The Scholastic Reads Podcast

Aida Salazar on Agency in Adolescence

We're kicking off Women's History Month with debut novelist Aida Salazar and her stunning book for 8- to 12-year-olds, The Moon Within.

The novel is a modern day Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret set in Oakland, California, and steeped in the culture and traditions of the Mexica, indigenous people of Mexico.

The story introduces us to Celi Rivera. Like every 11-year-old, she has questions. Questions about her changing body, her first crush, and her best friend’s exploration of gender fluidity. But most of all, she has questions about her mother’s insistence that she have a moon ceremony when her first period arrives — an ancestral Mexica ritual that Mima and their community have reclaimed and that Celi does not want to participate in.

Today, Aida and her editor, Nick Thomas, join us to discuss why this lyrical coming-of-age own-voices story is a must-read for everyone.

Additional resources

Guests

  • Aida Salazar is a writer, arts advocate, and homeschooling mother whose writings for adults and children explore issues of identity and social justice. In addition to her debut, The Moon Within, she is the author of the forthcoming books The Land of the Cranes and her debut picture book, Jovita Wore Pants: The Story of a Revolutionary Fighter, all published by Arthur A. Levine Books. Her story "By the Light of the Moon" was adapted into a ballet production by the Sonoma Conservatory of Dance and is the first Xicana-themed ballet in history. She lives with her family of artists in a teal house in Oakland, CA.
  • Nick Thomas is a senior editor with Arthur A. Levine Books.

Special thanks

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and recording by Daniel Jordan
  • Edited by Mackenzie Cutruzzula
  • Produced by Emily Morrow 

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