Sincerely Sicily (Hardcover)
Sicily’s plans for sixth grade, hanging with her Tether Squad, going to Ravenwood Middle School, and writing a play for her best friend Evelyn to star in are dashed when she gets notice that Shirley Chisolm Middle School has opened in time for the new year. Only Sicily’s abuela can console her but being new means introducing yourself to a whole new group and for a curious, confident Sicily, that may just mean exploring her own Afro-Panamanian background more carefully. Prepare to meet music that insists your body move, a history of strong and courageous people, and the incredible power of masterfully done braids. A wonderful addition to the diverse stories opening up our world!— Linda
From debut author Tamika Burgess comes the captivating and empowering story of Sicily Jordan—a Black Panamanian fashionista who rocks her braids with pride—who learns to use her voice and take pride in who she is while confronting prejudice in the most unexpected of places.
Sicily Jordan’s worst nightmare has come true! She’s been enrolled in a new school, with zero of her friends and stuck wearing a fashion catastrophe of a uniform. But however bad Sicily thought sixth grade was going to be, it only gets worse when she does her class presentation.
While all her classmates breezed through theirs, Sicily is bombarded with questions on how she can be both Black and Panamanian. She wants people to understand, but it doesn’t feel like anyone is ready to listen—first at school and then at home. Because when her abuela starts talking mess about her braids, Sicily’s the only one whose heart is being crumpled for a second time.
Staying quiet may no longer be an option, but that doesn’t mean Sicily has the words to show the world just what it means to be a proud Black Panamanian either. Even though she hasn’t written in her journal since her abuelo passed, it’s time to pick up her pen again—but will it be enough to prove to herself and everyone else exactly who she is?
About the Author
Tamika Burgess is a storyteller with over a decade of novel, TV/film, and personal essay writing experience. Born to parents who migrated from Panamá, Tamika has always taken a particular interest in writing themes that explore her Black Latina identity. Because of her passion for spreading the knowledge of Black Panamanian culture, Tamika has been featured on various websites, podcasts, and panels. When she is not writing, Tamika is somewhere cozy online shopping and listening to a podcast. Tamika resides in sunny Southern California.
"Impressively models the ways an ordinary girl—consistently serving fab lip gloss looks—can be an extraordinary self-advocate even when she shouldn’t have to be. Prejudice can show up anywhere; this smart, rich novel deserves to be read everywhere." — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Timely and refreshing, Burgess’s vulnerably rendered debut empathetically tackles colorism and highlights the courage it takes to confront the hurtful words of strangers and loved ones alike." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Burgess shines with her satisfying exploration of culture and identity...An enlightening and hopeful reflection on an individual’s power to combat our nation’s monolithic view of race and culture—one story at a time." — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
"Readers will connect to the realistic situations presented in this novel, as well as the themes pertaining to change, personal identity, and grief." — Booklist
"Tween readers will relate to Sicily’s story of finding herself while navigating changes and uncertainty." — School Library Journal
"Brimming with Afro-Latina magic, Sincerely Sicily is a stunning debut!” — Tami Charles, New York Times bestselling author of All Because You Matter and Like Vanessa
“A beautiful, nuanced, and empowering discovery of Afro-Panamanian culture and Black girl magic estilo Latina.” — Américas Award–winning author Aida Salazar
“The more Sicily learns about her ancestors and their struggles and strengths, the more her pride and self-confidence grow. This book shows that knowledge truly is power.” — Hilda Eunice Burgos, author of Ana Mari’a Reyes Does Not Live in a Castle and Miosotis Flores Never Forgets
?“Sweet and full of heart, Burgess paints a beautiful portrait of race and culture that puts Afro-Latinos in the spotlight in a way that so many readers need.” — Paula Chase, author of critically acclaimed novels So Done and Turning Point