READING, PENNSYLVANIA: Aperture Press is pleased to announce that A Girl Named Nina, by Norma Tamayo of Exeter Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania, has been chosen as a Common Reading Selection by Penn State Berks for the 2017– 2018 academic year. The university will be supplying Norma’s book to their peer mentors and first year seminar instructors for use in preparing their lessons for the fall term. All incoming freshmen will be required to read A Girl Named Nina.
THE 2017-2018 COMMON READING SELECTION will be required reading by all incoming baccalaureate students prior to orientation at the beginning of the fall semester. The Common Reading selection aims to provide students with a positive reading experience, while reinforcing the fact that reading is a vital part of the college experience. There will be academic assignments based on the content of the Common Reading selection. A Girl Named Nina: Based on a true story, A Girl Named Nina paints a vivid portrait of life in 1960s Brooklyn. Nina grows up in a tenement with Puerto Rican parents who came to America seeking a better life. Her father adores and protects her, teaches her to read, and encourages the many gifts he sees within her. Her mother is nurturing in her own way, as she struggles quietly with her own difficult past. Keenly aware of her surroundings from a very young age, Nina learns about the joys of childhood from a fourth-floor windowsill in her parents’ apartment. Still too young to jump rope and play stick ball with children on the busy street below, she witnesses life from within the halls of her building—including physical and sexual abuse—but tells no one what she has seen. For Nina, the joys of coming of age are tempered with life’s many harsh realities: her parents’ separation, physical abuse, a friend’s drug use, her best friend’s murder, and the poverty that surrounds them all. Yet her spirit remains undaunted. Nina will not abandon her dream—her lifelong desire to become a doctor and rise above the hardships she has known so that she can help guide others to a brighter future.
Norma Tamayo was born and raised in New York City. She is of Puerto Rican descent and is bilingual in English and Spanish. As a transient child herself, Norma spent most of her childhood years living in apartment buildings in Brooklyn and later in Jersey City and Hoboken. She is a playwright, actor, and registered nurse who has worked at the Reading Hospital for several years. She currently teaches the Health Medical Professions program at Reading Muhlenberg CTC, where she works with high school students. As the advisor of her HOSA Freedom Chapter, Norma earned the Outstanding HOSA Advisor award in 2008 at State and National levels. Her chapter has received the Outstanding Newsletter and Outstanding HOSA Chapter award for more than six consecutive years. Norma resides in Reading, Pennsylvania with her loving family.
A Girl Named Nina received Honorable Mention for BEST YOUNG ADULT FICTION BOOK – ENGLISH at the 2014 INTERNATIONAL LATINO BOOK AWARDS.