Romiette and Julio by Sharon M. Draper (Atheneum, 1999)(Simon Pulse, 2006)(excerpt). In this retelling inspired by Shakespeare's famed star-crossed lovers, Julio is the new kid, a Mexican-American who's just fallen hard for an African American girl named Romiette. The bad news? A violent local gang, the Devildogs, wants the two separated permanently...or else. Will these two soul mates meet the same end as Romeo and Juliet, or does fate have different plans? Ages 12-up.
I just reread Romiette and Julio in preparation for my summer lecture as a faculty member at the Vermont College M.F.A. program in Writing for Children and Young Adults. I'm focussing on retellings and reinventions of classic tales.
I'll be adding the novel to my bibliography of Children's and YA books with Interracial Family Themes on the novels page. Books of this kind are still under-published.
The cover art on the latest paperback edition is much improved from the original. The novel is especially strong in its depiction of secondary characters.
Books on my nightstand include Sharon's latest, Copper Sun (Atheneum, 2006)(excerpt), which has earned stars from Booklist and School Library Journal (see reviews).
Cynsational News & Links
Author Interviews: May 2006: Eve Bunting from Downhomebooks.com. See also Author Interviews: May 2006: Jack Gantos from Downhomebooks.com.
Beloved, Out-of-Print Children's Books from the Children's Book Council. Cyn Note: My favorite, previously out-of-print book is Muskrat Will Be Swimming by Cheryl Savageau, illustrated by Robert Hines, originally published by Rising Moon, 1996. I'm thrilled to say the book was re-released by Tilbury House this spring--available as of April 2006!
See also The Public Librarian's Role in Serving the Homeschooled Student by Maria Zawacki from CBC.