On Tuesday, April 28th Pero Like’s Claudia Restrepo went live on Instagram with Elizabeth Acevedo; award-winning author and poet of two great novels; The Poet X, With the Fire on High and her upcoming book, Clap When You Land which comes out on May 5th.
Clap When You Land circles around Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people…
In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash.
Separated by distance–and Papi’s secrets–the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered.
And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other. (Taken from BookShop.org)
Acevedo spoke about being an 8th grade teacher and listening to her students tell her that they are not interested in school and the books that they are reading is not interesting since it does not represent them. This is where the idea of writing stories that represents the Latinx culture came about.
Clap When You Land came from the idea of a true tragic accident happened on November 12, 2001, two months after the tragedy of 9/11, a plane departing from JFK Airport en route to the Dominican Republic fell from the sky, killing about 260 passengers and crew members. This shook the Latinx world entirely. Acevedo heard many different stories, but one that struck her was a man that was in the plane who had been discovered that he had two families; one in NYC and the other in Dominican Republic. The airlines was having trouble of choosing which family he should give the grievance money to since both were technically deserved it.
Acevedo spoke about being the first writer of color after its 83-year of history to win the Carnegie Medal Award in 2019 which made the institution look within themselves in terms of diversity. She said that it felt great winning, but also made her think about the other writers who deserved it as well way before her. Towards the end of the live, Acevedo guided us through a writing prompt in where we created lists and was asked to create a story or poem out of it.