Published March 17, 2022

Ruth Behar (Letters from Cuba), Alda P. Dobbs (Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna), Sylvia Liu (Manatee’s Best Friend), and Lisa Yee (Maizy Chen’s Last Chance) explore themes of family, migration, and survival, capturing the dreams of youth, as well as the forces that inhibit those dreams, in order to share stories of perseverance and resilience. In conversation with Tasha Birckhead.

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Thanks to our bookseller for this event, Fountain Bookstore. Attendees and supporters of the Festival are eligible for a 20% discount on speakers’ titles linked above until Thursday, March 31, 2022, using coupon code: YAYVABOOK22

“Pura Belpré Award winner Behar’s newest story is based on her own grandmother’s immigration journey… Esther’s first-person descriptions of people and the island craft a vivid experience of Cuba’s sights, sounds, and culinary delights. Readers will not want to part with this story of resilience. A World War II refugee tale that spotlights dedicated hard work. A must-have.”—School Library Journal, starred review

“Dobbs’ wrenching debut, about family, loss, and finding the strength to carry on, illuminates the harsh realities of war, the heartbreaking disparities between the poor and the rich, and the racism faced by Petra and her family. Readers will love Petra, who is as strong as the black-coal rock she carries with her and as beautiful as the diamond hidden within it.”―Booklist, starred review

“The struggle to face one’s fears and stand up for one’s values creates a compelling story [in Manatee’s Best Friend].”—Kirkus Reviews

“Bursting with humor and heart, Maizy Chen’s Last Chance celebrates the power of food, family, understanding our roots, and stepping up to help others when it matters the most.”—Kate Messner, author of Breakout


Virginia Festival of the Book staff, volunteers, partners, and attendees appreciate all of our sponsors. It is their crucial support, along with individual donors, that allows us to present the 2022 Virginia Festival of the Book almost completely free of charge. We appreciate the generous commitment from our Premier Sponsor, The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, and these major sponsors: Michelle and David Baldacci, Dominion Energy, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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With generous support from Michelle and David Baldacci

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