“Thank you so much for working with our seventh graders yesterday. Your passion for writing and enthusiasm for their ideas really engaged the students and inspired them to write.” — Jillian Wasick, Program Manager

Marina Budhos is an author of several award-winning books of fiction and nonfiction. Her newest young adult novel, We Are All We Have, follows Rania, a teenage asylum seeker whose dreams are shattered, and she takes to the open road, seeking sanctuary, love, and the truth behind family secrets.

Prior to that she published The Long Ride, about three mixed race girls during a 1970s integration struggle; Watched, which takes on surveillance in a post 9/11 era, and received an Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature YA Honor (APALA) and an Honor for The Walter Award (We Need Diverse Books); Tell Us We’re HomeAsk Me No Questions, recipient of the first James Cook Teen Book Award, an ALA Best Book and Chicago Library’s Best of the Best, The Professor of Light and House of Waiting,

Marina also published nonfiction, including Eyes of the World: Robert Capa & Gerda Taro & The Invention of Modern Photojournalism co-authored with husband Marc Aronson, about a photography couple that took powerful images of the Spanish Civil War and helped give birth to bearing witness through photography. Eyes of the World was a 2017 YALSA Finalist in Nonfiction. Their previous book, Sugar Changed the World: A Story of Magic, Spice, Slavery, Freedom & Science, was a 2010 Los Angeles Times Book Award Finalist and a YALSA Finalist in Nonfiction, and Remix: Conversations with Immigrant Teenagers.

Marina Budhos has been a Fulbright Scholar to India, received an NEA Literature Fellowship, a Rona Jaffe Award for Women Writers, and three Fellowships from the New Jersey Council on the Arts. She frequently gives talks throughout the country and abroad.

Marina’s Authors Out Loud Profile: 

We Are All We Have

Wendy Lamb Books |
Young Adult Fiction

When a teenage girl’s single mom is taken by ICE, everything changes—all of her hopes and dreams for the future have turned into survival.

Seventeen-year-old Rania is shaken awake in her family’s apartment in Brooklyn. ICE is at the door, taking her mother away. But Ammi has done everything right, hasn’t she? Their asylum case is fine.
This was supposed to be Rania’s greatest summer: hanging out with her best friend, Fatima, and getting ready for college in the fall.
But it’s 2019, and nothing is certain.
Now, along with her younger brother, Kamal, and a new friend, Carlos, Rania must figure out how to survive. A road trip leads to searching for answers to questions she didn’t even think to ask.
In this vivid exploration of what happens when the country you have put your hopes into is fast shutting down, award-winning author Marina Budhos shows us how one girl bursting with dreams navigates secrets, love, and the lure of the open road.

The Long Ride

Wendy Lamb Books |
Young Adult Fiction

In the tumult of 1970s New York City, seventh graders are bussed from their neighborhood in Queens to integrate a new school in South Jamaica.

Jamila Clarke. Josie Rivera. Francesca George. Three mixed-race girls, close friends whose immigrant parents worked hard to settle their families in a neighborhood with the best schools. The three girls are outsiders there, but they have each other.

Now, at the start seventh grade, they are told they will be part of an experiment, taking a long bus ride to a brand-new school built to “mix up the black and white kids.” Their parents don’t want them to be experiments. Francesca’s send her to a private school, leaving Jamila and Josie to take the bus ride without her.

While Francesca is testing her limits, Josie and Jamila find themselves outsiders again at the new school. As the year goes on, the Spanish girls welcome Josie, while Jamila develops a tender friendship with a boy–but it’s a relationship that can exist only at school.


Ember |
Young Adult Fiction

An extraordinary and timely novel, a Walter Dean Myers Award Honor Book, examines what it’s like to grow up under surveillance in America. 

Be careful what you say and who you say it to. Anyone might be a watcher.

Naeem is a Bangledeshi teenager living in Queens who thinks he can charm his way through anything. But then mistakes catch up with him. So do the cops, who offer him an impossible choice: spy on his Muslim neighbors and report back to them on shady goings-on, or face a police record. Naeem wants to be a hero—a protector. He wants his parents to be proud of him. But as time goes on, the line between informing and entrapping blurs. Is he saving or betraying his community?

Inspired by actual surveillance practices in New York City and elsewhere, Marina Budhos’s extraordinary and timely novel examines what it’s like to grow up with Big Brother always watching. Naeem’s riveting story is as vivid and involving as today’s headlines.

Walter Dean Myers Award Honor Book, We Need Diverse Books
Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature Honor Book
YALSA Best YA Fiction for Young Adults

Sugar Changed the World

Clarion Books |
Research Based Nonfiction

When this award-winning husband-and-wife team discovered that they each had sugar in their family history, they were inspired to trace the globe-spanning story of the sweet substance and to seek out the voices of those who led bitter sugar lives. The trail ran like a bright band from religious ceremonies in India to Europe’s Middle Ages, then on to Columbus, who brought the first cane cuttings to the Americas. Sugar was the substance that drove the bloody slave trade and caused the loss of countless lives but it also planted the seeds of revolution that led to freedom in the American colonies, Haiti, and France. With songs, oral histories, maps, and over 80 archival illustrations, here is the story of how one product allows us to see the grand currents of world history in new ways. Time line, source notes, bibliography, index.

Ask Me No Questions

Antheneum Books for Young Readers |
Young Adult Fiction

A Muslim immigrant teen struggles to hold her family together in the wake of 9/11 in this poignant novel from acclaimed author Marina Budhos.

You forget. You forget you don’t really exist here, that this isn’t your home.

Since emigrating from Bangladesh, fourteen-year-old Nadira and her family have been living in New York City on expired visas, hoping to realize their dream of becoming legal US citizens. But after 9/11, everything changes. Suddenly being Muslim means you are dangerous, a suspected terrorist.

When Nadira’s father is arrested and detained at the US-Canada border, Nadira and her older sister, Aisha, are told to carry on as if everything is the same. The teachers at Flushing High don’t ask any questions, but Aisha falls apart. Nothing matters to her anymore—not even college.

It’s up to Nadira to be the strong one and bring her family back together again.


AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islanders) Heritage

  • Post 9/11 & Its Impact on Asian Americans (middle school-high school)
  • Forever Foreigners: Asian Americans in the U.S. (high school)
  • Learning about AAPI History Through Poetry & Song (4th grade-12th)

Black History Month/Civil Rights

  • School Integration: Then & Now (middle grade)
  • How Sugar Changed the World: Global History of Slavery (middle grade-high school/AP World History)

European/World History/Media Studies

  • The Spanish Civil War: Resistance, Art & Fascism: Robert Capa & Gerda Taro (high school)

Professional Development & General Talks

  • Healing the Rift: Books & Empathy in a Divided Nation
  • What Is vs. What If: Connecting Social Studies & Literature
  • Radical Empathy: The Power of Diverse Literature in the Classroom
  • Reader’s Theater: Using Performance to Open Books (in collaboration with Luna Stage)
  • Immigration, Surveillance, Integration, Class: Taking on Big Issues for Young Reader
  • Sharing Across Generations: Adult & Young Adult Book Conversations

Author Book Talks

  • Coming of Age in a Post 9/11 World: Ask Me No Questions, Watched, We Are All We Have  (YA)
  • Mixed Race in a Time of Change: The Long Ride (middle grade-YA)
  • Belonging,  Friendship, & Class: Tell Us We’re Home (middle grade-YA)
  • The Refugee Eye: Eyes of the World: Robert Capa, Gerda Taro & The Invention of Modern Photojournalism (YA)
  • 5,000 Years of History Through One Substance: Sugar Changed the World:  A Story of Magic, Spice, Slavery, Freedom & Science (YA)

Writing Workshops

  • Stay the Course: A Novel-Writing Workshop
  • Breaking out of Boxes: Writing Multicultural, Multiracial Characters
  • Research and Story-Making in Fiction & Nonfiction
  • Speak up, Speak Out: Writing from a Place of Passion
  • I’m Not So Young So How Do I Write Young?

Greenlight Bookstore | Marina Budhos & Tanuja Desai Hidier

Exploring Race, Class and School Integration with The Long Ride, SLJ Classroom Bookshelf, by Mary Ann Cappiello

Teacher’s Guide for Sugar Changed the World

Tell Us We’re Home: Mother-Daughter Book Club Discussion Guide

Teacher’s Guide for Eyes of the World aligned to Common Core standards

Teacher’s Guide for Tell Us We’re Home – Questions, Activities, Text Connections & Paired Readings

Free lesson plan using Remix: Conversations with Immigrant Teenagers on Second Generation Stories

Honors, Awards & Recognition

National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship
Asian-Pacific American Award for Literature
Walter Dean Myers Award Winner
Fulbright Scholar
James Cook Teen Book Award
ALA Best Book
Chicago Library’s Best of the Best

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.

Similar Authors

Bestselling Young Adult Novelist
Indigenous Kid-Lit Novelist
Young Adult Novelist


Bestselling Young Adult Novelist
Award Winning YA Graphic Novelist

Interested in hosting this author?
Send us a message and an A|U Agent will return to you ASAP!