Ashley Hope Pérez's YA historical fiction novel, Out of Darkness, was published in 2015 to wide acclaim, winning several awards including the 2016 Michael L. Printz Honor for Excellence in Young Adult Literature and the 2016 Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award.
Out of Darkness is "a riveting novel about segregation, love, family, and the forces that destroy people" that is set in 1937 East Texas around the real-life New London School explosion - the deadliest school disaster in American history.
In the fall of 2021, Ashley Hope Pérez found her novel to be the target of book banning efforts in several states. Out of Darkness was banned or challenged in several school districts in Texas and most recently was removed from the Washington County, Utah school district in December.
Ashley Hope Pérez will talk about about the rise of censorship in schools and libraries, what it is like having her book banned, and the importance of creating diverse literature for young adult readers today. The discussion will be moderated by Bexley Public Library Director Ben Heckman and will be followed by a book signing. Books will be available to purchase through Bookspace for the book signing.
Presenter Bio: Ashley Hope Pérez is the author of three novels: Out of Darkness (2015), The Knife and the Butterfly (2012), and What Can’t Wait (2011). Out of Darkness was described by The New York Times Book Review as a “layered tale of color lines, love and struggle in an East Texas oil town,” and was selected as a best book of the year by both Kirkus and School Library Journal. It received a 2016 Printz Honor for Literary Excellence in Young Adult Fiction, the 2016 Tomás Rivera Book Award, and the 2016 Américas Award. What Can’t Wait and The Knife and the Butterfly appear on YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults and Popular Paperbacks lists. Out of Darkness has become a target of efforts to ban books about the experiences of BIPOC and other marginalized people and was #4 on the ALA’s Top Ten Most Challenged Books in 2021.
Ashley is also a former high school English teacher, holds a doctorate in comparative literature, and is an assistant professor of world literatures at The Ohio State University. Visit her online at www.ashleyperez.com, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Read more about her response to book banning here: https://linktr.ee/ashleyhopeperez.