No Laughter Hereby Rita Williams-Garcia
In this groundbreaking novel, Coretta Scott King Award winner Rita Williams-Garcia uses her vividly realistic voice to highlight an often taboo practice that affects millions of girls around the world every year, and to explore a perspective not often depicted in YA fiction. Readers will identify with headstrong, outspoken Akilah, whose struggle to understand
In this groundbreaking novel, Coretta Scott King Award winner Rita Williams-Garcia uses her vividly realistic voice to highlight an often taboo practice that affects millions of girls around the world every year, and to explore a perspective not often depicted in YA fiction. Readers will identify with headstrong, outspoken Akilah, whose struggle to understand what's happened to her best friend reveals a painful truth in an honest and accessible way.
Even though they were born in different countries, Akilah and Victoria are true best friends. But Victoria has been acting strange ever since she returned from her summer in Nigeria, where she had a special coming-of-age ceremony. Why does proud Victoria, named for a queen, slouch at her desk and answer the teacher's questions in a whisper? And why won't she laugh with Akilah anymore?
Akilah's name means "intelligent," and she is determined to find out what's wrong, no matter how much detective work she has to do. But when she learns the terrible secret Victoria is hiding, she suddenly has even more questions. The only problem is, they might not be the kind that have answers.
- HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication date:
- Sold by:
- NOOK Book
- Sales rank:
- File size:
- 595 KB
- Age Range:
- 13 Years
Read an Excerpt
No Laughter Here
By Rita Williams-Garcia
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
Copyright © 2006
All right reserved.
Girl Warrior Rising
Did you ever cross your fingers and play that game in your head: If the last Life Saver in the roll is pineapple, then the letter will come this week. If the phone rings only twice before Dad yells, "I got it!," then the letter will come this week. If I can count to ten at my normal counting speed before a floating dandelion hits the ground, then it's for certain: Victoria's letter will definitely come this week.
Ever play that game and the last Life Saver is pineapple, Dad yells for the phone in time, and the dandelion is still crisscrossing above the hydrangeas on the count of twelve, and still no letter from Nigeria?
For two days straight I watched the mailman push his cart by our house only to leave a few Dear Occupant envelopes and a letter from our state assemblywoman.
Today, however, I was ready for him. Instead of watching from my bedroom window, I was stationed downstairs behind the living-room curtains. He was one of those new guys who was filling in while our regular carrier was on vacation. When I got through with him, he'd know that I was expecting an important letter and that his duty was to be on the lookout for anything from Nigeria. Victoria's stamps didn't fall off on their own, I'd explain. Some stamp collector was dazzled by the mighty Chief ObafemiAwolowo or the baobab tree smack in the corner of Victoria's letter and took those stamps for his private collection. I had to remind the mailman that even if the stamps had been taken off and chances are they had it was his duty to deliver Victoria's letter through rain, sleet, and from across the Atlantic Ocean.
So when the mailman pushed the cable bill and a leaflet from our councilman through the mail slot, I swung open the front door before he could get away. Dad says I have Girl Warrior rising, meaning I leap into action like a super-hero when action is needed.
"Mr. Mailman," I called after him. "Can you check your bag to see if there are any letters from Nigeria, postage due?"
I didn't even get a chance to tell him to be on the lookout for Victoria's letter and to deliver it even if Chief Obafemi Awolowo had fallen off the corner. Mom snatched me back into the house. Not with her hands. She didn't believe in yanking or spanking. But with her voice.
Girl Warrior fell to earth with a thud. I closed the door quicker than I had opened it.
"You know better than to talk to strangers."
I came inside and sat down on the sofa to sulk. I couldn't see what the big deal was. After all, during the school year I walk to school and back with a key around my neck, advertising to anyone that I'm a latchkey kid. I ride my bike all over town and no one ever messes with me.
Mom should have let the mailman answer, because now my mind took off into the wild blue yonder as she scolded me.
Victoria's letter had fallen off the mail barge and was floating up the White Nile. It had survived hippos and crocodiles only to drown in Khartoum, where the White Nile meets the Blue Nile. I could see the envelope sinking, sinking . . . but I snapped out of it because Victoria wasn't in Sudan.
"I should have enrolled you in that math and science camp up at York College instead of keeping you home . . . ."
That thought sent me back on the trail of Victoria's letter. Back across the Atlantic Ocean to the African continent.
I saw a rickety truck climbing the mountains of Kenya on bald tires. Mailbags bounced as the truck made its way up the rocky dirt road. A mailbag jostled open. A trail of letters dotted the road like Hansel and Gretel's bread crumbs.
"I thought spending more time together would be a good opportunity . . ."
But Victoria wasn't in Kenya or in Egypt. She wasn't in the Congo, or in Madagascar or Botswana. Victoria was in Nigeria, visiting her grandmother. She and her family had been in Nigeria since June twenty-third, the day I marked on my calendar as the start of Victoria's great journey. It was now August. Two months and only two letters.
Mom was still talking. "Clearly, you need more activities."
I went over our plan to stay in touch, which was, first she'd write, then I'd write, then she'd write, and I'd write, until she returned to Queens. The plan was going well. She wrote. Then I wrote. Then she wrote. Then I wrote. Then two weeks passed since my last letter from Victoria. Then three weeks. I wrote again, addressing the envelope in my clearest handwriting, to make sure it would be delivered, but it was no use. Her letters stopped coming. No more loopty-loo Ls and jolly P stems. No fat-dotted Is and Js.
I went over everything in my mind, like a rice inspector sifting through barrels of rice. Was it something I wrote in my last letter? I told her a joke I got off the Internet. I asked about the special dinner in her honor I mean, that's all I heard about before the Ojikes left for Africa: "There will be a special dinner to celebrate my coming-of-age." That was what Mrs. Ojike told Victoria and that was what Victoria told me, over and over.
Excerpted from No Laughter Here
by Rita Williams-Garcia
Copyright © 2006 by Rita Williams-Garcia.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
Rita Williams-Garcia's Newbery Honor-winning novel, One Crazy Summer, was a winner of the Coretta Scott King Award, a National Book Award finalist, the recipient of the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction, and a New York Times bestseller. The sequel, P.S. Be Eleven, was also a Coretta Scott King Award winner and an ALA Notable Children's Book for Middle Readers. She is also the author of six distinguished novels for young adults: Jumped, a National Book Award finalist; No Laughter Here, Every Time a Rainbow Dies (a Publishers Weekly Best Children's Book), and Fast Talk on a Slow Track (all ALA Best Books for Young Adults); Blue Tights; and Like Sisters on the Homefront, a Coretta Scott King Honor Book. Rita Williams-Garcia lives in Jamaica, New York, is on the faculty at the Vermont College of Fine Arts in the Writing for Children & Young Adults Program, and has two adult daughters, Stephanie and Michelle, and a son-in-law, Adam.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews
This book should be read by everyone who works with kids. It is an excellent reminder that we do not always know what our students are dealing with outside of the classroom.
We are reading this book out loud to our sixth grade class. They love it. At first we thought the boys would not enjoy the book, but after the first chapter they were hooked. As a class we love this book. It is very educational and it is reality for many young girls. This book also shows that one situation can change the way we view life. The way we laugh. The way we cry. How we view our friendships and our families. I love this book. The characters are vivid. This is a great book for young girls....:)
I read the book in a matter of hours. Though this is a rarely addressed topic among adults, doesn't mean that there shouldn't be awareness. I believe that if young adults can learn about Ann Frank and genocide, they can most certainly learn about the topic within this book (I don't to spoil the reveal). Williams-Garcia did an excellent job composing the book, and crafting characters that would remain relatable to young adults. I wish the ending went into more detail, overall a great read, and a piece of literature that be used as vehicle ft or awareness.
I didn't really seemed so intrested in this book, our teacher was doing a read aloud so it was like we had a choice. This book seemed like any other book until I started reading and reading. When I found out what happened to Victoria I was disgusted but that didn't give me a reason to put down a book. This book showed us about the real world and how digusting things could happen to girls, it wasn't just about she lived hapily ever after the end. This was a serious book and it shone some light on the real world. I didn't like the way the book ended though, I wish there could of been a couple more pages to it but then again they are only fifth graders, I liked the book anyway.
What is the secret someone tell me because ifi buy this don't want it to be to gross or weird so please tell me !!!
Im so stuck should i buy it or not help me!!!!!!!!
This book made my eyes widen. Not only is this book a test of true friendship, it makes you wonder and think of what other things could be happening to girls around the world. I've never thought about things like this until this book disgusted me enough to realize that things like this happens. i give this four stars because of this but the ending wasn't all that great. Over all, a very unique read
I picked this book up off of the new releases shelf in the young adult section of my library. After reading the insert, I thought, maybe this will be a good quick read. When I took the book home and started to read the first chapter, I thought, wow, it's about two fifth grade girls, this might get a little boring..... However, once I found out why Victoria was acting so stragely, I was horrified. How could an author write about something so terrible for preteens and teens? I forced myself to keep reading the book; to see if Victoria's problem was fixable. The book didn't conclude very well, but the author's note explained what had happened to Victoria was a real surgery that occurs in African countries to this day. It really scares me to think there are girls out there who are struggling throught this. Although I didn't really think the book was a good one for the level it was written on, I do think the author had a good idea in making sure the public knew about this terrible thing. I cannot describe it in words, so if you want to feel very fourtunate that we live a very good life, read this book.