A former Youth Journalism International student, Samantha Perez, has written her first book, The Isleños of Louisiana: On the Water’s Edge. Published by Octavia Books in New Orleans, a release party for the new book is slated for March 16.
Perez began writing for YJI the day that Hurricane Katrina slammed into her home state, destroying her family home in St. Bernard Parish and leaving her living in a FEMA trailer during her senior year of high school. She wrote about her experiences in a series of incredible journal entries
that captured the heartbreak of the odyssey she shared with hundreds of thousands of other young people. Her own strength and courage shined through the pages as she chronicled her post-Katrina life.
Perez’s widely read work captured a number of honors, including the Professor Mel Williams Award for Writing Excellence through the Scholastic Press Forum, the Suburban Newspapers of America’s Award for Best Feature and a special resolution from the Louisiana State Senate.
Perez, whose family rebuilt in St. Bernard Parish, graduated last year from Southeastern Louisiana University with degrees in history and honors English, is now a graduate student at Tulane University, where she is aiming to earn a Ph.D. in late medieval and early modern European history.
We are so proud of all that Perez has accomplished.
Youth Journalism International’s annual journalism contest is underway. See www.YouthJournalism.org for details.