"Ought to be required reading at schools everywhere.”—E.R. Frank, author of the acclaimed America, which inspired the Lifetime movie.
2011 "Top Forty" list for Young Adults in
the Pennsylvania School Library Association
The American Library Association’s 2011 Quick Picks List for Reluctant Young Adult Readers (12-18)
The Kansas National Education Association (NEA) recommended 2011 reading-list for Junior/Middle High Schools
An American Library Association 2011 Quick Pick for Young Adults (12-18), NBC, ABC, and more have showcased Secret Saturdays (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, a division of the Penguin Group). This unforgettable tale of friendship and tough choices is told through the changing relationship of Sean and Justin—both half Black and half Puerto Rican adolescent best friends (note: how they deal with being bi-racial is an important element of the novel). They live in the dangerous neighborhood of Red Hook Projects in Brooklyn, New York. Soon changes appear in Sean: his grades slip and he acts up. It all revolves around a Saturday-secret he keeps. What’s his deal? How does his best friend handle his lies and his acting strange?
Maldonado, a veteran New York City public school teacher, was saved by writing and education as a boy going down the wrong path. In 1992, his elementary school principal (Patrick Daly) was shot in the chest and killed in Red Hook (the setting of Secret Saturdays) by someone Maldonado hung out with as a kid.
The first person in his immediate family to go to college, Maldonado graduated Vassar to train teachers and administrators to run conflict resolution programs. Now, he teaches and pens novels to hook kids to books and to develop our young into leaders.
Maldonado has won praise by book experts for the authenticity of his voice, and perhaps the biggest testament to this Breakthrough New York alum and SBAN member's impact is how his book resonates with a range of adults to pre-teens. Colleges have assigned it as required-reading in Education Departments and on amazon.com one middle school Literacy teacher says Secret Saturdays is the most popular book during independent reading time.
"Choices lead to consequences, a lot influences the choices youth make, and youth can choose to follow their own path and be their best selves. That's the central message of Secret Saturdays and SBAN and I’m thrilled to have SBAN feature my novel.”