Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam

 Saturday, October 17th, 2:30 pm

In this special TCBF Young Readers’ Keynote, Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam, co-authors of the daring YA novel-in-verse Punching the Air, take the stage to discuss inspiration, justice, and art as it changes lives. The conversation will be conducted by Black Market Reads host Lissa Jones. This event will be ASL interpreted, thanks to support from the University of Minnesota Libraries; for more information about this and other ASL interpreted events, see HERE

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Purchase books by these authors from Red Balloon Bookshop; enter code TCBF20 so that part of your purchase price will support the Twin Cities Book Festival, and to be entered in a daily prize raffle for a $25 gift card!
(By using this code you consent for the bookseller to provide your email address to Rain Taxi for this one-time purpose; prize drawings will be held at 5 pm each day of the Festival.)


Ibi Zoboi holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her YA novel American Street was a National Book Award finalist and a New York Times Notable Book; she is also the author of Pride and the New York Times bestsellerMy Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich, and the editor of the anthology Black Enough. As an educator, she is the recipient of several grants from the Brooklyn Arts Council for her community-based programs for teen girls in both Brooklyn and Haiti, and she’s worked for arts organizations such as Teachers & Writers Collaborative and Community Word Project as a writer-in-residence and teaching artist in New York City public schools. Most recently, she co-authored the new YA novel Punching the Air (Balzer + Bray) with Dr. Yusef Salaam. Born in Haiti and raised in New York City, Zoboi now lives in New Jersey with her husband and their three children. Learn more online at www.ibizoboi.net.  

Dr. Yusef Salaam was just fifteen years old when his life was upended after being wrongly convicted with four other boys in the “Central Park jogger” case. In 2002, after the young men spent years of their lives behind bars, their sentences were overturned. Now known as the Exonerated Five, their story has been documented in the award-winning film The Central Park Five by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, and David McMahon and in Ava DuVernay’s highly acclaimed series When They See Us. Yusef is now a poet, activist, and inspirational speaker. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from President Barack Obama, among other honors. The new YA book Punching the Air (Balzer + Bray), which Salaam co-authored with Ibi Zoboi, tells the story of a young boy who is wrongly incarcerated. Salaam lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife and children. Learn more online at www. yusefspeaks.com.

Lissa Jones is the host for the podcast Black Market Reads and the creator, executive producer, and host of Urban Agenda, the longest continuously running program on KMOJ Radio, Minnesota’s oldest Black radio station. She authored “Voices of the Village,” a column in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, and is a frequent presenter on the intersection of Black history and present-day thought.