Who's Ju News

A quick update to share some exciting news...

Who's Ju was named a finalist for two 2015 International Latino Book Awards in the categories of Mariposa Award (Best First Book Children/Youth - English) and Best YA eBook!

Also, the paperback release of Who's Ju is set for June 1, 2015. You can pre-order signed copies here.


Autobiography of the Lower East Side by Rashidah Ismaili


Autobiography of the Lower East Side by Rashidah Ismaili
Northampton House Press

In Autobiography of the Lower East Side, Rashidah Ismaili takes readers on a journey back to a time when the neighborhood in question was a hub of artists, advocates and scholars pushing societal boundaries. Rashidah expertly intertwines several plot-lines, told in a series of related short stories, and introduces several distinct voices from this cultured community.

One of the people we meet is Nusa, a young mother originally from West Africa, who holds several jobs and is pursuing a post-doc in oral literature. She’s torn when her passion for a man leads her to question certain customs of her Muslim faith. Then there’s James, a pacifist who grew up on a farm in the mid-west. He struggles to keep his underground anti-war acts a secret from his friends who congregate at the local bar. We also hear Charlie, an African-American writer, lament the fact that only white women understand his creative pursuits. This is later contrasted in a story from the perspective of Cecelia, also an African-American writer, who recognizes the glaring double standard when guys like Charlie are angered by black women dating white men.

Mixed into these intimate character portraits is a moving depiction of a real-life murder of a jazz musician. The imagery, which is superb throughout the entire book, is especially powerful in this gripping scene.

Full disclosure: Rashidah is one of the core poetry faculty members at the Wilkes University Creative Writing Program, where I went to grad school. I didn’t have much direct formal instruction with Rashidah since my concentration was children’s fiction, but she often found time to chat with me about world folklore, theatre, poetry, and New York City. I had a feeling that Autobiography of the Lower East Side would be a treat I’d savor like those fascinating conversations we had years ago. I was right.

2015 Diverse Book #1

WHO'S JU? Ebook Release: 1/1/15

I spent a lovely Christmas holiday with family and friends, and I’m looking forward to all 2015 has in store. And it starts with a bang: the ebook release of WHO’S JU on 1/1/15! The ebook is available on Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, and Kobo, or through the Northampton House Press website. You don’t need an e-reader to view the book – all three sellers have free apps for all devices (including desktop and laptop computers). You can also find WHO'S JU on Goodreads and BookDaily.

WHO’S JU is a contemporary middle grade mystery novel for ages 9-12. Justina ‘Ju’ Feliciano and her fellow seventh-grade sleuths are on the case! A sneaky vandal has damaged scenery from the middle school drama club production and the newbie detectives must catch the culprit before opening night. But Ju faces a completely different kind of mystery when a genetics assignment forces her to investigate the cold hard fact that her frizzy blonde hair and amber eyes don’t match the shades of brown that run in her family.

Early praise for WHO’S JU (7th Grade Sleuths #1):

“Dania Ramos’s Who’s Ju? is absolutely wonderful. At a time when the publishing world is in desperate need for more diversity in children’s literature, Ramos has introduced Justina, who is not only full of cultural pride, but is also universally relatable as she struggles with issues all kids face: Who am I and where do I fit in? The characters are real—and real funny, and readers will love following along as the Seventh-Grade Sleuths tackle a drama club mystery while even larger mysteries unfold around them. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series!” — Crystal Velasquez, Author of the Your Life, But… Series

“Ju is a terrific personality with a large, inquisitive mind and an even bigger heart. Girls of all ages will remember her long after the last page is turned.” — Cecilia Galante, Author of The Patron Saint of Butterflies

“Dania Ramos has written a fun, humorous, lighthearted caper that subtlety and brilliantly explores the importance of cultural identity.” — Linda Nieves-Powell, Author of Yo Soy Latina! and Freestyle

I’m so excited to share Ju’s story with the world. Happy new year!

Ebook Publication Date and Cover Design for WHO'S JU?

I'm happy to announce the official publication date from Northampton House Press for the digital release of WHO'S JU? (Seventh-Grade Sleuths #1) is January 1, 2015. It will also be available in print later in 2015, exact date to be announced. Be sure to sign up for my email list if you'd like to keep up with the latest news about WHO'S JU? Here's a sneak peek of the lovely cover design by Shawn Yaney. :)

Northampton House Press, Nuestras Voces, and Luna Stage Short Play Festival

This past spring and summer (yes, I know, not over yet) I’ve been hard at work on a few different projects, both scripts and prose, but there have been some happenings and updates to report. I’m delighted to share the news that Northampton House Press will be publishing my middle grade mystery novel WHO’S JU as an e-book in early 2015. I’ll post more details about the book soon, but in the mean time you can check out NHP (headed by publisher David Poyer) and its growing list of authors and publications here.

On the playwriting side of things, HIELO was selected as a runner-up in Repertorio Español’s 2013 MetLife Nuestras Voces Playwriting Competition and my one-minute play REASON was staged as part of Luna Stage's Second Annual Short Play Festival in May.

Happy Labor Day!