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Sparkle

Read by Tyla Collier
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On sale Oct 24, 2023 | 7 Hours and 8 Minutes | 978-0-593-74563-2
Age 8-12 years | Grades 3-7
After twelve-year-old aspiring superstar, Sparkle Moore, is diagnosed with alopecia, she must navigate family, friends, and her own self-esteem with the added challenge of losing her hair. Perfect for fans of Stand Up, Yumi Chung! and From the Desk of Zoe Washington.

Sparkle Moore is destined to be a star. Her mother is determined to turn her and her younger sister, Nova, into social media influencers and budding superstars. And after her dad has lost work as a sitcom actor, Sparkle wants to do whatever she can to help her family financially, too.

But at the onset of middle school, Sparkle begins losing her hair—first her lashes, then her eyebrows, and then small circular bald spots appear in various sections on her head. It’s hard enough having to go to school and hide her diagnosis from her friends—all while they’re trying out for big roles in the school play—but Sparkle quickly has to deal with weird medications, itchy wigs, and lost opportunities her mom has wrangled, including a big shampoo commercial.

Despite everything she might do to hide what’s happening, and all her work keeping her friends together, when Sparkle’s secrets start coming to the surface—Sparkle has to come to terms with the changes in her life and show her classmates and her family what she can do with or without hair.
1
Sparkle’s mom always said her hair was her crowning glory. “Hair,” Mother explained, “frames your beauty.”
Lucky for Sparkle, she had a lot of hair—chestnut-colored locks, so thick and long that every night before bed, she took extra special care to protect it from breakage. Sitting in front of the pink mirror on her desk, Sparkle brushed her hair forward and around with the paddle brush. Sometimes, she called Mother in to help her secure the ends with large brass bobby pins. But every night, she made sure each strand of hair was safely tucked under her large silk nightcap before falling asleep.
“Your beautiful curls,” Mother always said, “will help you become a star, someday.”
Viola Moore knew things like this. She and her hair had been on billboards all over the city of Los Angeles—modeling shampoo, conditioner, and hats—when she was only a little older than Sparkle. Now Mother was married with two children and living in Maryland. And photos from those days were stored in a box tucked away on the bottom shelf of the bookcase in the living room.
Today, Sparkle and her younger sister, Nova, pushed the living room couch in front of that bookcase to make space for a backdrop Mother was currently setting up in the middle of the floor. A professional photographer was on his way, and everything had to be perfect when he arrived.
Sparkle squeezed her eyes shut, grunting as she pushed against the arm of the sofa. But the cream, L-shaped sectional barely moved an inch. “Nova, you’re not pushing hard enough.”
Her sister sucked her teeth and stopped pushing. “I’m a lot younger than you, Sparkle. What do you expect?”
“You’re only a year younger than me.”
“Exactly! Twelve whole months younger.”
“Fine, whatever . . . just keep pushing.”
The girls managed to slide the couch over seconds before three sharp raps sounded at the door.
“Darn it! The photographer wasn’t supposed to be here for another twenty minutes.” Mother left the bright green backdrop leaning against the wall and walked to the front door. When she pulled it open, she sighed with relief. A woman with fire-engine-red hair, blue eyeshadow, and heavy black eyeliner stepped through and held out her hand. “Hi, I’m Tisha—here to do Sparkle’s makeup.”
Mother shook Tisha’s hand, then smiled over her shoulder. “Sparkle, glam is here!”
“Glam” was Mother’s super-fast way of describing the person responsible for making Sparkle look fabulous on camera. Usually, Mother was the glam squad. Right after setting the scene with one of her handmade backdrops, Mother fixed hair, applied small dabs of makeup, and chose outfits. But today was special, so her mom had decided to hire professionals.
All morning, Sparkle had kept her hair in pin curls under her silk bonnet, so it would fall in perfect spirals during today’s photo shoot. Now that Tisha was here, it was almost time. Sparkle removed her bonnet and pulled on the bobby pins, letting her glossy brown hair drop to her shoulders. But as she walked over to meet the makeup artist, she noticed Nova heading in the opposite direction, to the back door.
“You aren’t staying for the shoot?” Sparkle asked her sister.
Nova’s eyes darted toward the window, where Dad was currently making his way toward the backyard.
“You said you needed me to help with the couch . . .” Nova stepped another inch toward the hall. “And . . . I did . . .”
“Yeah, but . . .” Sparkle didn’t want to force Nova to stay. But this was their thing. Modeling. Dance. Acting. Nova had always loved performing just as much as Sparkle.
Plus, today was different. Mother usually took pictures of Sparkle or Nova posing with the free swag small brands sent them using her phone camera, a sturdy floor lamp, and one of her homemade backdrops. Last week, a local toothpaste brand had sent a small package of their products with a note asking Mother if Sparkle wanted to promote their toothpaste on her page.
This time, they hadn’t just offered the products, they’d offered real money. Sure, it wasn’t a lot of cash. But this was her start—a chance to prove she could pack enough emotion into one piercing stare into the camera lens to send her social media followers scrambling to order their very own tube of Gleamy White toothpaste. Just like Mother on those billboards, all those years ago.
“I’ll be back after I get some fresh air,” Nova said, with a little wave. “Good luck with the shoot!”
With Nova joining Dad in the backyard, Sparkle sat down in a chair Mother pulled in from the dining room while Tisha put her hands on her hips and peered into her face.
“What are we doing today?” she asked Mother.
“Today is all about my Sparkle’s n-n-natural beauty,” Mother explained. “So, smooth the face out with a little foundation. Dab on a little bronzer in the T-zone to really give her that glow. Maybe line her lids a little. And maybe contour her n-n-n—” Mother stopped for a moment, her tongue pressed against the roof of her mouth in the familiar way that Sparkle knew meant she was struggling to get a word out.
“Nose?” she suggested.
A slight look of relief washed over Mother’s face. “Thank you, Sparkle, baby. Yes, her nose.” She made a motion with her fingers. “Just a light contour—nothing too extreme.”
Tisha began cleaning Sparkle’s face with a small white towelette. “So, you want to be a model, huh?”
Sparkle’s heart fluttered. “Not just a model. I want to act. And sing. And dance.”
“My girls want to be renaissance women!” Mother said, picking up where she’d left off with the backdrop. With her back turned to Tisha and Sparkle, she said, “I had those same dreams as a k-k-kid.” Mother’s voice went quiet for a beat. “But I wasn’t a n-natural.” Mother stopped again, the wrinkles in her forehead deepening slightly. “Not like my Sparkle and Nova.”
This was one of the few times Sparkle disagreed with her mom. Mother was a natural. She’d even booked a commercial, once. Words just gave her trouble every now and then. It wasn’t like she didn’t know a bunch of words. She just struggled getting them to come out sometimes. Especially when she was a little stressed, or nervous.
Years before Sparkle was born, Mother had stammered through her lines during her first commercial shoot. Flustered by the experience, Mother walked off set during a short break, and away from her budding career as an entertainer forever. If it had been Sparkle, she might’ve taken a speech class, or practiced in the mirror a zillion times before the big day. But Mother had been too embarrassed to ask for a do-over, which didn’t make sense to Sparkle. She didn’t think one little thing could ever keep her away from doing something she loved.
If the makeup artist noticed Mother’s stutter, she didn’t let on. Instead, she changed the subject. “Sparkle and Nova. Those are interesting names,” Tisha said, pulling a makeup brush from the small pouch hanging from her hip.
Both of my girls were meant to shine bright,” Mother said behind her. “Have you ever seen two girls with such flawless brown skin? Such deep dimples? Sometimes I think their smiles are bright enough to light up the entire state of Maryland. I’m going to make sure the entire world notices how special they are.”
Sparkle pressed her lips together, to keep from smiling widely—she wanted to save that for the actual shoot. Still, it felt good getting compliments from her mom.
“I hear that,” Tisha said as she began carefully painting a line down the center of her nose. Sparkle wondered if Mother would help her chase her dreams if she had been born with a stutter. Would she bother paying for this photo shoot, or smile as big every time someone claimed Sparkle had something special?
Sparkle never wondered for long, though, because words flowed from her lips as effortlessly as a fish gliding through still waters. She could move and twist those words to make an audience laugh or lean forward in their seats. And someday, with enough practice, Sparkle planned to make an entire audience tear up—just a little—over her words.
For now, though, she was fine modeling toothpaste. Every bright smile, photo shoot, and social media post moved her just a little closer to the bigger dreams.
Tisha stopped painting clear gloss on her lips for a moment. “I’m surprised you haven’t moved your girls out to California already,” she said.
Sparkle knew the mention of California would tug a little at Mother’s smile—forcing her to hide a wistful look under a flurry of excuses like:
The girls have plenty of time to become stars.
The Moore family doesn’t need Hollywood just yet.
Social media pages are just as good as casting calls these days.
“Times are different now,” Sparkle’s mom told the makeup artist. “There’s no more walking into an audition and actually reading for a part.” Mother placed a hand to her chest, laughing that barely there chuckle she’d borrowed from the old Hollywood greats. “To make it big these days, you need a following. A built-in audience. And my girls—with their looks and charm?—will have exactly that by the time they’re twelve. You’ll see.”
Even though Sparkle knew her mom’s heart still ached to be near the Hollywood sign again, Mother wasn’t wrong about social media. Thanks to her mom’s backdrops, props, and posing techniques, Sparkle now had thousands of social media followers.
“Well, I’ll be rooting for you, Sparkle . . .” Tisha unsnapped the plastic drape from around her neck and helped her stand up from the chair. “All done, glamour girl.”
“Thank you,” Sparkle said, showing off the manners Mother taught her.
Then right on cue, the doorbell rang, and this time when Mother answered the door, it really was the photographer. After introductions, the photographer walked right over to the green screen and ring lights Mother had stationed in various positions, and began setting up his equipment—a small folding table, a digital screen, and a few lights of his own. He beckoned for Sparkle to come over, kneeled down to her eye level, and adjusted his lens. This was it! The close-up portrait that would make bigger brands take notice.
Sparkle smiled wide to show off her perfectly white teeth. They weren’t naturally white, of course, but bleached after weeks of using those god-awful brightening strips that made her teeth tingle when she bit into ice cream. Mother said being an entertainer wasn’t always comfortable. And she would know. Mother had once posed with a large tarantula on her cheek on a billboard advertising an insect zoo in downtown LA.
That afternoon, the photographer flashed his camera a hundred different ways, urging Sparkle to smile and tilt her head. Relax her shoulders—now raise them—wait!—lower them just a smidge. As the late afternoon darkened to evening, Sparkle’s stomach growled, but her bright smile never wavered. She clutched a pink toothbrush in one hand and the Gleamy White toothpaste tube in the other, grinning like she was holding items straight from the very top of her birthday wish list.
“More teeth, Sp-Sp-Sparkle. Open those eyes. Yes, yes. Just like that,” Mother called out from just behind the photographer, as she modeled.
When Nova finally came back in and plopped herself down on the couch to watch, Sparkle stretched herself taller, struck a new pose, twisted her body past the limits of comfort to make sure she got the perfect shot.
Nova’s social media pictures were just as good as hers. Brands would be calling for her younger sister, too, soon. It was up to Sparkle to show Nova what it took to become a star.
“Doing good, Sparkle.” Mother winked in Sparkle’s direction, before turning her eyes back to the raw images on the photographer’s digital screen.
These were the moments that made the teeth strips, the deep conditioning, and those strong-smelling avocado facials all worth it. Mother believed in her. And that made Sparkle even more confident that she could snatch up those old dreams Mother had lost and make them new again.
That afternoon at the Gleamy White photo shoot, with Nova’s eyes on her and Mother’s smile so full of hope, Sparkle truly believed she could have everything she wanted.
Of course, Sparkle was old enough to know that for some people, dreams didn’t last forever. Many of the Hollywood greats met a tragic end sooner or later. From scandals. Or mistakes. Random accidents or mysterious illnesses taking them out in their prime. Even her own mom had let her stutter snatch away her dreams just as her Hollywood career began sprouting.
But Sparkle was determined. When her star finally rose, she would do everything she could to make sure she twinkled bright forever.
Sparkle is an honest and uplifting portrayal of alopecia, and Lakita Wilson’s voice shines. Readers will relate to Sparkle’s desire to fit in and root for her on her journey to self-acceptance.” —Janae Marks, New York Times bestselling author of On Air with Zoe Washington

"A timely and relatable story about self-perception and social pressures." —Kirkus Reviews

"Using emotionally turbulent and candid prose, Wilson delivers a heartfelt narrative about personal growth in which Sparkle approaches each challenge with tenacity and drive." —Publishers Weekly

"Through Wilson’s characters, we see the range of challenges for a middle school girl dealing with devastating hair loss...[An] adept exploration of the definition of beauty for the middle-grade set." —Booklist
Lakita Wilson is the author of several novels and nonfiction projects for children and young adults, including What is Black Lives Matter? and Who is Colin Kaepernick? part of the New York Times bestselling Who HQ Now series. She is also the author of the YA novel Last Chance Dance and the upcoming MG novel Sparkle

Lakita was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Prince Goerge's County, Maryland. A 2017 recipient of SCBWI's Emerging Voices Award, Lakita received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is currently on faculty at Prince George's Community College in the education department. Lakita lives in Prince George's County, Maryland, with her two children. She can be found online at lakitawilson.com. View titles by Lakita Wilson

About

After twelve-year-old aspiring superstar, Sparkle Moore, is diagnosed with alopecia, she must navigate family, friends, and her own self-esteem with the added challenge of losing her hair. Perfect for fans of Stand Up, Yumi Chung! and From the Desk of Zoe Washington.

Sparkle Moore is destined to be a star. Her mother is determined to turn her and her younger sister, Nova, into social media influencers and budding superstars. And after her dad has lost work as a sitcom actor, Sparkle wants to do whatever she can to help her family financially, too.

But at the onset of middle school, Sparkle begins losing her hair—first her lashes, then her eyebrows, and then small circular bald spots appear in various sections on her head. It’s hard enough having to go to school and hide her diagnosis from her friends—all while they’re trying out for big roles in the school play—but Sparkle quickly has to deal with weird medications, itchy wigs, and lost opportunities her mom has wrangled, including a big shampoo commercial.

Despite everything she might do to hide what’s happening, and all her work keeping her friends together, when Sparkle’s secrets start coming to the surface—Sparkle has to come to terms with the changes in her life and show her classmates and her family what she can do with or without hair.

Excerpt

1
Sparkle’s mom always said her hair was her crowning glory. “Hair,” Mother explained, “frames your beauty.”
Lucky for Sparkle, she had a lot of hair—chestnut-colored locks, so thick and long that every night before bed, she took extra special care to protect it from breakage. Sitting in front of the pink mirror on her desk, Sparkle brushed her hair forward and around with the paddle brush. Sometimes, she called Mother in to help her secure the ends with large brass bobby pins. But every night, she made sure each strand of hair was safely tucked under her large silk nightcap before falling asleep.
“Your beautiful curls,” Mother always said, “will help you become a star, someday.”
Viola Moore knew things like this. She and her hair had been on billboards all over the city of Los Angeles—modeling shampoo, conditioner, and hats—when she was only a little older than Sparkle. Now Mother was married with two children and living in Maryland. And photos from those days were stored in a box tucked away on the bottom shelf of the bookcase in the living room.
Today, Sparkle and her younger sister, Nova, pushed the living room couch in front of that bookcase to make space for a backdrop Mother was currently setting up in the middle of the floor. A professional photographer was on his way, and everything had to be perfect when he arrived.
Sparkle squeezed her eyes shut, grunting as she pushed against the arm of the sofa. But the cream, L-shaped sectional barely moved an inch. “Nova, you’re not pushing hard enough.”
Her sister sucked her teeth and stopped pushing. “I’m a lot younger than you, Sparkle. What do you expect?”
“You’re only a year younger than me.”
“Exactly! Twelve whole months younger.”
“Fine, whatever . . . just keep pushing.”
The girls managed to slide the couch over seconds before three sharp raps sounded at the door.
“Darn it! The photographer wasn’t supposed to be here for another twenty minutes.” Mother left the bright green backdrop leaning against the wall and walked to the front door. When she pulled it open, she sighed with relief. A woman with fire-engine-red hair, blue eyeshadow, and heavy black eyeliner stepped through and held out her hand. “Hi, I’m Tisha—here to do Sparkle’s makeup.”
Mother shook Tisha’s hand, then smiled over her shoulder. “Sparkle, glam is here!”
“Glam” was Mother’s super-fast way of describing the person responsible for making Sparkle look fabulous on camera. Usually, Mother was the glam squad. Right after setting the scene with one of her handmade backdrops, Mother fixed hair, applied small dabs of makeup, and chose outfits. But today was special, so her mom had decided to hire professionals.
All morning, Sparkle had kept her hair in pin curls under her silk bonnet, so it would fall in perfect spirals during today’s photo shoot. Now that Tisha was here, it was almost time. Sparkle removed her bonnet and pulled on the bobby pins, letting her glossy brown hair drop to her shoulders. But as she walked over to meet the makeup artist, she noticed Nova heading in the opposite direction, to the back door.
“You aren’t staying for the shoot?” Sparkle asked her sister.
Nova’s eyes darted toward the window, where Dad was currently making his way toward the backyard.
“You said you needed me to help with the couch . . .” Nova stepped another inch toward the hall. “And . . . I did . . .”
“Yeah, but . . .” Sparkle didn’t want to force Nova to stay. But this was their thing. Modeling. Dance. Acting. Nova had always loved performing just as much as Sparkle.
Plus, today was different. Mother usually took pictures of Sparkle or Nova posing with the free swag small brands sent them using her phone camera, a sturdy floor lamp, and one of her homemade backdrops. Last week, a local toothpaste brand had sent a small package of their products with a note asking Mother if Sparkle wanted to promote their toothpaste on her page.
This time, they hadn’t just offered the products, they’d offered real money. Sure, it wasn’t a lot of cash. But this was her start—a chance to prove she could pack enough emotion into one piercing stare into the camera lens to send her social media followers scrambling to order their very own tube of Gleamy White toothpaste. Just like Mother on those billboards, all those years ago.
“I’ll be back after I get some fresh air,” Nova said, with a little wave. “Good luck with the shoot!”
With Nova joining Dad in the backyard, Sparkle sat down in a chair Mother pulled in from the dining room while Tisha put her hands on her hips and peered into her face.
“What are we doing today?” she asked Mother.
“Today is all about my Sparkle’s n-n-natural beauty,” Mother explained. “So, smooth the face out with a little foundation. Dab on a little bronzer in the T-zone to really give her that glow. Maybe line her lids a little. And maybe contour her n-n-n—” Mother stopped for a moment, her tongue pressed against the roof of her mouth in the familiar way that Sparkle knew meant she was struggling to get a word out.
“Nose?” she suggested.
A slight look of relief washed over Mother’s face. “Thank you, Sparkle, baby. Yes, her nose.” She made a motion with her fingers. “Just a light contour—nothing too extreme.”
Tisha began cleaning Sparkle’s face with a small white towelette. “So, you want to be a model, huh?”
Sparkle’s heart fluttered. “Not just a model. I want to act. And sing. And dance.”
“My girls want to be renaissance women!” Mother said, picking up where she’d left off with the backdrop. With her back turned to Tisha and Sparkle, she said, “I had those same dreams as a k-k-kid.” Mother’s voice went quiet for a beat. “But I wasn’t a n-natural.” Mother stopped again, the wrinkles in her forehead deepening slightly. “Not like my Sparkle and Nova.”
This was one of the few times Sparkle disagreed with her mom. Mother was a natural. She’d even booked a commercial, once. Words just gave her trouble every now and then. It wasn’t like she didn’t know a bunch of words. She just struggled getting them to come out sometimes. Especially when she was a little stressed, or nervous.
Years before Sparkle was born, Mother had stammered through her lines during her first commercial shoot. Flustered by the experience, Mother walked off set during a short break, and away from her budding career as an entertainer forever. If it had been Sparkle, she might’ve taken a speech class, or practiced in the mirror a zillion times before the big day. But Mother had been too embarrassed to ask for a do-over, which didn’t make sense to Sparkle. She didn’t think one little thing could ever keep her away from doing something she loved.
If the makeup artist noticed Mother’s stutter, she didn’t let on. Instead, she changed the subject. “Sparkle and Nova. Those are interesting names,” Tisha said, pulling a makeup brush from the small pouch hanging from her hip.
Both of my girls were meant to shine bright,” Mother said behind her. “Have you ever seen two girls with such flawless brown skin? Such deep dimples? Sometimes I think their smiles are bright enough to light up the entire state of Maryland. I’m going to make sure the entire world notices how special they are.”
Sparkle pressed her lips together, to keep from smiling widely—she wanted to save that for the actual shoot. Still, it felt good getting compliments from her mom.
“I hear that,” Tisha said as she began carefully painting a line down the center of her nose. Sparkle wondered if Mother would help her chase her dreams if she had been born with a stutter. Would she bother paying for this photo shoot, or smile as big every time someone claimed Sparkle had something special?
Sparkle never wondered for long, though, because words flowed from her lips as effortlessly as a fish gliding through still waters. She could move and twist those words to make an audience laugh or lean forward in their seats. And someday, with enough practice, Sparkle planned to make an entire audience tear up—just a little—over her words.
For now, though, she was fine modeling toothpaste. Every bright smile, photo shoot, and social media post moved her just a little closer to the bigger dreams.
Tisha stopped painting clear gloss on her lips for a moment. “I’m surprised you haven’t moved your girls out to California already,” she said.
Sparkle knew the mention of California would tug a little at Mother’s smile—forcing her to hide a wistful look under a flurry of excuses like:
The girls have plenty of time to become stars.
The Moore family doesn’t need Hollywood just yet.
Social media pages are just as good as casting calls these days.
“Times are different now,” Sparkle’s mom told the makeup artist. “There’s no more walking into an audition and actually reading for a part.” Mother placed a hand to her chest, laughing that barely there chuckle she’d borrowed from the old Hollywood greats. “To make it big these days, you need a following. A built-in audience. And my girls—with their looks and charm?—will have exactly that by the time they’re twelve. You’ll see.”
Even though Sparkle knew her mom’s heart still ached to be near the Hollywood sign again, Mother wasn’t wrong about social media. Thanks to her mom’s backdrops, props, and posing techniques, Sparkle now had thousands of social media followers.
“Well, I’ll be rooting for you, Sparkle . . .” Tisha unsnapped the plastic drape from around her neck and helped her stand up from the chair. “All done, glamour girl.”
“Thank you,” Sparkle said, showing off the manners Mother taught her.
Then right on cue, the doorbell rang, and this time when Mother answered the door, it really was the photographer. After introductions, the photographer walked right over to the green screen and ring lights Mother had stationed in various positions, and began setting up his equipment—a small folding table, a digital screen, and a few lights of his own. He beckoned for Sparkle to come over, kneeled down to her eye level, and adjusted his lens. This was it! The close-up portrait that would make bigger brands take notice.
Sparkle smiled wide to show off her perfectly white teeth. They weren’t naturally white, of course, but bleached after weeks of using those god-awful brightening strips that made her teeth tingle when she bit into ice cream. Mother said being an entertainer wasn’t always comfortable. And she would know. Mother had once posed with a large tarantula on her cheek on a billboard advertising an insect zoo in downtown LA.
That afternoon, the photographer flashed his camera a hundred different ways, urging Sparkle to smile and tilt her head. Relax her shoulders—now raise them—wait!—lower them just a smidge. As the late afternoon darkened to evening, Sparkle’s stomach growled, but her bright smile never wavered. She clutched a pink toothbrush in one hand and the Gleamy White toothpaste tube in the other, grinning like she was holding items straight from the very top of her birthday wish list.
“More teeth, Sp-Sp-Sparkle. Open those eyes. Yes, yes. Just like that,” Mother called out from just behind the photographer, as she modeled.
When Nova finally came back in and plopped herself down on the couch to watch, Sparkle stretched herself taller, struck a new pose, twisted her body past the limits of comfort to make sure she got the perfect shot.
Nova’s social media pictures were just as good as hers. Brands would be calling for her younger sister, too, soon. It was up to Sparkle to show Nova what it took to become a star.
“Doing good, Sparkle.” Mother winked in Sparkle’s direction, before turning her eyes back to the raw images on the photographer’s digital screen.
These were the moments that made the teeth strips, the deep conditioning, and those strong-smelling avocado facials all worth it. Mother believed in her. And that made Sparkle even more confident that she could snatch up those old dreams Mother had lost and make them new again.
That afternoon at the Gleamy White photo shoot, with Nova’s eyes on her and Mother’s smile so full of hope, Sparkle truly believed she could have everything she wanted.
Of course, Sparkle was old enough to know that for some people, dreams didn’t last forever. Many of the Hollywood greats met a tragic end sooner or later. From scandals. Or mistakes. Random accidents or mysterious illnesses taking them out in their prime. Even her own mom had let her stutter snatch away her dreams just as her Hollywood career began sprouting.
But Sparkle was determined. When her star finally rose, she would do everything she could to make sure she twinkled bright forever.

Reviews

Sparkle is an honest and uplifting portrayal of alopecia, and Lakita Wilson’s voice shines. Readers will relate to Sparkle’s desire to fit in and root for her on her journey to self-acceptance.” —Janae Marks, New York Times bestselling author of On Air with Zoe Washington

"A timely and relatable story about self-perception and social pressures." —Kirkus Reviews

"Using emotionally turbulent and candid prose, Wilson delivers a heartfelt narrative about personal growth in which Sparkle approaches each challenge with tenacity and drive." —Publishers Weekly

"Through Wilson’s characters, we see the range of challenges for a middle school girl dealing with devastating hair loss...[An] adept exploration of the definition of beauty for the middle-grade set." —Booklist

Author

Lakita Wilson is the author of several novels and nonfiction projects for children and young adults, including What is Black Lives Matter? and Who is Colin Kaepernick? part of the New York Times bestselling Who HQ Now series. She is also the author of the YA novel Last Chance Dance and the upcoming MG novel Sparkle

Lakita was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Prince Goerge's County, Maryland. A 2017 recipient of SCBWI's Emerging Voices Award, Lakita received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is currently on faculty at Prince George's Community College in the education department. Lakita lives in Prince George's County, Maryland, with her two children. She can be found online at lakitawilson.com. View titles by Lakita Wilson