Saturday, March 15, 2008

KABA Modern, JABBAWOCKEEZ, and FUSION STORIES

Anybody catch Randy Jackson's America's Best Dance Crew this week? The show is down to fifteen great dancers, including eleven Asian Americans who are rocking Planet MTV. This type of fusion hip makes the embarrassment of William Hung a distant memory -- in fact Asian American teens today can hardly remember that American Idol contestant.

Times are definitely changing. That's why, in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month this May 2008, ten of us are launching FUSION STORIES, a menu of delectable next-gen hot-off-the-press novels for middle readers and teens.

A wave of middle grade novels (ages 7-11) featuring Asian American protagonists is catching the attention of readers, teachers, librarians, and parents – and not just within multicultural circles. Children’s literature experts are calling Grace Lin’s Year of the Rat (sequel to the popular Year of the Dog) a “classic in the making” along the lines of Besty-Tacy. Janet Wong’s forthcoming novel Minn and Jake's Almost Terrible Summer explores the joys of vacation and friendship, with Jake divulging that he’s a “quarpa,” or one-quarter Korean. Winner of the Sid Fleischman humor award, author Lisa Yee makes kids (and adults) laugh out loud with bestselling stories like Millicent Min: Girl Genius and her newest title, Good Luck, Ivy. When it comes to books like these, as Newbery winner Linda Sue Park told author Cynthia Leitich Smith (Tantalize) during an on-line chat: “At last it seems we’re getting ready to go to stories where a person’s ethnicity is a part but not the sum of them.”

New releases for teens, too, aren’t mainly immigrant stories or traditional tales retold. These YA novels deal with universal themes such as a straight-A teen struggling with a cheating scandal at her school (She’s So Money by Cherry Cheva), a promising athlete coping with a snowboarding injury (Girl Overboard by Justina Chen Headley), and a Pakistani-born blogger whose father is about to become President (First Daughter: White House Rules by Mitali Perkins). An Na’s The Fold, a novel about a teen considering plastic surgery to change the shape of her eyelids, speaks to all who long to be beautiful, and art-loving teens far and wide will connect with Joyce Lee Wong’s novel-in-verse Seeing Emily. Paula Yoo, a one-time writer for People magazine and television hits like The West Wing, fuses her pop culture savvy and love of music in Good Enough, a novel about a violinist in rebellion. Her brother, David Yoo, connected with hormone-crazed nerds of every race in his funny novel Girls For Breakfast and is offering his fans the forthcoming Stop Me if You've Heard This One Before.

FUSION STORIES aims to be a helpful resource for parents, educators, and young readers, so if you know of a novel that (1) is for middle readers or teens, (2) was published in 2007-2008 by a traditional publishing house, (3) features an Asian American protagonist, and (4) is set primarily in contemporary America, please send a .jpg of the cover, a .jpg of the author, one or two reviews, and a brief description of the novel to press@fusionstories.com. We at FUSION STORIES would be delighted to add titles and authors to the site.

A press kit package (available at FUSION STORIES, www.fusionstories.com) includes downloads, bios of FUSION STORIES authors, information on the books, and a few conversations with experts about Asian American literature for young readers. For more information, review copies, or interview requests with any of the authors, please contact press@fusionstories.com.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Its _11_ Asian Americans. Six on Kaba Modern and five on the JabbaWockeeZ.

Mitali Perkins said...

correct. old brain. bad math. all fixed. thanks.

theyayayas said...

Ooh, looks good.

Trisha

Anonymous said...

GO barack obama

alvina said...

I've been kind of obsessed with BEST DANCE CREW and am totally pulling for KABA Modern. They're awesome.

Mitali Perkins said...

We're big Kaba Modern fans in our house, too.

Cloudscome said...

Thanks for the heads up. I am looking forward to this!

yoggya said...

is there anyway that you can tell me where to purchase the bok called: Na's The Fold?

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