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Salon Series

Writing Difficult Moments & Histories with Humor

Anna Lapera Salon

Meet the Guest Author

Anna Lapera

Anna Lapera

Anna Lapera is a mixed-race Guatemalan-American author and educator. Her debut upper middle grade novel, Mani Semilla Finds Her Quetzal Voice, was named one of the “Most Anticipated Middle Grade Reads of 2024” by the School Library Journal. She teaches middle school by day and writes stories about girls stepping into their power in the early hours of the morning. She is a Pushcart prize nominee, a Tin House and Macondo Writers Workshop alum, a member of Las Musas and a past Kweli Journal mentee. When she’s not writing or teaching, you can find her occasionally playing the drums or searching for the crispiest plátano frito in town. She lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with her husband, two daughters and a rescue dog named Leo.

More about Mani Semilla Finds Her Quetzal Voice

Life sucks when you’re twelve. You’re not a little kid, but you’re also not an adult, and all the grown-ups in your life talk about your body the minute it starts getting a shape. And what sucks even more than being a Chinese-Filipino-American-Guatemalan who can’t speak any ancestral language well? When almost every other girl in school has already gotten her period except for you and your two besties.

Manuela “Mani” Semilla wants two things: To get her period, and to thwart her mom’s plan of taking her to Guatemala on her thirteenth birthday. If her mom’s always going on about how dangerous it is in Guatemala, and how much she sacrificed to come to this country, then why should Mani even want to visit?

But one day, up in the attic, she finds secret letters between her mom and her Tía Beatriz, who, according to family lore, died in a bus crash before Mani was born. But the letters reveal a different story. Why did her family really leave Guatemala? What will Mani learn about herself along the way? And how can the letters help her to stand up against the culture of harassment at her own school?

This event is open to:

all mentees, all mentors, program alum and the public

July 18 6:00 pm 7:15 pm EDT

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