Even though they were born in different countries, Akilah and Victoria are true best friends. But Victoria has been acting strange ever since she returned from her summer in Nigeria, where she had a special coming-of-age ceremony. Why does proud Victoria, named for a queen, slouch at her desk and answer the teacher's questions in a whisper? And why won't she laugh with Akilah anymore? Akilah's name means "intelligent," and she is determined to find out what's wrong, no matter how much detective work she has to do. But when she learns the terrible secret Victoria is hiding, she suddenly has even more questions. The only problem is, they might not be the kind that have answers. In this groundbreaking novel, Coretta Scott King Honor winner Rita Williams-Garcia uses her vividly realistic voice to explore an often taboo practice that affects millions of girls around the world every year. Readers will identify with headstrong, outspoken Akilah, whose struggle to understand what's happened to Victoria reveals a painful truth in an honest and accessible way.
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Winner of the PEN/Norma Klein Award, Rita Williams-Garcia is the author of four distinguished novels for young adults: Every Time a Rainbow Dies, Fast Talk on a Slow Track (ALA Best Books for Young Adults), Blue Tights, and Like Sisters on the Homefront. The latter was named a Coretta Scott King Honor Book and was chosen as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and a best book of the year by ALA Booklist, School Library Journal, The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, The Horn Book, and Publishers Weekly.
Rita Williams-Garcia works as a manager in a marketing and media company. She has two daughters, Michelle and Stephanie, and lives in Jamaica, New York.From School Library Journal:
Grade 5-8--The friendship between two fifth-grade girls is at the center of this powerful novel, which also deals with the issue of female genital mutilation (FMG). Akilah, a 10-year-old African-American girl from Queens, can't wait for her best friend, Victoria, to come home from a visit to her grandmother in Nigeria. The Victoria who returns home, however, seems like a very different girl--quiet, reserved, and unhappy. Akilah spends the first half of the novel trying to figure out what happened to her friend. Victoria finally spills the truth: her family allowed a doctor to remove her clitoris so she would be a "clean and proper" Nigerian girl. Akilah is outraged, but keeps her friend's secret until her mother finds out by accident. Akilah's mother, also angered, screams at Victoria's mother and causes a rift between the two families. Williams-Garcia provides age-appropriate details without using anatomical terms and addresses some cultural issues and contradictions without overwhelming readers. Mostly the story focuses on the relationship between the two girls and Akilah's sometimes troubled bond with her mother. Because the story is told entirely from Akilah's point of view, the emotional impact of FMG is somewhat muted. However, readers with an interest in human rights and world issues may find the novel compelling, and it can also be appreciated as a story about friendship.--Miranda Doyle, San Francisco Public Library
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Book Description Amistad, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0064409929