torrey maldonado
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  Torrey Maldonado
Torrey Maldonado
Voted a "Top 10 Latino Author" and best Middle Grade and Young Adult novelist for African Americans, Maldonado was recently honored as a top teacher by NYC’s schools Chancellor.  His work builds boys into multidimensional males and youth into global, caring citizens.  Before teaching, he trained schools to implement Conflict Resolution programs through the U.S.'s largest victim-services agency.  Praised for its timeless feel, his acclaimed novel, Secret Saturdays, made states’ reading lists and is assigned alongside classics and in anti-bullying initiatives. His forthcoming works also are inspired by his and his students’ lives.
Q: Why do you write?
As a boy, I wrote to distract my mind from the rough realities of my neighborhood and schools. Writing helped me with my problems but it also brought new problems. There was great pressure for me to follow the crowd and the crowd felt writing equaled school and school equaled corny.  Where I’m from, young female writers are called nerdy but boys get called “soft” because people think school’s a girl’s thing. I never stopped writing though and it paid off. People around me mistook me writing as “soft” but writing turned out to be hard enough to smash my chains of poverty. It helped me avoid ending up dead, in jail, on drugs, or living below my full potential. Now, I write a lot to help young people also improve their lives.
Q: If you had 30 seconds to tell someone about your book, what would you say?
A:  Want to see the reality of teens in city and school life? Want a fast-paced mix of excitement, humor, and, mystery? If you say yes, get Secret Saturdays. You’ll find a familiar male, teen voice and an urban fiction you won’t want to end.

Q: Secret Saturdays really stands out from other urban fiction books. Did you know it would? 
A:  I felt Secret Saturdays was unique because writing it gave me the rush I got from doing flips as a kid all day in Recreation Center pools. My book pumped me up the way handball and video games, shows, movies, and comic books did. I only really knew I made a "stand out" book when middle and high school students, Literacy teachers, and librarians began praising Secret Saturdays as different and great.

Q: Why did you write Secret Saturdays?
A. Some things haven't changed since I was a boy: kids keep dealing with the same stressful problems I had growing up. They live in rough neighborhoods, single-parent families, have deadbeat dads, and trust issues. They wrestle with racism and being racially mixed. On top of that, a lot of their required school reading bores them. So, I mixed my passion for writing and teaching and made Secret Saturdays, which can help young people better handle tough times and gives them an exciting read.