Some books make me wish I had a middle school class so I could share them with readers. Tuck Everlasting. The Giver. And Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan, which launches today! A little about the book:
“Thirteen-year-old Habo has always been different— light eyes, yellow hair and white skin. Not the good brown skin his family has and not the white skin of tourists…When the family is forced from their small Tanzanian village, and Habo knows he is to blame.
Seeking refuge in Mwanza, Habo and his family journey across the Serengeti…Suddenly, Habo has a new word for himself: Albino. But they hunt Albinos in Mwanza because Albino body parts are thought to bring good luck. And soon Habo is being hunted by a fearsome man with a machete. To survive, Habo must not only run but find a way to love and accept himself.”
I first heard about Golden Boy in 2011, when Tara and I were co-winners of the PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award. At the reception, Tara read a little from her manuscript and I was blown away by the quality of the writing and the sensitivity to the characters. Plus, Golden Boy deals with international human rights issues; I can’t imagine that most young readers know what people with albinism face in Africa (or anywhere). When Tara finished reading, I was more than a little intimidated to go after her. Golden Boy was so good and important!
When I joined Tara’s critique group, I got to read the whole manuscript and guys–Golden Boy is still so good and important. Tara tackles a very challenging issue from the perspective of a rich, compelling narrator and cast of characters. And the book world agrees! From some Golden Boy reviews:
- “Readers will be caught by the contemporary story of prejudice, both unspoken and violent, as tension builds to the climax.”–Booklist
- “A moving novel that explores finding the worth of an individual as they see themselves, not as the world sees them.”–VOYA
- “A riveting snapshot of one Tanzanian boy who makes himself matter.”–starred Kirkus (why yes, that is a starred Kirkus review)
Today is the first day you can officially add Golden Boy to your bookshelves! And if you’re in the Boston area, you can come to Porter Square Books for the official launch party and buy a copy there! Which also means you get to hear Tara talk about the book and Tanzania, get a signed copy, and eat celebratory cake. (Yes, books and cake. Thursday just got awesome.)
So come out to Porter Square books tonight, or snag your copy from another local bookstore, or buy it online, or ask your favorite librarian for a copy. Because this book will give you all the feelings and make you want to share it with your favorite young reader.