An interview with Gayle Forman
The Children’s Book Review
In this episode, I talk with #1 New York Times bestselling author Gayle Forman.
An award-winning author and journalist, Gayle Forman’s articles have appeared in numerous publications, including Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, and Elle in the US. Her novel, If I Stay, was released as a blockbuster movie starring Chloë Grace Moretz in 2014. Her most recent YA novel is We Are Inevitable. Today we talk about her debut middle grade novel Frankie and Bug, a poignant and powerful coming-of-age story that follows a young girl and her new friend as they learn about family, friendship, allyship, and finding your way in a complicated world.
This conversation is filled with so much hope and feeling. I’m thrilled to share it with you!
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Bianca Schulze: Gayle Forman, wow! Thank you so much for sharing your time with The Growing Readers Podcast listeners and me. I am beyond excited to talk to you about Frankie and Bug, especially because everybody knows you from your young adult books. But Frankie and Bug is really special because it’s your first, middle-grade novel.
Gayle Forman: Well, thank you for having me, Bianca. I’m really excited to be here.
Bianca Schulze: I feel like Frankie and Bug is such a fun book at the heart of it. There’s also so much going on and much to take away that is important for young readers and adults. I took away that everybody has their own story, and it’s so important to practice compassion because you just don’t know what a person is going through. And I also took away the importance of learning to communicate with friends, not making assumptions; we may stumble and make mistakes along the way, and we’ll have to apologize. But most importantly, I think Frankie and Bug fosters that idea of and the discussion of allyship. Do you agree?
Gayle Forman: I’m so glad about everything you just said because I do think this is a book full of humor. I laughed so much writing it. It’s such a vivid world, and it also grapples with some really intense issues. I think that humor shouldn’t be excluded from that because that’s kind of how life is. Right?
And then I absolutely agree that this is a book about allyship, and I’m so glad that you really focused on how Frankie and Bug are not perfect at it. They’re not perfect at being good friends with each other and being good allies. But what they are, is that they are un-defensive about the process and willing to be graceful and generous with the other person and forgiving as well (and of themselves). So that when they kind of goof up and make an assumption about somebody or insult somebody—you know, they might go to their corners and get upset and grumble about it—but eventually they kind of come back together and they talk about it.
And they ask questions that I think maybe are sometimes awkward to ask. But I think that’s how we kind of get over assuming everybody is like us. Taking a moment to be like: OK, you’re different. I don’t even know how to sort of ask about certain things. How should I ask about certain things? And they do that very, I think, sweetly and failingly and charmingly and lovingly.
Bianca Schulze: Yeah. And I also think that this book helps fill in the gaps in our blind spots. So, there’s a lot of gender identity as part of Frankie and Bug. I’m a cisgender white woman, just as you are, and I feel like Frankie and Bug is such a beautiful and easy way to read about gender and share that with my children. I can’t wait for so many families to be able to have such a friendly, hopeful, open book that … it’s not even just about gender. Bug herself is a biracial kid, as is her brother. I really do feel like I think it’ll take the blinders off and open discussion, particularly for cisgender readers. So, thank you for writing it.
Gayle Forman: I think it is really important, and I do think that I want to give a moment to really sort of pay a debt of gratitude to some of the people who helped me with this because I am, as you mentioned, a white cis woman and I don’t think I would write a book from Frankie’s point of view because he’s a trans kid. But I had a lot of help in making sure that having him as a character, I was not reverting to stereotypes or generalities because that’s sort of what happens when you are not, you know, you don’t have that very specific experience.
I really do think that it is Bug who handles or, you know, greets Frankie’s gender identity with a certain almost shrug of her shoulder. And I don’t mean to say that it’s not important because it is important to her. It is who Frankie is, but it is not important to her friendship with him, except in as much as she needs to learn how she needs to support him. And he needs to learn how to support her because she’s got a complicated relationship, particularly with her mother’s sister, who comes to visit.
Bug is starting to understand what it means to be biracial. She and her brother, Danny … their father, who died before Bug was born, was Salvadoran and Bug passes as white while her brother does not. She has a lot of complicated emotions around that. The book takes place in 1987 before (I think) there was a lot of talk about white supremacy. Bug sort of feels both the sadness and shame that she doesn’t have this more obvious visual connection to her father, but also the relief that some of the harassment (and worse) that her brother Danny faces, she might be exempt from. And I think it’s hard to talk about that—the sort of the privilege that she has of being able to pass what she doesn’t necessarily want but is thrust upon her.
Bianca Schulze: I think this is why I’m so grateful that you wrote this book because you have written about these complex topics that many people don’t know how … maybe they want to talk about, but they don’t know how to start the conversation. And yet somehow, you’ve made a fun story, but it’s packed with all these really important topics. So, I would love to know a little more about your background and share with our listeners what drives you and guides you in creating books for kids because I think you have a lot of experience writing for teens and young people. How do you do this because you’re so good at it?
Gayle Forman: Well, thank you. That is such a lovely thing to say. You know, I think that what happens when I write a book is that the characters become so kind of deeply embedded in me. I get to know them so deeply that I think that from what I’m told when readers read the books, they really experience the characters’ experience. And that’s because I do too.
In terms of Frankie and Bug, this is my first middle-grade book—it is a book that I started in 2013. I was on a long flight, and I was thinking about certain ways the world changed. I was thinking about my own teenagerhood in 1980s Los Angeles, where the book is set. And particularly what the world looked like for gay men then. Because when I was growing up, if you were gay, you had a secret. In the early 80s, there were subcultures in which you could exist safely, but it was not like it is now with marriage equality and queer families. And so, in some regards, like the swiftness with which that had changed, took my breath away. And at the same token, at the same time, there were other issues. And I was thinking initially particularly about the immigration crisis and how we have continued to scapegoat immigrants throughout our history. There was a flood of immigrants coming in in the 1980s because of the wars being fought in Central America during the Cold War. And that had led to a domino effect where a lot of those countries were suffering real poverty and corruption in governments.
But when I started this book in 2013, I immediately knew it was middle grade, and I immediately knew that Frankie was a trans kid. Although in 1987 in Ohio, where he grew up, he lacked the vocabulary to even talk about that. And in the space of writing the draft of the book, the world really started to change again, with trans issues and trans voices really coming to the fore. I decided to put the book aside because it did not seem like a time to be involved in this conversation.
But then I saw things getting worse in terms of the treatment of migrant families. And I also saw for all of the gains that trans rights were making, we were seeing the same kind of scapegoating language that I had seen back in the eighties, particularly during the AIDS crisis. And so, the book just became newly important again. It became something I wanted to write about.
But really, it started with these two kids. It always was Frankie and Bug. I’m glad that it remained the title because I just had this vision of these two kids. They’re trying to catch a serial killer, which, you know, as a 10- and 11-year-old to me is really an example of how little agency over their own lives kids really feel like they have. And back then, they had more than they do now because kids were allowed a lot more freedom in the 80s. But like that, they wanted to do this big thing, which, you know, any adult or other kid would look at like you have no chance of catching the Midnight Marauder, but they think they can, and it gives them a sense of purpose.
And … what happens when violence goes from being something happening on the news (and is a little removed) to within your community? How do you grapple with that? One of the things I love about writing for young people—and this goes back to before I was a novelist, I was a journalist at Seventeen Magazine—is I am constantly impressed by how able they are to engage with topics that adults think they’re not. How capable they are to have honest, frank conversations and how some of the times when we just listen to them, they’re so much more ahead than where the adults are because they are just kind of going with a gut instinct of what it means to be a friend and what it means to be an ally. And I don’t want to say that children are perfect, and they automatically understand everything, but that a lot of the otherizing of other people, I think, is a reaction to being hurt or being scared. I think there’s a line in the book where Bug’s mom talks about some skinhead bullies in the neighborhood and how she feels sorry for them because scared people scare people. I still think that’s true.
Bianca Schulze: Yeah, absolutely. I can’t remember the exact line you wrote, but I loved when Bug said something along the lines of when Mama meets someone not weird, that’s when she’ll run for the hills.
Gayle Forman: Yes!
Bianca Schulze: Her mom embraces everybody’s intricacies and quirkiness. And I loved that, and I loved that she saw that in her mom. And what a great role model.
Gayle Forman: Yeah, I mean, Mama says, and I believe this too, that everybody is weird in some way or another. Everybody deep down thinks that there’s a part of them, whether it’s their gender identity or their heritage or just something else in their personality. There’s a side of us that we think makes us weird and different, which is true. Redefine weird as something wonderful. It makes us individual, but it’s the shame around it, what people do in the shame and feeling like they need to hide this.
I dedicated the book to my friend Isabel and her grandmother, who inspired so much of Bug’s father’s story, but also to everybody who wants to find a place in the world for themselves. Because, yeah, Mama does say that everybody is weird in their own way, except, you know, the people who everybody always says is normal serial killers, which is true whenever there’s like these. When I was growing up, and there was a serial killer, the neighbors were like, we had no idea that he had 20 bodies buried in the basement. He seemed so nice and normal.
Bianca Schulze: Totally. When I read that, I think I laughed out loud. I was like, that is so true.
Can you share a highlight from the book that felt specifically meaningful when you wrote it?
Gayle Forman: Yes, there are. There is a scene that came in late, partially due to something that one of my sensitivity readers said, and it was also, you know, my editor, Kristen. So, between the two of them, there’s a scene where Frankie and Bug are investigating. Bug’s upstairs neighbor, Frankie’s uncle, who he has come to stay with for the summer, gets hurt. And they begin to suspect that the story that Philip is telling them is not true.
So, they have started investigating and started asking around. It leads them to this very Venice Beach character named Flo. And it’s a moment where Frankie discovers that he is not alone. That there is a name for what he is and that, you know, he asked Flo, are there more people out there like me and Flo says, more than you could ever know? And it’s such a small, powerful moment. I think it’s so important for kids of any gender identity, but really of any identity, to understand that you may feel like you’re alone. You may feel like you are so singular with this thing that you can’t tell anybody about yourself. And I can guarantee you that there are others in your tribe out there and that there are others outside your tribe who will welcome you.
Bianca Schulze: Yeah, that was a beautiful moment, and that one hundred percent comes across.
I think something great is while it’s historical fiction in the sense that it’s set in the 80s, but we all know that, as you said earlier, all of these issues, they’re still there, still happening. And you know, we’re 40 years on almost from the time your story is set, and we’re still struggling with these same issues. And it’s heartbreaking that there hasn’t… there has been progress, but there hasn’t been enough. And so, Mama has a saying that she says to Bug: Life isn’t fair. The most you can hope for is that it’s just. Bug doesn’t really understand this saying at the beginning, but it starts to make more sense towards the end, and I feel like that to me, that sentence (Life isn’t fair. The most you can hope for is that it’s just.), it really helped me know that I hope that some readers will take away from this and stand up for their friends more.
Anyway, you can speak more to that sentence more eloquently than I can right now, I think.
Gayle Forman: Yeah, I can’t, Bianca. You are hitting all of the points here because I would say, you know, if I have to sum up in a nutshell what the book is about, it’s about these sort of two kids who, over the course of this very life-changing summer, begin to understand what Mama means when she says that life isn’t fair and the most you can hope for is that it’s just and also what hope really means. Because hope can be a passive thing where you sit by, and you say, oh, I just hope things get better for so-and-so. Or hope can be an active verb, which means I want things to get better for so-and-so; I want things to get better for me. These two things are hand in hand. What is it that I can do to help? What is it that I can do to make sure that this world is fairer for everybody? And to understand that it’s not a zero-sum game that whatever advances sort of Bug makes, Frankie benefits from, and vice versa.
So, I really do think the very end bug gets frustrated with Mama because things did not wrap up neatly and perfectly, and nobody guaranteed a quick, happily ever after. And Bug has really come face to face with what the world looks like. And you know, she asked Mama, how is this fair or just? And you know, Mama says, you know, you’re right, it’s up to us to hurry toward justice. And I think that hopefully, Frankie and Bug and the readers of this book and their parents will understand that we all have a place in that process.
Bianca Schulze: Absolutely.
I really want to push that it is such a fun, fun, fun story to me. And like you said, the idea of these two kids believing that they could catch a serial killer is … I think because the heart of the story is fun, but we’re covering topics that you and I both know, and our listeners know we need to talk about. But we know that there are people out there who don’t want to talk about these topics. So, what would you say to someone who thinks kids are too young or the middle-grade reader is too young for this content?
Gayle Forman: I think that kids read books at the level that they can read books, so they are very good at self-censoring and putting down a book that is not right for them and that they read on very different levels. And so, the way a 10-year-old is going to read Harry Potter, for instance, is going to be quite different than a 17-year-old.
I will say, I write books that I want people to zoom through. I am a very picky reader. I want to be immersed in, particularly now when there are so many things competing for my attention. I need a book that’s going to grab me by the throat and not let go, and Frankie and Bug is like a fun and antic story about these two kids. It’s a summertime story, so it really feels like summer. Anybody who’s lamenting the beginning of fall can get their dose of summer with this. And I think kids will read it on that level. And maybe just looking back at the old nineteen eighties, be sort of shocked at how much more freedom kids back then had. And I think that a lot of kids are not going to see this as such a big issue book is maybe the adults do because in so many ways, they are already so well versed in this, and they’re so sophisticated.
While I was, of course, sort of thinking about the message that kids were going to get and the behavior they would see modeled in Frankie and Bug and all the adults around them, I also want to validate what these kids already know. I want to let them know that in many ways, when it comes to things like this, I see my kids, my two daughters, really leading us.
And so, I will never tell a parent what they should let their child read. I just know that this is a fun, antic book and that I think the kids are already exposed to so much of this. Any book that just shows very complicated adults … you know, there are people here like Aunt Terry, who is in some ways does some pretty awful things and yet in some ways really steps up for people. And I think it’s important for all of us to be able to recognize that we are complicated people and that we need to be able to hold conflicting ideas of how people are in our hands at the same time because I think that really does create sort of rivers of compassion and empathy so we can better understand each other in a time where it feels like we’re shouting at each other. And I don’t want this generation of kids to grow up doing that.
Bianca Schulze: How long did it take you to write this book? Did it feel hard at times to write it, to get it just right? And I know you spoke about having a sensitivity check. Because you did succeed in making it just a fun, fun, fun, fun story. How much work goes into making it, so it is such an easy page-turner?
Gayle Forman: Well, thank you for that. It’s a nice thing to say. I mean, I started this book in twenty thirteen. I finished it in 2020. So, seven years. It’s the longest project I’ve worked on. And part of that was it was really hard for me to get the middle-grade voice initially.
The early drafts were just so ponderous and, you know, very much a thing that frustrates me when I read this in a children’s book where it’s like an adult trying to write as a kid. And so, part of that was just nailing Bug’s voice, and at a certain point, I think all those years I spent as a kid reading the Beverly Cleary Ramona books and then rereading them as a parent to my kids. And like the Ramona of it all, this incredibly funny, flawed kid who’s just trying to figure out what everybody means when they keep telling me I’m going to grow up. I think it just clicked, and then I tapped into Bug’s.
So, once I tapped into Bug, she’s such a source of humor. And Frankie and his stoic way was always a source of humor. So, once I tapped into that, the kind of fun part of it came into being.
And then, yeah, I had sensitivity readers, but I think I had an early one who was a teacher at a middle school in Brooklyn. He pointed out some of the ways that Bug kept trying to help Frankie because she was basically centering her own needs. And this was a couple of years ago before I think we were talking about decentering quite as much as we are now. But that was the thing that really broke the book open for me, was just seeing these kids learn how to show up for each other in a way that the other one needed and not what they thought the other one needed, and the sort of fumbling and awkward ways that you ask and navigate that. But they do it in good faith and with an open heart and with reciprocal friendships—that really helped.
But this was it was many, many drafts. And then it was also, you know, when you are dealing with violence, whether it’s a serial killer who you never really see or somebody close to you getting hurt, definitely being sensitive to how that was portrayed. And also, it’s interesting because so much of wanting to write this book was both an assurance that things could change, things could change quickly, and a reminder that other things require our muscle to move the wheel forward. And that’s the entire reason for writing this book set in 1987, so you can look back over your shoulder, and you can see that. But it was also very mindful of balancing a sensibility and a sensitivity of today’s reader in that world because so much has changed.
It took help from a lot of different people and a lot of different sensitivity readers. My good friend Isabel, who I mentioned, it was her grandmother who had to leave El Salvador because of her work in the teacher’s union. Isabel kind of helped me with the Salvadoran aspects of it, and it all kind of came together. So, the short answer is a lot of really satisfying work because when you love characters … and I love not just Frankie and Bug, but they’re part of this whole found family.
So they live in this triplex building in Venice Beach, California, which is this haven for eccentrics and weirdos. And upstairs is Uncle Phillip, who is their neighbor and Bug’s momma’s best friend. And then downstairs is Hedvig, who is a Hungarian refugee who left after the Soviet invasion. And they just made this lovely, lovely found family, and it was so fun to spend time with these people. So that’s always the thing that brings me back to a book when it’s really hard. And particularly these days, I just find myself drawn to worlds where I just want to kind of marinate in the world, and I hope readers will feel that way, too.
Bianca Schulze: I mean, I think Los Angeles is a melting pot of diversity and how you brought all of the different worlds together. But I particularly loved Bug’s world and that home that she lived in and their extended family that were really their friends but were really their family.
I kind of get the sense from the ending that it’s just a one-off book. But for me, I loved the characters so much. I was kind of hoping that maybe there would be a second book to spend some more time with them. But I’m going to guess the answer’s no on that. Am I right?
Gayle Forman: I’ll never say never with this one. There would have to be a pretty compelling reason. You know, I almost sort of think that maybe I would return to them in a young adult novel. I would kind of want to follow them through their lives, or because it is set in the past, you know, have a peek of them in another novel, but seeing them as adults. I think it’s important.
And hopefully, I laid the groundwork that even though Frankie had some challenges in front of him just because of who he is and where the time in which he lives, that he had the support of people who wanted to make this world a good place for him and without trying to minimize the challenges for young trans kids today, let alone in the 80s. I really hope, you know, I think it’s important to understand that Frankie is going to find his people, and he already has and that he’s going to have the life he wants for himself.
Bianca Schulze: So, they say to be a writer, that you need to be a reader first. Was there a pivotal moment in which you considered yourself a reader?
Gayle Forman: Yes. And the Ramona books were probably part of it. These are some of the earliest books that I just remember reading and rereading. But I also should say that I remember when I started elementary school like I, you know, they used to track us for reading, and they told my mom I was not a strong reader, and I wouldn’t be a strong writer because I didn’t pattern well and all of that. And so, reading kind of became this thing that I thought I was bad at. And so, get over the stigma of that and realize that I loved books was so important.
And so, I think those Ramona books were so important because I saw myself in her, and they were just such fun reading experiences. And then, you know, by the time I was an early teen, I used to go every week to our local bookstore, and my dad would buy me like a sweet dreams romance. From then I just became addicted to reading.
And I have to say, like a lot of people in the last four or five years, just because of the chaotic nature of the world. I’ve read less. But during the pandemic, I started reading so much more, and now I’m back in that place where I always have an audiobook going and then a paper or a physical book. And it’s just been so great to feel that call. You know, when you’re just like, oh, now I have like an hour to myself, I’m going to lay on the couch and read a book. Or now I have a long drive. I’m going to listen to that book. So, I have been a lifelong reader, and to me, reading is the same as writing. It’s a form of escape. I get to escape as a writer into different worlds, and I get to escape as a reader into different worlds.
Bianca Schulze: Do you have any particular writers now that are your favorite, whether it’s adult or young reader writers?
Gayle Forman: Well, one of my favorite writers is so great because she spans everything, Jacqueline Woodson. I mean, I know I’m just stating the obvious here, but everything that she touches, she does so wonderfully in her sense of craft, and exposing me to worlds that I haven’t seen in print before is just delightful. I love Erin Entrada Kelly. I think her work is fantastic. I’m a big fan of Adam Gidwitz. He’s just such a gifted and wonderful storyteller. So, those are some of the young readers.
In terms of YA this year, Everything Sad is Untrue, the Daniel Nayeri book is just … it’s everything I love about a book. It plays with form. It’s daring. The narrative is just so fantastic. But again, a book that has me Googling locations as I’m reading it. Fire Keeper’s Daughter was the same where it’s just like, that world becomes so amazing to me. I want to be able to sort of see the real-world version of it too.
I think what’s happened in children’s literature and adult literature in terms of opening up to other voices. You know, sometimes I think we can get lost and just like the politics of that. Yes, it’s important—we must see different voices represented and, at the same time, like just the reads that you get because you are seeing so many different worlds that previously just did not get shared and published. To me, it makes for just such an exhilarating reading experience. So, I’ve just really loved seeing all the different kinds of worlds, whether we’re talking about a fantasy world or just another way of looking at the world.
It’s just been such a boon to see what’s happening in kids lit in particular. And I feel proud because I feel like children’s literature really blazed the trail in this in terms of making clear that nobody benefits when there’s not more inclusion in terms of who’s being published and who’s being represented in those books.
Speaker3: One hundred percent agree. So, is there anything else you think we should all know about Frankie and Bug or your experience writing it?
Gayle Forman: It’s so funny to write historical when you lived through the history. I’ve written, I wrote an audiobook that was completely historical. And the book I’m working on now has a historical element. One of the things that I think I’ve come to understand, and one of the reasons I was always scared to write historical, is we have this idea that the things that happen in the past are sort of encased in like marble or glass. That nobody had conflicts back then, or that everything was fine back then, or that people were a certain way back then that is so different from how people are now.
The interesting thing about writing historical that I live through is that it gives lie to that idea, which is that people are grappling with, and we as a society, we’re grappling with the same things. Our tendency to scapegoat and fearmonger was happening then, just with different targets. So, all of this and the way people felt like there’s not a place for them in the world, and then they find their place, that was happening then, and it makes me believe that it was also happening during eras that I was not alive for and that this is just sort of the human condition. And the best we can do is just be so much more open and franker about all of this so that we can maybe make some progress and not just kind of keep doing the same dance over and over again.
Bianca Schulze: Yes! Gail, thank you so much for talking to us about Frankie and Bug. Honestly, I laughed. I cried. I had tears in my eyes. I had goosebumps at times. Like it made me feel all the feels. And so, I just I’m so grateful that you wrote this book and I got the opportunity to read it and talk to you about it.
Gayle Forman: Can I ask you a question?
Bianca Schulze: Yeah.
Gayle Forman: Growing up in Australia, did you have those popsicles that we had? Those red, right, red, white, and blue ones?
Bianca Schulze: Yeah. It was like a rocket popsicle.
Gayle Forman: What did you call it? We had a big to-do about what these should be called because…
Bianca Schulze: I don’t remember what it was called, but I do remember that we had them, and they melted really fast when it was hot.
Gayle Forman: Yeah. So, if you liked a favorite flavor and yours was the bottom, you had to get really creative about getting there quickly.
There was a lot of controversy, I would say, about what to call those because growing up and I think this is a very regional thing, we called them bottle rockets. Yeah, bottle rockets like the firecrackers. But nobody on the East Coast where I live now had any idea. So, then there was a big debate over whether they were called bomb pops or rocket pops. And then it turned out there were legal disputes between the two companies about what to call it. So, I had to do a lot of incredibly difficult research in the form of Twitter polls to figure out what to call it. And we hope and we chose the bomb pop.
Bianca Schulze: I love that you went with a bomb pop. It totally worked for me. And now I’m going to have to go and Google this now because I can’t remember what we called it. I’m in this weird state now where I’ve officially lived in the US longer than in Australia, just over half of my life spent here. And so sometimes I’m like, Wait, do I know that from here or do I know that from Australia? It’s like, I never thought that would happen, but everything’s starting to blend now.
Gayle Forman: Well, you have given me an idea. I want to see which different nationalities had this kind of popsicle, what they called it. Yeah, I bet there are some fun translations.
The transcription of this interview with Gayle Forman has been condensed and edited for readability.
About the Book
Written by Gayle Forman
Ages 8-12 | 299 Pages
Publisher: Aladdin | ISBN-13: 978-1534482531
Publisher’s Synopsis: In the debut middle grade novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Gayle Forman comes a poignant and powerful coming-of-age story that follows a young girl and her new friend as they learn about family, friendship, allyship, and finding your way in a complicated world.
It’s the summer of 1987, and all ten-year-old Bug wants to do is go to the beach with her older brother and hang out with the locals on the boardwalk. But Danny wants to be with his own friends, and Bug’s mom is too busy, so Bug is stuck with their neighbor Philip’s nephew, Frankie.
Bug’s not too excited about hanging out with a kid she’s never met, but they soon find some common ground. And as the summer unfolds, they find themselves learning some important lessons about each other, and the world.
Like what it means to be your true self and how to be a good ally for others. That family can be the people you’re related to, but also the people you choose to have around you. And that even though life isn’t always fair, we can all do our part to make it more just.
Buy the Book
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