Fifth grade isn't exactly easy for eleven-year-old Taneesha Bey-Ross. For one thing, she's getting tired of being her best friend Carli Flanagan's personal bodyguard. Carli wears a leg brace and she's white, and when Taneesha does stand up for Carli in the face of a local bully--a giant of a girl with big fists and army boots--she's told to expect revenge. Taneesha's also running a loser's race for class president, and her love-hate interest Rayshaun has learned that Taneesha is a Buddhist, so now he's taunting her, saying that she's going to hell. Her mom may have told her that Taneesha's got heaven in her heart, but it doesn't feel that way. And just in case she forgets it, there's always Evella, Taneesha's evil imaginary twin, to remind her that she's a total failure.
This beautifully written, fun, and instantly engaging novel presents vivid characters and a timely story about the big issues that every child faces.
M. LaVora Perry is a writer and the author of children's book A History of the Civil Rights Movement (Mason Crest, 2012). She is also a photojournalist, website editor, and videographer for Greater University Circle Neighborhood Voice and Neighborhood-Voice.com, a print and online publication in Cleveland, Ohio. Each monthly print edition features her front-page column. Visit her website, mlavoraperry.com.
Floyd Cooper received a Coretta Scott King Award for his illustrations in The Blacker the Berry and a Coretta Scott King Honor for his illustrations in Brown Honey in Broomwheat Tea and I Have Heard of a Land. Born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Mr. Cooper received a degree in fine arts from the University of Oklahoma and, after graduating, worked as an artist for a major greeting card company. In 1984 he came to New York City to pursue a career as an illustrator of books and now lives in Easton, Pennsylvania, with his wife and children.