Texas Book Fest Q&A with Ibi Zoboi

Texas Book Festival is excited to welcome Ibi Zoboi to the 2019 Texas Book Festival! Zoboi is the author of My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwicha story about the sci-fi obsessed 12 year-old Ebony-Grace finding her place while visiting her father in Harlem in 1984.

TBF: What was the inspiration for your book? 

Ibi Zoboi: I wanted to write about a character I’ve never seen in books–a highly imaginative nerdy black girl who is trying so hard to make sense of her world and her place in it. I was inspired by the music and overall zeitgeist of the early 1980s, mainly the space race, science fiction, and early hip hop. I found common ground in all three of these things and they converge in the summer of 1984 in Harlem. My science-fiction obsessed character is the only one who can see how they are all connected. 

TBF: What’s the last book you read, loved, and can’t stop recommending? Why is it so good?

Ibi Zoboi: Genesis Begins Again by Alicia Williams. It covers a the topic of colorism that I’ve rarely seen done in children’s literature. I love the voice and the harsh realities the author brings to light.  

TBF: What’s the first book you remember reading? Who gave it to you?

Ibi Zoboi: Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret by Judy Blume. I don’t remember, but I was nine and obsessed with that one famous line.

Ibi Zoboi is one of 300 authors who will appear at the 2019 Texas Book Festival which takes place October 26-27th 2019 in downtown Austin. The Festival is free and open to the public! To learn about more children’s and young adult authors appearing at this year’s Festival check out Kids On Congress