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Showing posts from April, 2010

I'm Over The Rainbow ...

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...where dreams really do come true:


Emily of Deep Valley releases 10/12/10 from HarperPerennial, along with this gorgeous re-issue of Carney's House Party and Winona's Pony Cart, with foreword by Melissa Wiley:

2010 Jane Addams Book Awards

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The Jane Addams Peace Association announced the winners of the 2010 Jane Addams Children's Book Awards today, and I'm delighted to introduce them on the Fire Escape:

Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan, written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter, Beach Lane Books, an imprint of Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing, is the winner in the Books for Younger Children Category.

Nasreen’s parents are gone, her father taken one night by soldiers, her mother lost on her search to find him. Now living with only her grandmother, Nasreen stays inside herself, silent with trauma. Whispers about a forbidden school reach her grandmother who, with stealth, bravery and hope, brings Nasreen to the secret school hidden in the home of an equally-brave woman, a teacher of girls. Framed stylized paintings in hues that symbolically reflect the path of Nasreen’s healing extend the story told in the plain, heartfelt voice of her grandmother. The power of education and resist…

Celebrating Girl Power on SECRET KEEPER's Paperback Release Day

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Kirkus reviews captured my hope for my novel SECRET KEEPER (Random House): "Asha’s struggles will enlighten and inspire young women, and encourage them to value their own freedom."

In honor of SECRET KEEPER's paperback release, I'm turning over today's twitter stream to feature tweets from charities that empower girls. Track the tweets via hashtag #StrongGirls.

NEW! Book Club Discussion Guide and Teacher Discussion Guide (.doc file)
Paperback classroom copy sets available from Random House. Order personalized copies for 7 bucks or so from my local indie, and I'll trot down the hill to sign them before shipping.Call 617-244-6619, or email Newtonville Books with your request. The book, of course, is also available for order via other booksellers.

My Bollywoodish Book Cover

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HarperCollins India is releasing my First Daughter books next month, beginning with the first, and editor Pradipta Sarkar sent me the new cover. Here's the India version, followed by the American original. What do you guys think?


What's Your Vision Statement?

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Last weekend at the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators conference in Seattle, I tried to show how a vision statement can sustain us through turbulent times in the industry. Here's mine, created five years ago:
To create and celebrate good stories,
especially about children and teens in the margins of life.
I also created a visual picture by brainstorming words with a wordle:


If you don't have a vision statement yet for your vocation, here are some prompts to get you started creating your own:
Describe two pivotal events in your life (one before age 20).Name two things you LOVE to do with your time other than writing or reading.Complete this eulogy: “S/he would have done ANYTHING to help …”What's your vision statement? If you'd like, leave it in the comments along with a link to your website or blog. You don't have to be a writer, and it doesn't have to be brilliant or perfect—just something you use as a guide in the world of books.

Wheeee! Here I go!

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I'll be sporadic in posting the next few weeks as I'll be in four different states. Here's my schedule:
4/9: Alderwood Middle School, Lynwood, WA 4/10-11: SCBWI WWA Regional Conference, Seattle, WA 4/16: Proctor School, Topsfield, MA 4/20: South Hillsborough Elementary School, Hillsborough, CA 4/26: International Reading Assocation Conference, Chicago, IL 4/27: SECRET KEEPER paperback release I'll be sending photos and blips via Twitter if you follow me there. Also, to celebrate the paperback release of Secret Keeper (which, to my amazement and delight, was just shortlisted for the Massachusetts Book Award), I'm dedicating my twitter stream to the re-tweeting of posts by ten organizations that empower girls.

Hope to see some of you in real life over the next couple of weeks!

A List of YA Novels that Battle Bullying

Here's a list of 35 classic and current YA novels recommended in response to yesterday's call for books about bullying in school, alphabetized by author last name. Scroll down to find out more about the titles in the widget below the list. As always, feel free to add more suggestions in the comments.
The Sweetheart of Prosper County by Jill AlexanderSpeak by Laurie Halse Anderson13 Reasons Why by Jay AsherNames Will Never Hurt Me by Jaimie AdoffThe Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin by Josh BerkBlubber by Judy BlumeHate List by Jennifer BrownThe Truth about the Truman School by Dori Hillestand ButlerGetting Revenge on Lauren Wood by Eileen CookThe Chocolate War by Robert CormierJust Listen by Sarah DessenThis Is What I Did by Ann Lee EllisThe Skin I'm In by Sharon FlakeShattering Glass by Gail GilesSticks and Stones by Beth GoobieNailed by Patrick JonesGirl on the Other Side by Deborah KerbelStuck on Earth by David KlassLessons from a Dead Girl by Jo KnowlesSchooled by Gordan Ko…

Teen Bullying, Adult Hypocrisy, and Seeking Books that Slam Slander

"Bullying is so much worse now than when I was a kid."

"Must be because of the internet and cellphones."

I overhear parking lot conversations like these between parents, and my blood boils a bit. I don't like adult hypocrisy when we talk about teen culture. Yes, gossip and slander are endemic and brutal in high school, but it's no surprise given that our entire culture seems to bond by trash-talking and celebrity-bashing. There's something in us that relishes tearing down as a way to gain power. And that old saw about sticks and stones stinks, because words are so powerful they can make you want to break your own bones.

I'm being asked to emphasize this problem during author visits here in Massachusetts thanks to a recent tragedy in our state and my own experiences in school. In order to stand before students with any measure of integrity, I have to start by searching my own habits:  Do I tear someone down—be they celebrity, cousin, or colleague—in …

Good Friday For The Foreigner: A Poem

"So they decided to use the money to buy the potter's field as a burial place for foreigners." (Source: The Gospel According to Matthew)
Good Friday For The Foreigner by Mitali Perkins
The news spreads through our tents and shacks like birdsong: We have some soil.
It’s strewn with shards of ceramic, broken bits of pots and cups, clay of no use or value. I’ll pick them up, clean the ground with my hands, and make a holy place. I’ll water the dirt with my tears.
Who paid for it?
The piles of bodies had grown, the stench, disease adding more to the heap. We begged, we cried, we pleaded: We die, too. We are not just passing through. No word. A civic silence.
Who spoke for us?
The coins were stained with blood, we're told. They were useless, too, like the clay, like the dead. Now our bones, blood, and flesh will mingle with theirs under the ground. An inheritance for our beloved. I weep, and bury, and kneel, and whisper my thanks to the Unknown.

Originally published on Mita…