Justina Chen Headley Dia Calhoun Lorie Ann Grover Holly Cupala Melissa Walker readergirlz blog


No Laughter Here by Rita Williams-Garcia

No Laughter Here by Rita Williams-Garcia

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 Nigeria, where she had a special coming-of-age ceremony. Why does proud Victoria, named for a queen, slouch at her desk and speak in a whisper? Why won't she laugh with Akilah anymore?

When Akilah learns Victoria's terrible secret, she has even more questions - but they might not have answers. Readers will identify with headstrong, outspoken Akilah, whose struggle to understand what's happened to Victoria reveals a painful truth in an honest and accessible way.

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"When I read No Laughter Here, I knew it had to be one of our readergirlz picks. Powerful, compelling, and gorgeously written, Rita Williams-Garcia's No Laughter Here is an important must-read for girls today. One that will make girls think about our rights as women. About what makes us women. About what we can do to advocate for those without voices." - Justina Chen Headley, readergirlz diva

"[A] richly layered . . . skillfully told, powerful story." - Booklist, starred review

"Eye-opening and grounded . . . Unapologetic, fresh, and painful." - Kirkus, starred review

Texas Tayshas List

One of Booklist's Top 10 Black History Titles for Youth

ALA Best Books for Young Adults

Rita Williams-Garcia


Things to Know

Rita Williams-Garcia

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On the nightstand: 2 pairs of glasses, phone, Bible.

Favorite drink while you write: Hot, hot coffee - half full-strength, half-decaf with a Hershey's kiss thrown in.

Favorite bookstore: Barnes & Noble in Forest Hills, NY

Favorite library: Jefferson Market in West Village and now defunct Donnell with most excellent Teen room.

Pets: I'm grandma to Chase, my daughter's German Shepherd.

Place to write: Any outdoor bench under the sun.

Inspiration: Fried catfish, nachos with cheese. Can't write hungry.

Dream book tour: To all of the states with 75 degree weather.

Writer buddies: The most excellent Jacqueline Woodson, Cynthia Leitich-Smith

Cure for writer's block: Hitting speed bag with boxing gloves

Favorite outfit: Brown Old Navy skirt with gladiator sandals during the summer. Will wear three days in a row. Change top, of course!

Laptop or longhand? Long-hand first. Then laptop.

Stilettos or Uggs? Stilettos. Killer legs. Thanks, Mom.

Next up: JUMPED. A knows B will jump C by the end of the day. Alas, if only A cared or C knew.

Author idols: Jacqueline Woodson, Toni Morrison

Other YA Novels: Every Time a Rainbow Dies, Like Sisters on the Home Front

Other Interviews: The Brown Bookshelf, Children's Book Council Magazine

Website: www.ritawg.com

Roundtable: readergirlz divas and postergirlz discuss No Laughter Here



rgz LIVE!

Discuss the book with the author herself. Rita Williams-Garcia will be chatting live at the readergirlz forum on Thursday, February 12th at 6 PM PST/9 PM EST. The chat will last for about an hour.

Find Beauty Challenge


Operation Teen Book Drop 2009

Get ready for the second annual Operation Teen Book Drop (TBD) coming in April!


The World Health Organization (WHO) defines female genital mutilation as the range of procedures which involve "the partial or complete removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs whether for cultural or any other non-therapeutic reason." Approximately 138 million women around the world have undergone FGM. Every year, another 2 million girls are at risk of the practice.

To learn more about female genital mutilation, watch this YouTube video. Then visit FORWARD (The Foundation for Women's Health, Research and Development) to find out ways you can help.


These tunes were hand-picked by the author to accompany her book.

No Air by Jordin Sparks featuring Chris Brown
Big Girls Don't Cry by Fergie
Put Your Records On by Corinne Bailey Rae
Family Reunion by Jill Scott
Miss You by Aaliyah
Forever by Chris Brown
Unpretty by TLC
Daughters by John Mayer
Keep Holding On by Avril Lavigne



At what point do you tell a secret?

Without getting too personal, what was your worst fall-out with friend? Was it fixable?

Akilah's mother is open with her about puberty, etc. How comfortable are you with talking to your mother figure?

What coming-of-age rituals do you find interesting?

What is it about crushing on your best friend's older sibling?

Akilah and her mother are so much alike. Anyone dare to admit to similarities with their mother figures?

What would you do if your culture demanded that you did something that would change you forever?



Invite: A handwritten letter sent in the mail, as letters are so important to Akilah in the book. Decorate the letter and envelope with moons.

Food: Like Akilah and her mother, serve tea and crumpets and raspberry tea.

Décor: Use a dish of pineapple Lifesavers for a centerpiece.

Movies: The Day I'll Never Forget, American Girl: Kit Kittredge (for the "girl power"-ness of it all), Boy in the Striped Pajamas.

Craft: Everyone knit a seven-inch by seven-inch square in shades of pink and red, and then join them together to make a quilt to commemorate “V-Day” to stamp out violence against women and girls.


Bound by Donna Jo Napoli  Swollen by Melissa Lion  A Swift Pure Cry by Siobhan Dowd  Chandra's Secrets by Allan Stratton  My Forbidden Face by Latifa

Recommended by postergirlz, the readergirlz advisory council

Bound by Donna Jo Napoli
Swollen by Melissa Lion
A Swift Pure Cry by Siobhan Dowd
Chanda's Secrets by Allan Stratton

My Forbidden Face by Latifa


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The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson


Grab our spring picks:

March: The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
April: Impulse by Ellen Hopkins
May: Red Glass by Laura Resau

We'll see you next month!

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