001) and “Like Sisters on the Homefront” (1995) – which won several awards, including the Coretta Scott King Honor Book Award and the 1995 Best Books Award from Publishers Weekly. She has also authored several short stories.
When she is not writing, William-Garcia works for a market and media service corporation.
“I [think] there is a value to what I have to say,” she said. “I would write even if I didn’t get paid.