Christine Kendall

“Christine Kendall has woven an empowering tale with a fresh voice that jumps off the page. The True Definition of Neva Beane is about the love of community, and serves as a great reminder to young readers that they have the power to make change.”—Kacen Callender, National Book Award winning author of King and the Dragonflies.

"Buckle up as Neva Beane takes readers on a thrill ride through the twists and turns of adolescence. Christine Kendall has delivered an inter-generational story woven with humor, heart, hope—and the power of self discovery.”—Lesa Cline Ransome, Coretta Scott King Honor winning author of Finding Langston

“A quietly affecting portrait of an aspiring activist logophile as a Black Philly girl.”Kirkus Reviews

Being twelve isn't easy, especially when you're Neva Beane. Neva feels beautiful wearing her new bra, but she's confused by how others respond to the changes taking place in and out of her body. Her best friend, Jamila, is getting all the attention. Her brother, Clayton, is becoming an activist. And Mom and Dad are gone working-again. Grandad and Nana aren't much help, either, with their old ways and backward views.

Neva struggles to find her place in a world that, like the political landscape that's always shifting around her in her West Philadelphia neighborhood, is uncertain, at times scary, but most always, filled with unanswered questions. Neva is left with what comforts her most-words and their meanings, which she chronicles herself. While the pages of her beloved dictionary reveal truths about what's happening around her, Neva must discover the best way to define herself. In this wholly original story by the author of the NAACP Image Award nominee Riding Chance, a girl finds her voice in unexpected ways.

RIDING CHANCE (Scholastic, 2016) 

The Crossover meets War Horse in this novel about an urban kid's redemption through the grit of polo. Take a ride on this hero's journey amid city streets and an uncertain future.

Troy is a kid with a passion. And dreams. And wanting to do the right thing. But after taking a wrong turn, he's forced to endure something that's worse than any juvenile detention he can imagine-he's "sentenced" to the local city stables where he's made to take care of horses. The greatest punishment has been trying to make sense of things since his mom died but, through his work with the horses, he discovers a sport totally unknown to him -- polo. Troy has to figure out which friends have his back, which kids to cut loose, and whether he and Alisha have a true connection. Laced with humor and beating with heartache, this novel will grip readers, pull them in quickly, and take them on an unforgettable ride. Set in present day Christine Kendall's stunning debut lets us come face-to-face with the challenges of a loving family that turn hardships into triumphs.

"A thoughtful and necessary glance into a difficult world."--Booklist

"A stirring look into the life of a young man finding passion, inspiration, and direction."--Publishers Weekly

"Boys at risk and polo ponies? Christine Kendall has made me a believer and a cheerleader in her promising debut of navigating trust and necessary armor."--Rita Williams-Garcia, author of the Coretta Scott King Award-winning Gone Crazy in Alabama and Newbery Honor-winning One Crazy Summer

"A heart-warming tale of redemption and second chances, as seen through the eyes of a teen surrounded by love and determined to press on, no matter what."--Sharon G. Flake, Coretta Scott King Award-winning author of The Skin I'm In and Bang!


Christine Kendall is the author of The True Definition of Neva Beane as well as the award-winning novel Riding Chance, which was nominated for a NAACP Image Award in the category of Outstanding Work for Youth/Teens. Her short fiction has appeared in numerous publications and she serves as a juror for the New York City Book Awards. Christine lives in Philadelphia where she co-curates and hosts the Creative at the Cannery Prose Reading Series.