In this semiautobiographical debut novel set in 1983, Vanessa Martin's real-life reality of living with family in public housing in Newark, New Jersey, is a far cry from the glamorous Miss America stage. She struggles with an incarcerated mother she barely remembers, a grandfather dealing with addiction, and her own battle with self-confidence. But when a new teacher at school coordinates a beauty pageant and convinces Vanessa to enter, Vanessa's view of her own world begins to change.
Up until her 15th birthday, the most important thing in the world to Beatriz Mendez was her dream of becoming a professional dancer and getting herself and her family far from the gang life that defined their days - that and meeting her dance idol Debbie Allen on the set of her favorite TV show, Fame. But after the latest battle in a constant turf war leaves her gang leader brother, Junito, dead and her mother grieving, Beatriz has a new set of priorities. How is she supposed to feel the rhythm when her gang needs running and her mami can't brush her own teeth?
Discover this poignant, timely, and emotionally stirring audiobook, an ode to black and brown children everywhere that is full of hope, assurance, and love. Tami Charles pens a poetic, lyrical text that is part love letter, part anthem, assuring listeners that they always have, and always will, matter. This powerful, rhythmic lullaby reassures listeners that their matter and their worth is never diminished, no matter the circumstance.