Author Chat With Tonya Bolden, (Going Places: Victor Hugo Green and His Glorious Book), Plus Giveaway! ~ US Only!

Today we are very excited to share an interview with Author Tonya Bolden (Going Places: Victor Hugo Green and His Glorious Book)!

Read on to learn more about her, her book, and a giveaway!




Meet the Author: Tonya Bolden

Tonya Bolden’s books have earned much praise and numerous starred reviews. Her work has been recognized with the NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children and the Carter G. Woodson Book Award as well as listed as a CBC/NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People. She is also the recipient of the Children’s Book Guild of Washington, DC’s Nonfiction Award for her body of work. Her Maritcha: A Nineteenth-Century American Girl was a Coretta Scott King Author Honor book. She lives in the Bronx. Visit her website at

Website * Instagram




About the Book: Going Places: Victor Hugo Green and His Glorious Book

In the vein of Hidden Figures comes a nonfiction picture book about the Green Book, a travel guide by Victor Hugo Green, a Black postal worker from Harlem, made to help African Americans stay safe while traveling during segregation.





~Author Chat~


YABC:  What gave you the inspiration to write this book?

Actually, the book was not my idea. Karen Chaplin, an executive editor at Quill Tree Books reached out to me about doing a book on the Green Book. Shortly after I agreed, I began researching Victor Hugo Green’s life and reading various editions of the Green Book, all the while allowing what I was learning to inspire how I told the story.


YABC: Which came first, the title or the book?

Early on in the research I came upon an article about Victor Hugo Green in the New York Age’s travel section “Going Places!” and, Bingo!, I had my title. The phrase  “going places” became something of the book’s heartbeat or pulse. I was ecstatic when my editor let me know that she was on board with the title. (I’ve often come up with terrible titles!)


YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?

I wouldn’t say that there is one scene that I am most proud of, but I vividly remember the rush of joy when I hit upon the idea of including in the story Langston Hughes, Dr. May Edward Chinn, and other historical figures, who had to deal with—and navigate around—the hassles and humiliations that came with traveling while Black just like countless Black people across the nation who were far from well-known. The idea of including some historical figures came right as I was writing about the move that Victor and his wife, Alma, made in 1930 from Hackensack, New Jersey to Harlem, New York. Who were some of the Black history-makers living in Harlem at the time? I asked myself. A flood of people came to mind. Then it was just a matter of double-checking on dates.


YABC:  Thinking way back to the beginning, whats the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?

It’s really hard for me to rank all that I’ve learned over the years. I’ve definitely learned the old standard that writing is rewriting . . . and rewriting . . . and rewriting. Inevitably after a book pubs I find phrases, sentences—and sometimes entire paragraphs—that could be better! I’ve also learned to recognize and treasure a really good editor—someone who gets what you are doing, doesn’t let you go down rabbit holes, and who can even edit in your voice. It’s so exhilarating to work with that kind of editor. Lastly, I’d say I’ve learned not to take myself too seriously, not to take anything for granted, and to be grateful for the journey.


YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?

I especially love the sense of joy, wonder, hope, and possibility that Eric conveyed in the faces of the two children. The cover brings back so many childhood memories of my family’s car trips South in the 1960s to visit relatives. My sister and I each had our own little suitcase just like the boy and girl on the cover.


YABC:   Whats up next for you?

Coming out in January is a picture book I co-wrote with the legendary Roberta Flack. The book is about this multiple Grammy Award-winning singer’s absolute passion for music as a child. It just so happens that it has “Green” in the title: The Green Piano: How Little Me Found Music.


YABC:    What is the main message or lesson you would like your reader to remember from this book?

I hope that what sticks with readers is the wit, ingenuity, and sheer determination that so many Black people displayed in their quest to, as one reviewer said, “live a full life” in the face of widespread discrimination.


YABC:     Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?

I applaud—and support as best I can—organizations devoted to helping people who are living in poverty.


YABC:   What advice do you have for new writers?

 Always be on the lookout for and open to ways that you can improve your craft. One easy way to do that is to pay close attention to changes an editor or copyeditor makes or suggests. Also, if you have a bestseller out the gate—or very early on in your career—don’t go on a spending spree! Tuck away a good chunk of the money and seek out a really good accountant and a really good financial advisor.


YABC:   Is there anything that you would like to add?

Once again, I’m so grateful for this Author Chat opportunity and I’m forever grateful for YABC’s existence!


Title: Going Places: Victor Hugo Green and His Glorious Book

Author: Tonya Bolden

Illustrator: Eric Velasquez

Release Date: 10/4/22

Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s

ISBN-10: 0062967404

ISBN-13: 9780062967404

Genre: Nonfiction Picture Book




~ Giveaway Details ~

Five (5) winners will receive a hardcover copy of Going Places: Victor Hugo Green and His Glorious Book (Tonya Bolden) ~US ONLY


*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*


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3 thoughts on “Author Chat With Tonya Bolden, (Going Places: Victor Hugo Green and His Glorious Book), Plus Giveaway! ~ US Only!”

  1. Cori says:

    Looks good!

  2. The cover is excellent. I’ve read another picture book about this subject and can’t wait to read this one too.

  3. ltecler says:

    This sounds great! I’d love to use it with my school’s readers along with Nic Stone’s Clean Getaway.

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