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Cover reveal and excerpt: EVERY BODY LOOKING by Candice Iloh

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Jacqueline Woodson loves it, Nic Stone loves it, Jason Reynolds loves it! And we just know you’re going to love it too! Every Body Looking by Candice Iloh, is a that book tells the story of Ada–daughter of an immigrant father and an African American mother–and her struggle to find a place for herself in America and in her own family.

Told entirely in verse, Ada’s story encompasses her earliest memories as a child, including her mother’s descent into addiction and her father’s attempts to create a home for his American daughter more like the one he knew in Nigeria.

Every Body Looking is a heavily autobiographical novel of a young woman’s struggle to carve a place for herself–for her black female body–in a world of deeply conflicting messages.

And this cover!!! Oh this COVER!!!

And don’t forget to scroll down for an excerpt of Every Body Looking

Every-Body-LookingWR

 

JUST LOOK AT ME

they got me out here

wearing a dress

heels

makeup

 

hope Mama’s proud

 

she sure does look like it

looking at me and squealing

like proud mamas do when

their baby looks something

 

like she came from them

 

her squeals bounce

from every wall of this hotel lobby

her screams shake from

her fragile body exploding

 

like she’s shocked by her own joy

 

unsteady heels click

against the tile toward the person she can say

was the best thing she ever did

with her life

 

HERE’S THE SCENE: I’M SEVENTEEN AND GRADUATING

from high school

and this weekend I learn to juggle

 

my father and his new wife

are on their way to the Home of the Chicago Doves

 

decked out, like they’re about to glide down the church’s red carpet

him in his crispiest suit, her bulging from a flowered dress

 

my baby brother dressed

as Dad’s mini identical twin

 

belted in the back seat

of my father’s golden Toyota Camry

 

is giddy knowing nothing

about what day it is

 

or how his big sister

will survive it

 

after picking up her own mommy

keeping her seated somewhere

 

she can fidget

far from his side of the family

 

MAMA FIDGETS

in my passenger seat

more on edge than me

maybe cause it’s been

like five years since we’ve seen

each other but she is here

 

scoffs under her breath

thinking, just like her

this hoopty is proof

of yet another thing

I don’t need

 

shrugs away small thoughts

not knowing

Dad demanded

I save and buy my first Camry

myself

 

sits and tugs

at her lopsided wig

pulls down the mirror

reapplies bloodred lipstick

smudges some on her cheeks

with her fingers

 

and I thank god knowing

without this

I may not

recognize her

 

WE PULL INTO MY HIGH SCHOOL’S PARKING LOT

for the last day I will ever have to smile at these people like I ever belonged here / for the ten minutes it takes Mama and me to get to the stands along the football field, a place she has never seen / I imagine the sounds of our heels to be / like a song we are for once dancing to together / today / I’m not angry / at her slurred speech / I’m not angry / at her missing teeth / I’m not angry / at her fuss / I’m not angry / that she looks nothing like / the last time I saw her / or that / I don’t know when the next time will be / for the ten minutes it takes Mama and me to get to the stands along the football field / I’m just happy we’re both here / alive

 

MY NAME IS ADA

but not really

it’s what my father’s side

calls me cause I was born

 

first

 

and on this day

I’m only three months

from leaving this place behind

 

they tell me there’s

a big world out there

and they tell me

 

there’s so much I can do

and I know nothing

but this city

 

but my father

but these schools

where I’ve always

 

been one of few specks

of dingy brown

in a sea of perfect white

 

but I know the bible

and I know how to do

 

the right things

 

so how hard could college

really be

#Newsyoucanuse

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