Showing posts from June, 2010

A Chat with N. H. Senzai, Author of SHOOTING KABUL

Our windows and mirrors mantra here on the Fire Escape certainly holds true when it comes to SHOOTING KABUL (Simon and Schuster / Paula Wiseman Books, June 22, 2010).

N.H. Senzai's  middle-grade novel beautifully illuminates life in war-torn Afghanistan and evokes empathy for those who flee to our country for sanctuary. It's also a quick page-turner for kids who will connect with Fadi's efforts to help his family, handle a complicated older sister, win a dream prize, make friends, and deal with bullies.

The hero of SHOOTING KABUL starts life in the United States as a foreigner, but by the end of the book, young readers will be cheering for Fadi as a good friend.

Today I'm thrilled to host author Naheed Senzai, and invite you to sit back, pour yourself a cup of tea, and enjoy the conversation.

So, tell us, Naheed, where is "home" for you?
I know this will sound a little “cheesy,” but home really is where the heart is! I grew up traveling quite a bit—when I was t…

ALA 2010 Twitpic Gala Gallery

I invited people attending the American Library Association's Annual Convention in D.C. to stop by Charlesbridge's booth and be photographed with their own or any book they were excited about. These lovelies took me up on it:

Thanks, everybody! It was fun to meet old and new friends. If you spot yourself, could you leave a comment sharing the book's title and author? Track all my photos from ALA on twitter by searching for hashtag #ala10pic.

Summer Fun: New Harry Potter Trailer

You're Invited: ALA 2010 Twitpic Gala!

I'm going on a bit of a hiatus from the Fire Escape to write. Meanwhile, in a valiant effort to prevent loneliness—been there, done that—during my signing at the American Annual Library Association Convention in DC, I'm hosting an...

••••• ala 2010 twitpic gala! •••••
You're invited! Stop by and I'll post a photo of you on twitter holding *your* favorite ALA book (with hashtag #alatwitpic and your twitter handle). It could be your own hot-off-the-presses release or an oldie but a goodie. If you don't like photos of you, we'll snag a stranger to clutch it. And you don't even have to get a copy of Bamboo People, I promise.

So stop by, be twitpic-ed, schmooze, and say hello at Charlesbridge's Booth #2710 in the Exhibit Halls from 1-3 pm Sunday, June 27. RSVP below or just show up, hold up a book, and ask for the paparazzi.

Blog of Note: Bamboo People in the Blogger Limelight

Nineteen hours ago, I tweeted this:
Didn't I make my book website pretty with @blogger's new template design tools? http://bamboopeople.orgAbout an hour later, blogger (a Google affiliate which I use as a platform for this blog), obviously on twitter, graciously featured my book site as yesterday's "Blog of Note."

What is a blog of note, anyway? Here's the official description:
Blogs of Note ... waited for its moment, which finally came when an attempt to put a Blog Search box on the Blogger homepage went awry and ended up as Explore Blogs, an overly delightfully-animated look into the most interesting, most recent, and most random blogs on Blogger (plus a search box). Finally, Blogs of Note was given back its spotlight and — so as not to look stale and lame — we kicked it up a notch and started updating it more often, showing off a new noteworthy blog every day.  In the past five years, over seven hundred blogs have appeared on Blogs of Note (at least

Ms. Porter's Second Grade Library Class versus Barnes and Noble Bookstores

Eight-year-olds can be fierce Davidic champions. For example, second-graders in Concord were mad because they couldn't find my books in most of the chain stores in Massachusetts. I was cc'ed as this letter went out to Barnes and Noble last week, and reprint it here with permission. Thanks, Ms. Porter's class!

June 2nd, 2010

Barnes and Noble Inc
122 Fifth Ave
New York, NY 10011

Dear Madam or Sir,

Mitali Perkins is a very good author. We think other customers would like to read her books. We think many of your customers would like her style of writing. We highly recommend them because her writing is very good. Her books can teach life lessons.

For example, we read one of her books called Rickshaw Girl and we loved it. In Rickshaw Girl, Naima, who is the main character, lives in a time when girls are not allowed to work and she feels that that is not fair. Naima lives in a small poor village in Bangladesh and she can’t afford to go to school at the same time as her sister.

We think…


Quite a bit of Bollywood-esque celebratory jiggling going on in my study this morning, thanks to a starred review from Publishers Weekly for my forthcoming novel, Bamboo People. Here's a excerpt of the review:
"... Perkins seamlessly blends cultural, political, religious, and philosophical context into her story, which is distinguished by humor, astute insights into human nature, and memorable characters ... As Chiko and Tu Reh wrestle with prejudices of culture and class, Perkins delivers a graceful exploration of the redemptive power of love, family, and friendship under untenable circumstances."

Faces on Covers: Tanita vs. Me at Hunger Mountain

The new issue of Vermont College's journal, Hunger Mountain, features flipside pieces from author Tanita S. Davis and myself.

Tanita's essay, Reflected Faces, is eloquent and extremely convincing.

I'm not so sure about mine, Teens Do Judge A Book By The Cover, but our shared goal was to get people talking and thinking about the issue. Weigh in with your comments and responses — some good ones are there already.

And don't miss these two articles:
Is my Character “Black Enough”? by editor Stacy L. Whitman of Tu Publishing at Lee and Low.The Elephant in the Room by bookseller Elizabeth Bluemle at Publisher's Weekly.

My Speech and Slideshow at BookExpo America Children's Breakfast 2010

If you weren't there, BookExpo Cast has the 2010 Children's Breakfast at Book Expo America in entirety, including the other two speakers, Cory Doctorow and Richard Peck, and the Master of Ceremonies, Sarah Ferguson, but here's just my speech in two parts:

One note — they cut my white doves! Right after describing how angry I felt when I saw the grandson of the man who commandeered our ancestral property, I shared about how two white doves landed on the house. It was a clear symbol of forgiveness and peace that changed my heart, but somehow the video crew blipped through that redemptive moment. Oh, well. Here's the slideshow I showed:

Mitali Perkins' BEA Slide Show

First Reviews of BAMBOO PEOPLE

Here's a roundup of reviews of my forthcoming novel, Bamboo People, including this nice quote from Kirkus Reviews:
While Perkins doesn’t sugarcoat her subject—coming of age in a brutal, fascistic society—this is a gentle story with a lot of heart, suitable for younger readers than the subject matter might suggest. It answers the question, “What is it like to be a child soldier?” clearly, but with hope. For new visitors to the Fire Escape, the book releases July 1, and is a Junior Library Guild selection as well as a Summer 2010 Indie Next Pick. Hooray!

Save Five Lives For Burma

In Burma, $50 can save five lives — providing rice, a cooking pot, a machete, a lighter, and a plastic tarp to boys like Tu Reh, Chiko, and their families. 
After reading Bamboo People, if a classroom, scout troop, or book group wants to help, why not raise $50 through a bake sale, car wash, or other brilliant idea and send it to Partners World? After you raise the money and send it, write me ( and I'll list you here along with other groups who participate.

Children's and YA Books about Refugees and Resettlement Camps

Children around the world seek refuge because of war, famine, persecution, and other horrors. Others are waiting in or forced to move to resettlement camps. Thanks to librarian Analine Johnson of Rodolfo Centeno Elementary School in Laredo, Texas and the child_lit listserv, here's a list of books illuminating their experiences, past and present, categorized by grade levels:

Lower Elementary
How Many Days To America? by Eve BuntingSo Far From The Sea by Eve BuntingRebekkah's Journey by Ann BurgDia's Story Cloth by Dia ChaThe Lotus Seed by Sherry GarlandThe Roses In My Carpets by Rukhsana KhanChachaji's Cup by Uma KrishnaswamiThe Place Where Sunflowers Grow by Amy Lee-TaiZiba Came On A Boat by Liz LofthouseHome and Away by John MarsdenBaseball Saved Us by Ken MochizukiPassage To Freedom: The Sugihara Story by Ken MochizukiThe Silence Seeker by Ben MorleyHamzat's Journey by Anthony RobinsonAngel Child, Dragon Child by Michele Maria SuratThe Bracelet by Yoshiko UchidaFou…

Targeted Facebook Ads For Book Launches

With the release date of my forthcoming novel Bamboo People (Charlesbridge) only one month away, I've been tinkering with a Facebook ad that's showing some nice preliminary results. Here are a few steps in my virtual book launch using a combination of Facebook and Blogger:
Set up a site via blogger exclusively for the book and registered a domain name ( At the site, I provide an educator's guide generated by Charlesbridge, links to more about the situation in Burma, reviews, and options to purchase using Indiebound (gateway to independent bookstores) and GetGlue ("an innovative social recommendation network for movies, books, and music.")Installed a free hidden statcounter code to track hits to the site.Set up a page for Bamboo People on Facebook. Currently playing with an ad on Facebook with a $2/day limit, targeting people who live in the UK and the USA who "like" Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma, Burma Campaign UK, Daw Aung Aan Suu Kyi, Myanma…

BAMBOO PEOPLE at Reading is Fundamental

Carol H. Rasco, the CEO of Reading is Fundamental, graciously hosted me and my novel Bamboo People (Charlesbridge | July 1, 2010) on her blog for Memorial Day.

"I was transported to Burma and experienced the lives of two child soldiers and their families who are on opposite sides of the conflict there," Carol writes in her introduction to my post. "What an excellent book for all of us adults to read ourselves and then to discuss with children in the upper elementary grades, the target audience for the book."

Read my RIF guest post here.