2007 National Book Award Finalist,
Young People's Literature

M. Sindy Felin

Touching Snow

Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Photo © Scarlett K. Anderson

About the Book and Author

M. Sindy Felin’s inspiration for her debut novel, Touching Snow, came from her own experiences growing up in an immigrant household in suburban New York and from her early love of mysteries. In writing the story of Karina, a young girl navigating the waters of two cultures, Sindy relied on many real-life social issues facing fellow Haitian immigrant families in the community where she was raised and was inspired by their resiliency and ingenuity. Sindy, the first person in her family born in the United States, was also the first girl to attend college; she graduated from Wesleyan University in 1994. She currently resides outside Washington, D.C.

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An Excerpt from Touching Snow

Excerpt from Touching Snow

Copyright © 2007 by M. Sindy Felin

The best way to avoid being picked on by high school bullies is to kill someone. Anyone will do. Accidental killings have the same effect as on- purpose murder. Of course, this is just my own theory. My sister Delta would say that my sample size isn't big enough to draw such a conclusion. But I bet I'm right.

Because now no one jerks my braids so my neck snaps back and I bite my tongue; no one pulls my backpack off and scatters my textbooks in one hallway, my notebooks in another, and leaves the bag in the boys' bathroom toilet; no one spits at me from the school bus; and Gorilla Arms Manning doesn't pretend to point with his right hand while grabbing my crotch with his left. Not since eighth grade. Not since I killed Daddy.

He wasn't my real daddy. My sisters and I had to call him that when our little brothers were born so they would know what to call him. Before that I just called him Umm. Like "Umm...remember you said you would let us watch TV this weekend?" Or "Umm...do you want any more rice and plantains?" That's because Ma never told us what our name for him was.

A couple days after my fifth birthday Ma returned to the apartment we shared with Uncle Andre and Aunt Jacqueline and three of my cousins, and made my sisters and me put on matching pink-and-white girly dress-up dresses -- the kind with the frilly decorations that scratch your neck and the giant bows in back that never tie to quite the same size, so you end up looking like a crippled-winged angel. Then we went to a church and there was a wedding and we moved out of Brooklyn to a red and yellow house in a place full of white folks called Chestnut Valley and never went back to Uncle Andre's apartment. Ma called her new husband Gaston. But my sister Enid got slapped when she tried that.

Copyright © 2007 by M. Sindy Felin