Today we are chatting with Ibi Zoboi, author of
Read on for more about Ibi, her book and giveaway!
Meet Ibi Zoboi!
Ibi Zoboi’s debut novel American Street was a National Book Award finalist. She is also the New York Times Bestselling author of Pride, My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich, and Punching the Air with co-author and Exonerated Five member, Yusef Salaam. She is the editor of the anthology Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America. Born in Haiti and raised in New York City, she now lives in New Jersey with her husband and their three children.
Meet Star Child!
Acclaimed novelist Ibi Zoboi illuminates the young life of the visionary storyteller Octavia E. Butler in poems and prose. Born into the Space Race, the Red Scare, and the dawning Civil Rights Movement, Butler expereinced an American childhood that shaped her into the groundbreaking science-fiction storyteller whose novels continue to challenge and delight readers fifteen years after her death.
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
I met Octavia Butler after graduating from college. After reading her novels, I wanted to know more about her life and what inspired her to be a pioneering science-fiction author. Butler wrote her very first novel at the age of 10 in 1957. When we see Black children on the page during the 1950s, it’s usually about civil rights or racism. But this little Black girl was writing about magical horses and Martians. I want children to see how this little girl dreamed the universe and stayed true to herself in spite of everything that was happening in the world.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
The book came first. It took a while for us to come up with the subtitle, A BIOGRAPHICAL CONSTELLATION OF OCTAVIA ESTELLE BUTLER.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
This is not necessarily a scene, but an actual moment in Octavia Butler’s life. She found a magazine on the bus called The Writer, and this was when she learned all about submitting for publication. She submitted her first story at the age of 13, and she never stopped sending in her writing since.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?
It’s okay to take risks in how you tell a story, even if it’s non-fiction. I decided that I didn’t want STAR CHILD to be a straight biography. It’s a biographical portrait with poems, photos, and quotes because Butler’s life was so much more imaginative than just the facts. I needed a way to connect the dots that made up her young creative life.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I love everything about the cover, but what most stands out is how young Octavia is looking at the reader, and older Octavia is looking out towards the future. This biography is aimed at young readers who will read about Butler and can later read her novels that are set in the future.
YABC: What’s a book you’ve recently read and loved?
Me (Moth) by Amber McBride
YABC: What’s up next for you?
OKOYE TO THE PEOPLE, a Black Panther novel from Marvel is due out on March 1st, 2022.
YABC: What advice do you have for new writers?
I hope Octavia’s story inspires new writers to keep going. I have a similar story in that I never stopped writing. With each new story or idea, you get better. It doesn’t get easier, but you will learn new ways of putting words together and how characters can live on the page. It’s a journey where you can acquire new skills and not only grow as a writer, but you learn wonderful things about yourself as an artist.
Author: Ibi Zoboi
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: January 25th, 2022
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