New York, NY, February 15, 2013 – Published three years after Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake, an event that plays a pivotal role in Josh Farrar’s latest book, A Song for Bijou (Walker Books/Bloomsbury) is a touching, inspiring chronicle of young love in the multicultural setting of a contemporary middle school. Minus today’s reality-show hype, this effervescent story acts as an excellent tool for parents and teachers alike to help kids determine right from wrong as they come of age in our diverse, increasingly complex society.
Josh Farrar has written a story of middle-school first crushes in which a white boy from Brooklyn and a Haitian girl who has recently survived that country’s devastating earthquake struggle mightily to spend time together in a social environment that seems determined to keep them apart. Despite the seriousness of its themes, the book is a fun, breezy read punctuated by scenes of celebratory music and dancing. A Song for Bijou heartwarmingly depicts the efforts of a multicultural group of friends in Brooklyn, New York to understand the mysteries of the opposite sex, and the complexities of the world they live in. Told in alternating viewpoints against the vibrant backdrop of Haitian-American culture, the author’s lead characters, Alex Schrader and Bijou Doucet, take their first tender steps toward love in this affecting story.
Life for Alex has never involved girls. Attending an all-boys prep school, most of his time is spent clowning around with his friends. But that all changes the first time he sets eyes on Bijou, a beautiful Haitian girl who relocated to Brooklyn after the earthquake, and he is determined to win her heart. Bijou, on the other hand, is surprised daily by how different life is in America. After Alex asks her out, he quickly learns there are rules when it comes to girls, both in Haitian culture and with his own friends. And Bijou discovers she doesn’t have to let go of her roots to find joy in her new life.
A Song for Bijou is a realistic depiction of a group of regular, good kids negotiating the complex business of growing up. The second novel by author Josh Farrar, it has been praised as an “…enjoyable, seriocomic tale of new love, culture clash, adolescent social stratification and friendship…a solid, timely effort,” by Kirkus Reviews. Farrar’s first book, Rules to Rock By, was called by School Library Journal a “spirited, never-say-die story about a girl and her dream…Farrar’s first novel hits home about tween life, especially among the creative set, and for anyone who has ever been bullied.”
Surviving puberty has never been easy, but the infringement of technology––YouTube, Twitter, and a phone in the hand of nearly every child – has made the navigation of adolescence positively baffling. Devoid of sex, drugs, or profanity, Farrar’s new book is a welcome breath of fresh air: a moving tale of friendships, first love, and the issues of growing up in a different culture.
Josh Farrar understands kids. Whether writing fiction or designing educational software for companies such as LeapFrog and Scholastic, his goal is to give children the tools to become better readers, and maybe, better people.
Music plays a prominent role in Farrar’s books. The author has played in bands, composed music for plays and films and, when he’s not reading or writing, he can usually be found with a stringed instrument in his hands. He is a strong believer in the combined power of literature and music to powerfully affect children’s lives, and promotional events for A Song for Bijou will feature performances by a cast of West Indian musicians. A graduate of Wesleyan University, Josh lives with his family in Brooklyn, New York.
For more information on this talented writer, please visit: www.farrarbooks.com.
Available at fine bookstores, online or at author’s website
A Song for Bijou by Josh Farrar
Publisher: Walker Books
Release Date: February 12, 2013