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Lit Squad: YA novel takes on the issue of using former plantations as event venues

By Lauren Gilger
Published: Monday, June 5, 2023 - 1:18pm
Updated: Monday, June 5, 2023 - 1:34pm

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Kelly McWilliams, Your Plantation Prom Is Not Okay
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Bill Mullen
Kelly McWilliams, author of “Your Plantation Prom Is Not Okay”

The idea of how to teach American history has been very much in the news over the past few years; much of the debate centers on how to talk about some of the more difficult and troubling parts of the country’s past.

That idea is a big part of author Kelly McWilliams’ latest young adult novel, called “Your Plantation Prom is Not Okay.”

In it, the main character Harriet Douglass lives on a former plantation site, which she and her parents have transformed into an enslaved people’s museum. But when the former plantation next door is bought and turned into an event space, she knows she has to fight that.

As part of Lit Squad, a series of conversations with the authors of middle grade and young adult novels, The Show spoke with McWilliams about her book.

McWilliams talked about her impetus to write it — and why so many former plantations continue to ignore their history of slavery.

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