Fire Escape 2006 Writing Contest Closed

The deadline for submitting poem and short stories to the Fire Escape's annual teen writing contests was yesterday (I got several breathless last-minute midnight entries). I'm looking forward to reading and judging all the wonderful entries and awarding the prizes. Thanks to all who submitted; the 2007 contest will be accepting entries starting 9/1/06.


Fernando Pinto said…
I’m making a post-graduation in Educational Sciences in Lisbon, in the Faculdade de Psicologia e Ciências da Educação. Next Thursday, I’ll give a lesson about Intercultural Education. The trig will be your text, Magic Carpet.
What do you think it will be important to say to my fellows, school teaches as I am, dealing with a very significant improving number of immigrants in our classes?
Thank you for your writings. I become deeply touched, again and again, reading the Magic Carpet, which I translated to Portuguese.
Mitali Perkins said…
Thank you so much for your kind note, Fernando. It's lovely to think that my essay on losing a language is being translated into another language.

Teachers and librarians play a huge role in helping immigrant kids who feel like their parents can't help them excel or even survive in this new culture. Your sensitivity, hospitality, and kindness will make a difference, as well as the sharing of good books to help them keep their balance. I encourage educators to offer stories that affirm immigrants' cultures of origin without tokenizing and/or exoticising, stories that help them understand and navigate life in their new home, and stories that transcend culture by resonating with our shared human experience.

I'll be thinking of you on Thursday; please let me know if I can help in any other way.

Fernando Pinto said…
Mitali, thank you very much for your so prompt answer!
It’s so important what you wrote to me! You can’t imagine how I would like to express myself in my own language, so I could give you the real meanings and expressions of what I think and what I feel. “My pen, however, like his own halting translation, is unable to soar with them”, you say in Magic Carpet.
I like very much to write about my experience as an educator. Perhaps one day I’ll be able to send you one or two little stories well translated.
If you permit me, I’ll read your answer to the group of teachers next Thursday. Can I?
But I’m having a problem with the translation of the expression “without tokenizing”. And that expression is crucial in your note. Could you help me to clearly understand it?
I’ll send you news after the lesson I’m preparing. I’m trying it can have something magic. I’m certain it will! Thank you very much!
By the way, I think a reasonable translation of the title of my blog is “Becoming a person, step by step”.
Mitali Perkins said…
I like the title of your blog, and I'll be delighted to read your stories. Your bilingual skills are to be admired! Yes, you may read my answer, and please send my greetings to your audience. When I say "tokenizing," I mean putting a character of a different race in a story to make it seem like you care about diversity just for the sake of being "multicultural." The writer doesn't care about the character, and the readers don't really get to know much more about the character except that he/she is "different." Hazel Rochman has a great article in the Horn Book about how the best writing about immigrants is PERSONAL. I know all will go well on Thursday.

Peace be with you,