Meet Joanna Ho, Author of The Silence That Binds Us

San Mateo County Libraries welcomes Joanna Ho for a virtual conversation about her inspiring young adult book, The Silence That Binds Us on Wednesday, May 10 at 7:00 PM! Join us for an in-depth discussion about mental health, the power of using your own voice and the real stories behind the book. We’ll also host an audience Q&A.

Told with care, humor and a love for food and family, The Silence That Binds Us is perfect for fans of The Hate U Give and the work of Elizabeth Acevedo.

Once you’ve registered, you’ll receive your Zoom invitation.

Fighting Silence, One Word at a Time

My words were sword and shield.

Together our words can be an army.

The Silence That Binds Us is an exquisite, heart-rending debut young adult novel that masterfully explores timely themes of mental health, racism and classism and will inspire all to speak truth to power.

Maybelline Chen isn’t the Chinese Taiwanese American daughter her mother expects her to be. May prefers hoodies over dresses and wants to become a writer. When asked, her mom can’t come up with one specific reason for why she's proud of her only daughter. May’s beloved brother, Danny, on the other hand, has just been admitted to Princeton. But Danny secretly struggles with depression, and when he dies by suicide, May's world is shattered.

In the aftermath, racist accusations are hurled against May's parents for putting too much “pressure” on him. May’s father tells her to keep her head down. Instead, May challenges these ugly stereotypes through her writing. Yet the consequences of speaking out run much deeper than anyone could foresee.

Who gets to tell our stories, and who gets silenced? It’s up to May to take back the narrative.

Get to Know Joanna Ho

One year, Joanna Ho was hunting for holiday books with diverse characters for her newborn, and realized there weren’t very many. So with a passion for anti-bias, anti-racism and equity work, she started writing because she believes all kids need to see themselves and others in books.

Joanna Ho is the New York Times-bestselling and award-winning author of Eyes That Kiss in the Corners, The Silence That Binds Us and One Day. Joanna has been an English teacher, a dean, the designer of an alternative-to-prison program, a creator of educator professional development and a high school vice principal. She lives in the Bay Area, where she survives on homemade chocolate chip cookies, outdoor adventures and dance parties with her kids.

Praise for Joanna Ho

I couldn't put Joanna Ho's The Silence That Binds Us down! This was a powerful empowering read that will inspire so many readers to scream, shout, stand up, speak out and share their truths! . . . I hope this book is read in every home, school, and library as it's an absolute necessary read!” — Tiffany Jewell, New York Times-bestselling author of This Book Is Anti-Racist

“A held-breath of a novel that finds courage amidst brokenness, and holds a candle to the dark.” — Stacey Lee, New York Times-bestselling author of The Downstairs Girl

"Powerful and piercing, filled with truth, love and a heroine who takes back the narrative." — Abigail Hing Wen, New York Times-bestselling author of Loveboat, Taipei

“Inspired by the recent rise in hate crimes against AAPI . . . Ho’s story of inclusion, diversity and social action rings true. Maybelline is a multifaceted narrator whose drive to right wrongs and stand up to injustice deserves applause. Ho illuminates both activism and mental health in marginalized communities, showing that even a bright, young achiever can experience depression without anyone knowing.” — Booklist

"An ornately carved window into the core of shared humanity. Read and re-read. Then read it again." —Nic Stone, New York Times-bestselling author of Dear Martin