Where is Home?
I recently caught the exhibit HOME—So Different, So Appealing at LACMA. Latinx and Latin American artists interpreted various themes connected to home: From demolishing furniture, to recreating the unibomber shack with Martha Stewart paint colors to powerful videos. There were many pieces of work that explored colonialism, immigration, and poverty. (You can find more images on my Instagram page.)
My next young adult novel Dealing In Dreams centers around a young girl's quest to find a home. She'll do anything to secure a spot in what she considers to be the ultimate "American Dream." Although Dealing in Dreams is set in a near-future Bronx, New York, readers will connect to the universal themes of striving for a better life. I go back to my own childhood growing up in the South Bronx. My parents were able to move away from a tenement building to live in a newly opened housing projects. There was beauty and hope until there wasn't. (It's something I talked about on NPR.) I have such a complicated relationship with that place and wanted to examine it through fiction.
As I was leaving the exhibit, there was a hallway filled with black and white images. I knew right away that the photographs were of the South Bronx. Empty lots. Abandoned buildings. I stood in front of my childhood and burst into tears.
What does home mean to you?
Currently reading: Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson
PS: The Education of Margot Sanchez was nominated for Best Fiction for Young Adults by the Young Adult Library Services Association!