Amber McBride

Poet & Young Adult Novelist
National Book Award Finalist
Travels from: Charlottesville, VA

“This searing debut novel-in-verse is told from the perspective of Moth, a Black teen whose life changed forever the day a car crash killed her family. … Each free verse poem is tightly composed, leading into the next for a poignant and richly layered narrative. The story builds softly and subtly to a perfect, bittersweet ending.”—School Library Journal, starred review

Amber McBride is currently a professor at the University of Virginia. She received her BA in English from James Madison University in 2010 and acquired her MFA in Poetry from Emerson College in 2012. She has also taught English Composition, English Literature and Poetry Composition at James Madison University, Strayer University and Northern Virginia Community College.

Amber is the former media assistant at The Furious Flower Poetry Center where she worked putting together programs and readings to honor African American poets and writers including Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison and Nikki Giovanni.

Her debut YA novel-in-verse, Me (Moth), is about a teen girl who is grieving the deaths of her family, and a teen boy who crosses her path. It’s an exquisite and uplifting novel about identity, first love, and the ways that our memories and our roots steer us through the universe.

Amber is also a poet. Her poetry has appeared in various literary magazines including Ploughshares, Provincetown Arts, DecomP, The Cincinnati Review, The Rumpus and others. Originally from everywhere, Amber was born in Heidelberg, Germany and spent the first 18 years of her life living in several different states. She moved to the Charlottesville area in 2018 and loves calling Albemarle County home.

Amber’s Authors Out Loud Profile: 

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Me (Moth)

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A debut YA novel-in-verse by Amber McBride, Me (Moth) is about a teen girl who is grieving the deaths of her family, and a teen boy who crosses her path.

Moth has lost her family in an accident. Though she lives with her aunt, she feels alone and uprooted.

Until she meets Sani, a boy who is also searching for his roots. If he knows more about where he comes from, maybe he’ll be able to understand his ongoing depression. And if Moth can help him feel grounded, then perhaps she too will discover the history she carries in her bones.

Moth and Sani take a road trip that has them chasing ghosts and searching for ancestors. The way each moves forward is surprising, powerful, and unforgettable.

Here is an exquisite and uplifting novel about identity, first love, and the ways that our memories and our roots steer us through the universe.

The Art of Protest in Literature & Music

Asking the questions that help us dive into the world of protest

The Novel vs The Novel in Verse

Differences and similarities in approaches

Hoodoo in Black Culture and Literature

The misunderstood system of folk magic in African American novels

Authentic Voice

Amber will discuss ways to let young people find their own voices and move away from the idea that there is one way to write well.

Me (Moth)

This serves as a brief introduction to looking critically at novels in verse. Many students have read individual poems, but have not seen a collection of poems woven together to create a narrative. Novels in verse have character development, plot, rising and falling action—just like many novels. Amber will help guide readers through Me (Moth) and encourage students to look at theme, setting and literary devices that help the novel move forward.
Furthermore Me (Moth) focuses on diversity, identity and many difficulties that teens, specifically marginalized teens, face. It is an excellent tool to open discussions about diversity and the importance of inclusivity in the classroom.

Poetry is Magic

Everyone can write poetry! Amber discusses different forms of poetry from spoken word to hip hop, as well as “literary” poems, and then novels in verse. She introduces various devices to help you write, and uses writing prompts to help students write their own poetry.

Let’s Write Poems: Poetry Workshop

Participants will practice writing and sharing their poetry with others. This is a two hour workshop and is most helpful when participants come with a poem idea!

Epic Playlist

Lyrics are often poetry and in Me (Moth), there is a playlist included at the back of the novel. We will talk about our favorite songs, create a playlist, then write songs of our own!

Hoodoo and Rootwork

This is an introduction to African American Folk Magic.

Amber’s Blog

Amber’s Sensitivity Reading Rates

Resources for Educators

Honors, Awards & Recognition

2022 Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent Author
A 2022 William C. Morris YA Debut Award Finalist
Finalist for 2021 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature
Indies Introduce Title, Summer/Fall 2021
Indies Next Pick, July/August 2021
Booklist Top 10 Youth Books of 2021
Book Page Best Young Adult Books of 2021
Goodreads Choice 2021 Poetry Nominee
A BookPage Best Book of 2021
A Best Book of 2021, Shelf Awareness
An NPR Best Book of the Year, 2021
A School Library Journal Best Book of 2021
A Time Magazine Best Children’s Book of 2021
People magazine’s Best Children’s Books of 2021

Media Kit

By clicking the link below your will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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