Angie Thomas Offers Wisdom


submitted by cathy gargano

Cicely Lewis (left) interviewing Angie Thomas (right) during the livestream.

SHS librarian Cathy Gargano brought young adult author, Angie Thomas to the high school through a virtual livestream. Thomas was speaking from the Meadowcreek High School in Norcross, GA, on May 4, from 9:30 to 10:30 am.
“What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?” This quote is from the New York Times bestselling book, “The Hate U Give,” written by Angie Thomas.
“I subscribe to a professional journal called School Library Journal, which invited all subscribers to participate in the Angie Thomas virtual author visit for free […] The interview […] was moderated by Cicely Lewis, the 2020 School Library Journal School Librarian of the Year. She is also the creator of the Read Woke movement,” Gargano states in an email.
Gargano invited all of the Language Arts teachers and their second-hour classes to come to the event. She also wanted to give this opportunity to the student body as well, so through a sign-up sheet in the library, any student in the school could attend.
“During the hour-long program, Angie answered questions from Meadow- creek High School students as well as questions from the virtual audience. She talked about her writing process, the inspiration behind her books, the process of turning ‘The Hate U Give’ and ‘On The Come Up’ into movies, and her next book, which is a middle-grade fantasy book,” Gargano says.
Thomas also spoke about her private life, what it was like growing up with hardly any representation in books, and even her love for rap.
“I’m sitting down to write about things that actual young people deal with in this country […] So, librarians, I want you to think about the young people who do see themselves in these books, in these covers, in these pages […] They’re the ones who need these stories because for so long, they’ve been made to feel invisible and unheard. My job is to make sure that they feel seen, heard, and know that they matter,” Thomas says.
There were many young writers in the audience who were hoping to hear some words of advice from Thomas.
“Perfection is the enemy of progress. […] Perfection does not come on [the] first draft.[…] You probably will never feel like you’re perfect. Perfection gets you nowhere […] So don’t aim for perfect,” Thomas says.
Thomas has inspired many young teens and adults to speak up and get their voices heard and has also been a voice for many readers.
“My favorite quote [from Thomas] was, ‘Librarians need to make sure their shelves look like the real world’ This resonated with me because my professional goal for this school year was to increase the number of diverse books we have in our LMC,” Gargano says.