Q: Why do you write?
A: The world of storytelling is a superhero lair. Life magazine ran a nine-page photo of the Brooklyn housing projects where I was born and raised. Life called us “The Crack Capital of the U.S.” and “One of the Ten Worst Neighborhoods in the Country”. As a boy, the best stories were my fortress of solitude and reading and writing were Captain America’s “Super Soldier Serum”. They transformed me from at-risk into writing and teaching to help young people see that they are heroic in many ways and can be their own type of real-world hero.
Q: If you had 30 seconds to tell someone about your books, what would you say?
A: Betsy Bird, a great SLJ librarian, describes What Lane? as “It’s quick, thin and there’s not a drop of excess anywhere”. She adds, “I feel like it is a natural companion to our Newbery winner NEW KID”. That comics and graphic novel energy is all of my writing. In each book you find a Black or Brown boy protagonist and diverse cast. Every book helps kids analyze behavior and gives them words to name feelings and space to discuss tough topics in fun ways. And you’ll get Brooklyn stories never before told.