BCBA Author Spotlight: Rita Williams-Garcia

Some years ago, Rudine Sims Bishop declared that Rita Williams-Garcia could possibly be named “among the most prominent African-American literary artists of the next generation.” Fast forward to now, and it appears that Bishop’s declaration may be true. All of the books in Williams-Garcia’s Gaither Sisters middle grade series have won multiple prestigious awards and honors. The first book in the series, One Crazy Summer, was published in 2010. Before then, she wrote mostly young adult novels, which were also recipients of awards and good reviews. Bishop further states that “her work is marked by an authentic rendering of the styles and cadences of urban black language, some touches of humor, and strong, dynamic characterization.” 

Williams-Garcia, a native of Queens, New York, began reading and writing at an early age. Her first “unpublished” works consisted of stories and poems about her siblings, all written before entering elementary school. In 1988, after many years of writing, rewriting, and manuscript rejections, Williams-Garcia’s first young adult novel, Blue Tights, was published. In reviews of Blue Tights and her other novels, she is praised for her ability to honestly portray the lives and experiences of inner city Black children growing up in America. Although Williams-Garcia’s most recent release is the picture book, Bottle Cap Boys Dancing on Royal Street, she says she loves writing for middle grade readers. Her next story, Clayton Byrd Goes Underground, is about loss and features a boy and his grandfather.

Writing stories for young people is my passion and my mission.

Rita Williams-Garcia

Sources and Additional Reading: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5  

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