torrey maldonado
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  Torrey Maldonado
Torrey Maldonado
is a VETERAN TEACHER and "2012 Top 10 Author". NBC & more have spotlighted Maldonado. Born & raised in Red Hook projects, he overcame neighborhood poverty & violence to be the first immediate family member to attend college. Graduating Vassar, he trained schools to implement Conflict Resolution programs through the U.S.'s largest victim-services agency. He holds a Master's Degree in Educational Administration from Baruch College. His young adult ALA Quick Pick is praised for its current-feel & timeless themes, made states’ Middle & High school reading-lists, & is assigned alongside classics in colleges.
 
Q: Why do you write?
A:
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.