cover image It’s Not Bragging If It’s True: How to Be Awesome at Life

It’s Not Bragging If It’s True: How to Be Awesome at Life

Zaila Avant-garde with Marti Dumas. Random House, $17.99 (144p) ISBN 978-0-593-56899-6

Avant-garde, the first African American Scripps National Spelling Bee champion and a two-time Guinness World Record holder, shares tips and tricks that helped her “level up” in this instructional guide. The teenager details each suggestion via conversational prose; chapter titles reference the advice presented therein, and compact sections burst with anecdotes that depict how Avant-garde applies each tip to her own life. In chapter one, Avant-garde details the tip “have someone else’s back” by delving into her experiences with homeschooling, and how being constantly surrounded by her family helped her learn how to thrive in an ever-bustling environment. “If you want to level up, I think you can’t start with yourself,” she writes, asserting that if she didn’t have a support system, she would not have found success. Subsequent advice—such as how to ask for help, roll with the punches, and show up for oneself—offers up what the author believes to be crucial practices for achieving one’s goals. With intelligence and insightful humor, Avant-garde delivers an inspiring how-to manual that compels readers to lean into what makes them different and to never be ashamed of acknowledging their wins. Ages 8–12. (May)