Showing posts from January, 2011

MARE'S WAR Makeover: Do You Love It?

Mia Cabana, astute young adult librarian and YALSA blogger, shares the new paperback cover for Tanita S. Davis' award-winning novel, MARE'S WAR, anticipating increased circulation. Booksellers, librarians, what do you guys think (new cover is below the original)?

DAY OF AHMED'S SECRET: A Picture Book For Egypt

With all eyes on Cairo, Egypt today, here's a book written some years ago (1995) that might help us introduce the city to children, followed by links to some discussion guides. Any suggestions for new titles of fiction set in contemporary Egypt?

by Florence Parry Heide and Judith Heide Gillilan
Illustrated by Ted Lewin
HarperCollins, 1995
ISBN: 0-590-45029-8

Browse inside this book

From Publishers Weekly: In this admirable introduction to life in an alien culture, readers are whisked to the busy streets of Cairo—where young Ahmed is making his daily rounds on a donkey cart, delivering large canisters of butane gas. The city is presented through his eyes, and text and illustration work together in harmony to produce a sense of place so vivid that readers can almost hear the cry of vendors in the crowded marketplace and feel the heat rising from the streets. On this particular day, Ahmed carries a secret with him (he has learned to write his name in Arabic)…

How does life in THE SHALLOWS affect the imagination?

You know I'm a socialmediaaficionado.

I've been blogging since 2005.

It's uncomfortable to admit for some reason, but I'm online for hours each day (except Sundays, when I strive to be screen-and-plug-free), surfing, reading, shopping, booking travel, doing research, answering email, playing Scramble or WordTwist, stalking friends and family on Facebook.

One begins to wonder how this activity affects a writer's brain.

In his newest book, THE SHALLOWS, Nicholas Carrpresents a brilliant case based on the latest neurological research: the Internet is rewiring our brains, and it's not good news for the future of imaginative, deep work. Wired magazine provides a good summary of Carr's argument. Here's an excerpt:
There's nothing wrong with absorbing information quickly and in bits and pieces. We’ve always skimmed newspapers more than we’ve read them, and we routinely run our eyes over books and magazines to get the gist of a piece of writing and decide…

Thank you, Primary Source!

Primary Source, an organization dedicated to "educating for global understanding, hosted a global read of Bamboo People last week. Here's the update about that event from their site:
Bamboo People Global Read Event a Huge Success
On Wednesday, January 12th, Primary Source launched an innovative, all-online Global Read book discussion. Over 120 people from across the country registered for the chance to join Mitali Perkins in a discussion of her young adult novel, Bamboo People. As part of the web-based discussion forum, one teacher wrote, "Thank you, Primary Source, for this opportunity for an online book discussion, and, thank you, Mitali, for writing a book that makes our students ponder uncomfortable realities like repressive governments, third world people, and war and human conflict." Then, educators, parents, and students joined Mitali on January 19th for a one-hour live online chat. This was a truly unique opportunity and an engaging discussion! Coul…

Weigh In: African American Read In and I Am This Land

In honor of the NCTE's African American Read-In, the book blogging community has decided to pick and discuss a book during February. Doret, Edi and Ari (bookseller, librarian, avid young adult reader—great combination) narrowed it down for us to 6 YA titles by African American authors about African American teens. Vote here for the book you want us to read and discuss.

You may also vote on (and submit) videos about diversity in America created by young people at "I Am This Land," like this one about a young Muslim girl who has to stand up for herself both inside and outside her home. Which confrontation took more courage?

What Teachers See In My Novel

Primary Source is hosting a global read of Bamboo People this week involving 90+ educators and students. I'm tuning in every now and then before my official live appearance on Wednesday from 3-4 p.m. EST (register here if you're interested in joining us). I've been absolutely fascinated by the deep insights and responses to my novel. Here's an example of one of the questions posed in the forum followed by answers from six different educators.


What significance did Chiko's glasses play throughout the book?

Throughout the book, Chiko's glasses represented his tenuous grip on his own destiny. They set him apart from the other Burmese characters in the book, most of whom were illiterate. They were the key to his reading, which in turn was the key to his survival when he was at the Burmese army camp. Several times in the novel, he lost his glasses, and he had to rely on others to return them to him. This demonstrates how he often felt like he had no co…

Boston-Area Kid Lit Gatherings Winter 2011

If you're getting New England cabin fever and are longing to see actual people in real life instead of profile pictures who tweet, we have two possibilities for you this winter.

First, if you're anywhere close to Boston, you're invited to an informal schmooze/tweetup/Boston Kid Lit get-together on Monday, January 31st from 6-8 pm.

We're meeting at Andala Cafein Central Square, in their big space downstairs. Andala is near the Central Square T stop on the red line, 286 Franklin St, Central Square, Cambridge, MA 02139. If you're driving, look for metered lots on Bishop Allen Dr. (parallel to Mass Ave) as well as the Green Street parking garage at the corner of Green and Pearl. The garage costs $1.50 per hour.

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No need to register--just show up. Bring a friend or two. We'll provide nametags, you provide the schmoozing. Hope to see you there.

Second, if you're anywhere near the western suburbs or central Massachusetts and don't want to come al…

Applying the Women-in-Movies Test to Race-in-Stories

The Bechdel Test challenges us to ask three simple questions about films:
Are there two or more women with names?Do they talk to each other?Do they talk to each other about something other than a man?So many of my favorite films failed the test:

I wonder if we could apply a similar set of race-related questions to stories in diverse settings, whether they come to us via books, television, or movies. Let's call it the "Friends" test, based on that outstandingly non-diverse television show set in New York City, and ask these questions:
Are there two or more people of color with names?Do they have a significant conversation with each other?Do they talk about something other than race?

2011 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults

I'm flying high today after hearing the news that Bamboo People is a top ten book on the Best Fiction for Young Adults 2011 list from the American Library Association. Here are the top ten titles with annotations courtesy of YALSA librarians:
Bacigalupi, Paolo. Ship Breaker. Little, Brown, and Co. Nailer is a light crew scavenger tearing up old hulks of ships, living day to day, until a rich girl and her gleaming ship run ashore in a storm on the beach and his life gets more dangerous.
Donnelley, Jennifer. Revolution. Random House Children's Books/Delacorte. Haunted by the death of her brother, Andi is taken to Paris by her estranged father where an encounter with a mysterious diary may bring her back from the edge.
Marchetta, Melina. Finnikin of the Rock. Candlewick. Finnikin and his fellow exiles from Lumatere wish to return to their cursed homeland. Finnikin must go on an epic journey with a mute novice named Evanjalin to return home.
Matson, Morgan. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detou…

You're Invited: A Global Read of BAMBOO PEOPLE

Next week, Primary Source (Educating for Global Understanding) is hosting a discussion forum for a global read of Bamboo People. 90+ educators and students have already signed up, but there's room for more. Here's the official announcement:
Global Read of Bamboo People by Mitali PerkinsOnline discussion forum: January 12-19, 2011
Live chat session with the author: Wednesday, January 19, 3-4 p.m. EST Primary Source is proud to announce a unique global reading opportunity. Responding to requests from educators, Primary Source will facilitate a FREE worldwide book discussion, or "Global Read," featuring an online discussion forum followed by a "live" web-based session. You are invited to join us for a discussion of the young adult novel, Bamboo People, by Mitali Perkins — a compelling coming-of-age story about child soldiers in modern Burma. The online discussion forum will begin on Wednesday, January 12th. Then join the author for a live chat on Janua…

ALA Midwinter in San Diego: Sunshine and Signings

Spent the morning by the fire in Boston watching the ALA Youth Media Awards announcements (Newbery, etc), but still relishing the sunny respite in San Diego, courtesy of Charlesbridge, who published Bamboo People. I took two long walks along the water:

... Presented a speech during USBBY's annual meeting, after the Outstanding International Books of 2011 were announced:

... And signed copies of Bamboo People as well as the foreword to Harper Perennial's re-issue of Emily of Deep Valley, along with Melissa Wiley, who was equally flabbergasted to be signing the foreword to Carney's House Party / Winona's Pony Cart.

ALA Midwinter in San Diego

"San Diego." "Midwinter." Don't you love the juxtaposition? This weekend, I'm fortunate to be attending the American Library Association's Annual Midwinter Conference in San Diego, California.

I'm speaking at USBBY's Membership Meeting during the ALA Library Conference on Friday, 1/7, 8-10 p.m. at the Hilton in Indigo 202A/B. The Outstanding International Children's Books Committee will present their 2011 selections, followed by my talk. Anyone with an interest in children's and/or young adult literature is welcome to attend.

On Saturday, I'll be in Charlesbridge's booth from 10-11 (#1808) signing BAMBOO PEOPLE. Then I head over to Harper Collins' booth (#2016) from 11:30-12:30, reverentially signing Maud Hart Lovelace reissues with author and fellow foreword writer Melissa Wiley -- I'll be signing EMILY OF DEEP VALLEY while she personalizes CARNEY'S HOUSE PARTY.

Last but not least, I'm excited that Bamboo People