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Available wherever books are sold!

Water in May
By Ismee Williams

WATER IN MAY, the novel

What if your baby had half a heart?

Fifteen-year-old Mari Pujols believes that the baby she’s carrying will finally give her a family member who loves her and won’t ever leave. Not like her mama, who took off when she was eight; or her papi, who’s in jail; or her abuela, who wants as little to do with her as possible. But when doctors discover a potentially fatal heart defect in the fetus, Mari faces choices she never imagined.

Surrounded by her loyal girl crew, her on-and-off boyfriend, and a dedicated doctor, Mari navigates an experience that could devastate the bravest of women. But Mari’s a fighter. She won’t give up. And while Mari’s future is as uncertain as her unborn baby’s, her darkest moments shed light on what it truly means to be part of a family.

Heartfelt, heartbreaking, and - yes! - even a little heart-healing too
— Carolyn Mackler, Printz Honor recipient

Fierce and tender—and absolutely worth reading.
— Kirkus STARRED Review

Ismée Williams is a pediatric cardiologist who trained and practiced at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City for 15 years. She is the daughter of a Cuban immigrant and was partially raised by her abuelos (grandparents in Spanish). Her background helped her understand the many Maris she met along the way. Water in May is her first novel.

She lives in New York with her husband and three daughters as well as a dog who is commonly mistaken for a muppet. You can follow him on his own Instagram @redrowandoodle. (Ismée can be found on Instagram and Twitter at @IsmeeWilliams).

 
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Full of spot-on cultural texture and packing an emotional punch, this is an unusual take on the teen-pregnancy problem novel...Williams presents her experience in a way that demands not pity but respect while also reminding readers of Mari’s heartbreaking youth and innocence at unexpected times.
— Kirkus STARRED review

 

Available NOW!

 
 

WATER IN MAY Launch week

Monday, September 11 - Books of Wonder hosted the official launch for WATER IN MAY. It was standing room only - a wonderful way to welcome a book into the world!

The amazing display at Books of Wonder. Most of these are signed so head down to pick up your copy!

The amazing display at Books of Wonder. Most of these are signed so head down to pick up your copy!

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WATER IN MAY, the book journey...

Honored to address the crowd at this fantastic children's book store! Thank you Books of Wonder for hosting such a fabulous event!

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And there were COOKIES!

Because, really, who doesn't like cookies?

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September 12th! Book Birthday!

Look who I found at my local Barnes and Noble...

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Rowan says...

WOOF! Buy the book! Because my humom wrote it. *wags tail in an asymmetric circle*

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Praise

"Every once in a while, I read a story that’s truly special because it exposes the best of humanity in the worst and unfairest situations..." Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 1/2

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"A heartwarming tale about how one life can change and challenge others..."

Four starred review

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Best New Young Adult Books | September 2017

12 New Books for Teens

So honored to be included in this list alongside such notable (and bestselling) authors Marie Lu, Leigh Bardugo, Sarah J. Maas, Adam Silvera, E. Lockhart and others!

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WATER IN MAY is a September pick

of eye-catching arrivals!

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Book Giveaway!

Want to win a free copy of WATER IN MAY?

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Interview with Ismée

"Ismee, what was your inspiration for writing WATER IN MAY?"

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The insides of my white coat pockets are marked by the crayons I carry around with me.

"My goal as a writer is to create a story that will leave the reader feeling intense emotion."

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Required Reading: 11 Authors Share the Books They Want Taught in Schools

Required Reading: 11 Authors Share the Books They Want Taught in Schools

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  The medical world is both fascinating and high-stakes, which is probably why so many novelists are inspired by it. For Ismée Williams, who has worked as a pediatric cardiologist, writing about the medical world was only natural. In her new novel, Water in May, Williams tells the tale of a teenage girl who learns that her unborn child has a serious heart problem. Here, Williams writes about the challenges of balancing her novelist-self and her physician-self in the writing process. "Years ago, before I became a writer, I explained to a non-medical friend what I did at the hospital. My friend’s eyes grew round and her mouth dropped open as I told her I scanned pregnant bellies to check the fetus’s heart. “That must be so emotional!” she said when she recovered her voice, realizing that sometimes the tiny hearts aren’t normal."

 

The medical world is both fascinating and high-stakes, which is probably why so many novelists are inspired by it. For Ismée Williams, who has worked as a pediatric cardiologist, writing about the medical world was only natural. In her new novel, Water in May, Williams tells the tale of a teenage girl who learns that her unborn child has a serious heart problem. Here, Williams writes about the challenges of balancing her novelist-self and her physician-self in the writing process.

"Years ago, before I became a writer, I explained to a non-medical friend what I did at the hospital. My friend’s eyes grew round and her mouth dropped open as I told her I scanned pregnant bellies to check the fetus’s heart. “That must be so emotional!” she said when she recovered her voice, realizing that sometimes the tiny hearts aren’t normal."

Want to help?

Heart defects are the most common of all birth defects. Roughly 8 in 1000 babies born - that is around 40,000 babies each year in the USA - are born with structural problems in their heart. The term doctors use for these problems is Congenital (meaning you are born with it) Heart Disease - or CHD.

CHD comes in all forms. Every heart created is like a flower.

Significant advances have been made over the past twenty years in the field of pediatric cardiology. These include improvements in fetal detection (finding out about the heart problem during pregnancy so the parents and doctors know what to expect and do when the baby is born), newborn surgery and care (some babies cannot leave the hospital without a life-saving heart operation), causes of CHD (why the heart defect happens), and long-term support. Yet still, only 60% of babies born with the heart problem that Angelo and Amelia had will be expected to live long enough to celebrate their first birthday.

There are many organizations dedicated to supporting families affected by CHD as well as raising money for research for babies born with CHD. Here are a few located in the New York tri-state area:

http://www.matthewsheartsofhope.org/

http://colinskids.weebly.com/

A portion of the proceeds from WATER IN MAY will be dedicated to research to help babies like Angelo and Amelia.

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