Showing posts from July, 2010

Chiang Mai, Here I Come!

We're heading back to Chiang Mai, Thailand for a wedding (thank you, frequent flyer miles!) and to visit friends. I also plan to deliver copies of Bamboo People to those I acknowledge in the novel. Might try to vlog a bit, but we'll see. Enjoy the first half of August. I'll be back on the Fire Escape before my book launch party. Peace be with you.

Thanks, But It's Not Historical Fiction

One of the problems with gargantuan, impersonal booksellers is that the person who classified a novel hasn't usually read it., for example, put my novel BAMBOO PEOPLE in this category: "Books > Teens > History & Historical Fiction > Historical Fiction." Meanwhile, the product description says, "This coming-of-age novel takes place against the political and military backdrop of modern-day Burma."

It's a small but strange mistake.

And the behemoth isn't alone. I've noticed this mis-classification popping up on other sites and in some blog tags. You hate to quibble when you're grateful for the mention, but why are people describing the novel as historical fiction when it's set in contemporary times? Am I missing something?

I posed this question on Twitter yesterday, and here are some of the answers that came in response:
@Suzigurl: Maybe b/c there are so few books like Bamboo People that folks don't know what to ca…

You've Been Berry Berry Good To Bamboo People!

When you write a book that isn't a gothic-zombie-romantic-thriller-optioned-for-a-movie-before-pub-date kind of novel, you count on many, many advocates to spread the news so that young people can discover your story. That's why I'm eternally grateful to the bloggers and reviewers who have recommended Bamboo People (Charlesbridge, July 2010). Feel free to click like crazy on the links to read the reviews:

Aaron's Books 
A Chair, A Fireplace, A Tea Cozy
A Foodie Bibliophile in Wanderlust
A Year of Reading
Albany Times-Union
Amy Reads
Asian Review of Books
Becky's Book Reviews
Bermuda Onion
Blue Bunny Bookstore
BookExpo America
Booking Mama
Book Moot
Book Page
Bookselling This Week
Boston Globe
Boston Globe | Your Town
Brookfield Public Library
Bruce Wishart
Brown Paper
Café Saturday
Caribous Mom
Check it Out
Explore Dance
Foreword Reviews
Good Books and Good Wine
Helen's Book Blog
Hip Writer Mama
Kids Momo
Librarian by Day
Media Macaroni
Menasha Public Library
Multiculturalism Rock…

A Chat with Holly Cupala, author of TELL ME A SECRET

It's a joy to discover a YA novel in which an author has introduced a diversity of characters thoughtfully and proactively. TELL ME A SECRET (HarperCollins)—a tenderly told bildungsroman about forgiveness in a Seattle family defined by secrets and grief—fits the bill.

Today I'm delighted to host the author of this brilliant debut novel, readergirlz diva and superb storyteller Holly Cupala, on her whirlwind blog tour.

Namaste, Holly! So glad to have you here on the Fire Escape! Let's start with the journey of getting the novel published. What was a high point? A low point?
There have been many high points along the way—just being on the shelf after a long journey is a miracle in itself, and meeting so many lovely people along the way. A low point…probably how very, very hard I was on myself through the writing process. I even created a separate document in which to pour all of the scathing thoughts I had. I wouldn’t dare open it now, like Pandora’s Box. The SCBWI Work-In-P…

How Should We Write Across Cultures?

Here's a great mission statement:
Imagine. Envision. Write. Revise. Submit. YARN publishes outstanding original short fiction, poetry, and essays for Young Adult readers, written by the writers you know and love, as well as fresh new voices ... including teens.That's the purpose of Young Adult Review Network, also known as YARN. The site editors recently asked me to contribute an original short story and also posed three interesting questions during a brief Q and A. Here's one of them, along with my answer:

YARN: What advice might you give young people who are considering writing across the lines of culture?
MP: If you’re an “outsider” to the culture, do your homework. Listen, do research, love someone deeply who belongs to that culture. Let it be read by people of a different class and/or culture than yours and receive their critique. Consider whether the story wouldn’t be better served if written by an “insider,” and have the grace to let it go. Or to wait on it.
The …

A Chat with Christina Gonzalez, Author of THE RED UMBRELLA

I love historical fiction when both words are handled excellently by an author, don't you?

I've been lounging in the garden this summer, making my way slowly but surely through a pile of books. But time didn't plod as I read Christina Gonzalez' THE RED UMBRELLA (Knopf Books for Young Readers) — it flew as I turned page after page without stopping.

This tender, intimate look at one family's separation is a superb way to learn about Operation Pedro Pan and the Castro revolution in Cuba. Between 1960 and 1962, with the help of the  the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Miami, over 14,000 children from Cuba were sent by parents who opposed the revolutionary government. These children were placed with friends, relatives and group homes in 35 states.

The first half of the novel is set in Cuba, and provides an incredible firsthand look at how a young person's life can change drastically and quickly under a repressive government. Everything is at risk as the danger buil…

What Should Mitali Write Next?

For the first time in years, I'm not writing under contract. It's an exciting, creative space. I'm planning my writing time for the coming year, and I need your help. I've got four unwritten projects on my mind. Which one should I tackle first?
YA Bollywood-esque action novel with a funny guy hero. Theme: international adoption and power.
Short novel for elementary-aged readers set in Nepal about wells, water, and arsenic. Theme: do good well (no pun intended.)
Picture book fairy tale featuring a South Asian boy prince and his love for Bengal Tigers. Theme: overconsumption versus conservation.
YA novel sequel to SECRET KEEPER set in the 1990s featuring Reet's daughter. Theme: following your bliss and battling college pressure.
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You're Invited: Boston Book Launch Party

Taking a two-week break from blogging to visit my parents, so I'll leave you with this invitation to come to my book launch party for Bamboo People on August 19, 2010 at 7:00 p.m., Porter Square Books, Cambridge, Ma. Bring friends to enjoy the Burmese appetizers; everybody's welcome! RSVP here or by email.


It started as a picture book, and after 10+ years of revisions and rejections, my novelBamboo People launches today. Thanks to everybody who had a hand in it. I pray it sheds light on the young people forced to fight in Burma as well as on the Karenni refugees forced to flee that country. Many now live along the Thai-Burma border in camps and are beginning to come to the United States. In honor of them and those who advocate for them, I'll be tweeting links from great organizations all day. Check out #bamboopeople to track them.

And if you're in the Boston area, join us for an 8/19 Launch Party at Porter Square Books!

"A graceful exploration of the redemptive power of love, family, and friendship." —★ Publishers Weekly Starred Review

Junior Library Guild Selection Summer 2010 Indie Next Pick
Nominated for ALA's Best Fiction for Young Adults Published by Charlesbridge

Chiko isn’t a fighter by nature. He’s a book-loving Burmese boy whose father, a doctor, is in pr…