Rita Williams-Garcia Interviews M. Sindy Felin, 2007 National Book Award Young People's Literature Finalist

M. Sindy Felin

Touching Snow

Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Interview conducted by Rita Williams-Garcia.

Photo © Scarlett K. Anderson

RWG: Now that it’s all said and done, what is the story decision that you are most proud of?

MSF: Originally, I was going to leave the reader wondering if Karina did indeed kill her stepfather. Though she confesses to doing it in the opening pages, Karina is also quite the storyteller, and so I thought maybe leaving the Daddy’s demise as a “What really happened that night” would add to her quirkiness and mystique. In the end, not only am I glad that it is clear what happened to the Daddy, I’m also happy that the sisters each had a part in forming this important part of their futures.

Please discuss aspects of negotiating darkness and light in Karina’s world.

MSF: Karina knows that her home life must be more difficult and frightening than the home lives of her schoolmates. But being a kid, this doesn’t stop her from experiencing joy where she can find it – watching fireworks from the back porch with her sisters, teaching her young cousins how to roller skate in the hallway of her house, and pinching church collection plate dollars to buy knishes smeared with mustard. And Karina creates some of the light in her life by retelling her day-to-day experiences to Augustin, the tailor who rents the family’s basement, as she would prefer to be living it.

There aren't too many characters who get away with murder. Will we see Karina in the future? (Crossing my fingers for a resounding “YES.”)

MSF: For me, Karina’s story definitely does not end where Touching Snow leaves off. She is such a fully formed character in my mind that I already know bits and pieces of her future – those things helped me form her identity as we see it in Touching Snow. I would love to see her make another appearance in the future – but she’d have to have quite the compelling reason to do so.


Rita Williams-Garcia is the author of six distinguished novels for young adults: Jumped, No Laughter Here, Every Time a Rainbow Dies, Fast Talk on a Slow Track, Blue Tights, and Like Sisters on the Homefront. She has also published a picture book and has contributed to numerous anthologies. Williams-Garcia's works have been recognized by the Coretta Scott King Award Committee, the PEN/Norma Klein Award, the American Library Association, and Parents' Choice, among others. She recently served on the National Book Award Committee for Young People's Literature and is on faculty at Vermont College for the MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults program. Rita Williams-Garcia lives in Jamaica, Queens, NY and is the mother of two daughters.