On Our Shelves Now
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Kids will be inspired to embrace their inner weirdness and persevere through obstacles after reading this empowering collection of true stories from teenage Scripps National Spelling Bee champ and Guinness World Record holder Zaila Avant-garde! Includes 8 pages of never-before-seen photos.
After Zaila Avant-garde became the first African American student to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee in 2021, she turned into an overnight sensation. People wanted to know who she was and how she'd achieved so much while so young.
In this nonfiction book, Zaila shares the personal anecdotes that have shaped her life and extends advice to readers on living authentically. While Zaila is an exceptional and inspiring young woman, she has fears and anxieties just like everyone else; what makes her remarkable is the way she chooses to move through the obstacles in front of her.
Zaila shares about her family, her accomplishments, her experience of being homeschooled, and so much more in order to motivate and uplift other kids who have small-, medium-, and even big-sized dreams.
About the Author
ZAILA AVANT-GARDE is a multitalented powerhouse. Hailing from New Orleans, she won the 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee, making her the first African American winner in the competition's history of almost one hundred years. Zaila's spelling triumph is just one entry on a very impressive résumé. Currently sixteen years old, she was named SportsKid of the Year 2021 by Sports Illustrated Kids. Zaila also holds two Guinness World Records for her basketball skills. She holds the records for the most bounce juggles in one minute with four basketballs and most basketballs dribbled simultaneously by one person (at six basketballs). Her success has been celebrated by the likes of Barack and Michelle Obama, LeBron James, and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden. Follow Zaila on Twitter at @ZailaAvantgarde and Instagram at @zailaavantgarde.
Marti Dumas, Zaila's collaborator, is a teacher in New Orleans. She is the author of fiction and nonfiction books for young readers, including the Jaden Toussaint, the Greatest series and Women in the Old West.
★ "With intelligence and insightful humor, Avant-garde delivers an inspiring how-to manual that compels readers to lean into what makes them different and to never be ashamed of acknowledging their wins." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Avant-garde’s advice is solid, and her peppy, casual tone will speak to readers. An upbeat volume that encourages young people to reach for the stars." —Kirkus Reviews
"Divergent thinkers will relate most to Avant-garde's story and keep-it-weird tips in this inspirational guide." —Booklist