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Arts & Culture

Valley Author Pens "Zoot Suit" Novel For Young Adults

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Marshall W. Johnson / Atheneum Books for Young Readers
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Margarita Engle's new novel is titled "Jazz Owls"

Seventy five years ago this month, the streets of Los Angeles turned violent in an event that came to be known as the Zoot Suit Riots. The cause is still unclear, but we know this: for 10 days in 1943, white service members attacked young Latino men on the streets of Southern California, while police turned the other way. The attacks are the subject of a new young adult novel by acclaimed children’s author Margarita Engle. In 2009, the Clovis author’s book "The Surrender Tree" won the prestigious Newberry Medal, the first book by a Latina to receive the honor. Engle was also just named the Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation. Her new book is called "Jazz Owls, A Novel of the Zoot Suit Riots." She joined us to talk about how she chose the subject for her new book and more.