October 8, 2021—The Winsor School welcomed co-authors and sisters Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite to an in-person assembly to discuss their creative journey and their book, One of the Good Ones
, which Classes III to VIII read over the summer. The Moulite sisters, daughters of Haitian immigrants, revealed to the audience that this was their first in-person school speaker visit since the pandemic, so they were smiling very widely “behind their masks.”
Director of the Virginia Wing Library Alice Stern worked closely with a small group of students to select a book that met their very specific criteria including: a compelling storyline, diverse characters, a focus on social justice issues, and an uplifting ending. One of the Good Ones, which was one of the most anticipated books of 2021, checked all these boxes while engaging readers through brilliant storytelling, plot twists, and flashbacks.
During the high-energy assembly, the authors brought students back to the early days of their youth in Miami. Both avid readers as children, they shared some of their favorite books such as Pippi Longstocking and Madeline. While many of these books had protagonists with freckles and red hair, the girls noticed at a young age that books featuring “black girls with black hair” were not readily available. According to the Moulite sisters, expanding stories to include a more diverse range of lead characters is what fuels their writing today.
In One of the Good Ones, Happi, the younger sister of Kezi (an activist and YouTuber, who dies after taking part in a social justice rally on her 18th birthday), states that “she was my sister before she became your martyr.” The narrative sets the stage for a story within a story, as Kezi unearths her family history beginning in the late 1930s. Her research paves the way for a present-day journey inspired by The Negro Motorist Green Book, a guide that helped Black American travelers stay safe during the Jim Crow era.
The authors discussed and dissected the social justice themes during the assembly, including the meaning behind the title One of the Good Ones. The authors explained that the title was a phrase that came up multiple times in the story and is a phrase uttered prominently in the media when something happens to a marginalized person. It is common for someone else to stop and recount what they know before labeling them a “good” person.
For a fun ending to their time on campus, the authors held a game of digital trivia featuring facts from the book and African American history.
Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite are also co-authors of additional young adult novels. Dear Haiti, Love Alaine
was one of NPR’s Favorite Books of 2019, part of Indigo’s "Best of 2019” Teen List, and a Parents’ Choice Foundation award winner. When they aren’t working diligently on their next project, Maika and Maritza are sharpening their skills as Ph.D. candidates at Howard University and the University of Pennsylvania, respectively. Their next book inspired by Haitian zombie lore, The Summer I Ate the Rich,
will be published in fall 2023.