Dear colleagues and friends, it is an honor and a privilege to receive this Pulitzer Prize for Literacy Excellence. I would like to accept this award on behalf of the men, women and children who have motivated me and inspired me through everything I have been through, beginning when I was a child. I was encouraged to write this novel by my daughter, when she told me about the widening gap between the rich and poor children at her school. This made me discover more issues within my daughter's middle school, including the amount of discrimination against students with different styles.
My novel Define "Normal" is about two young ladies which have two very different appearances and incredibly different views on the world. Jazz is a "punk" style girl with dyed hair and piercings, while Antonia, on the other hand, is a complete "priss". When first meeting Jazz, Antonia "couldn't get over how white her teeth looked against the black lipstick" (Page 3) and was extremely curious to find out how much her piercings hurt.
After meeting, both girls worry about what others would think of them if they saw them together. Nevertheless, what happens to their friendship is not revealed until the conclusion of the novel. Jazz is fairly wealthy, and has a loving family that she truly does not appreciate. Jazz's "bedroom was gigantic. And gorgeous. The walls were papered with Japanese flowers, and there were closets everywhere. Walk- in. Plus mirrors, floor to ceiling" (Page 67). However, Antonia's family struggles to meet the rent and she often feels like she has "No parents. No family. No home" (Page 135). Even with all the differences these two girls discover they have some surprising things in common and both have self-esteem issues that they work on together.