Showing posts from May, 2011

For Celebrating The Distinctives, Thank You, Booksellers!

I blitzed into town to accept my Honor Awards from the American Booksellers' Association yesterday. I was given two minutes for some remarks, and here's the gist of what I said (although I was nervous so it wasn't polished):
One of my favorite things about independent booksellers is your ability to celebrate the distinctive over the generic. When most people ask me where I'm from, for example, they don't really care about the details. They don't want to hear about how I was the fattest baby born in Kolkata, India. They don't want to know about being the only kid who wasn't white in my suburban North American middle school. They want a quick answer so they can slot me into a category and move along.You, however, have time, energy, and imagination for the distinctives. You care about what defines each of us as storytellers and champion stories that aren't generic.Thanks for honoring BAMBOO PEOPLE, a book featuring characters on the edges of global powe…

BookExpo America and BAMBOO PEOPLE on Audio

I'm at BookExpo America today in New York City accepting honor awards from the American Booksellers Assocation for Bamboo People in the YA novel category and for myself in the "most engaging author" category. (Pressure's on -- I'd better try and be engaging in my acceptance comments.) I'll also be signing from 2-2:30 in the ABA Booksellers' Lounge.

On the train, I plan to listen to a gift that just arrived from Charlesbridge in the mail:
Here's a lovely review of the audiobook:
Narrator Jonathan Davis rises to the challenge of depicting both sides of an ethnic war with distinct voices and steadfast pacing. Eschewing accents, he clearly portrays characters of both genders and diverse ages and nationalities. Davis’s serious, calm delivery of a few tense scenes makes for a gripping listen.

Foundation For Children's Books Author Events

Today I'm spending the day with 110 middle-schoolers who attend Boston Collegiate Charter School. My visit was organized by The Foundation for Children's Books, a wonderful non-profit headquartered in the Boston area. The FCB worked with my generous publisher Charlesbridge to provide every student with a copy of Bamboo People, ensuring that the students have read my novel before my visit. It doesn't get better than that.

On Tuesday, May 24, at 7:30 p.m., the FCB will host New England Voices, a free event in Boston College's Walsh Hall featuring four New England authors reading from their new work:
Karen Day writes funny and poignant middle-grade novels that explore all the ups and downs of that age. Her latest, A Million Miles from Boston, is the story of 12-year-old Lucy, who finds that this summer's trip to Maine will be turned upside down.
Nancy Poydar has written and illustrated twelve picture books, many in school settings--perhaps because before becoming an aut…

A Whirlwind Trip To Orlando and Tampa

Only managed to take a few photos during my trip to Florida, but hopefully they'll give you a feel of the International Reading Association Convention where I delivered a speech ("Books Between Cultures") at an Institute moderated by Kathy Ganske and Junko Yokota called "Discussions That Matter: Fostering Critical Reading, Critical Thinking, and Critical Literacy Across the Grades." I also visited St. John's Episcopal School in Tampa where I spoke to sixty eighth-graders ("Stories on the Fire Escape.")

Books That Smell Good And My IRA 2011 Schedule

The Indian version of SECRET KEEPER just arrived. The book's design and texture are gorgeous, and it smells like India (confession: I love sniffing new books.)

The copyright page includes a statement we don't see here in the States: "Mitali Perkins asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work." Wonder where that originated?

I'm heading off to Orlando for the International Reading Association Convention, where I'll be presenting at one of the pre-conference Institutes on Sunday (right after Jacqueline Woodson, yikes). On Monday, I'm signing copies of Bamboo People from 11-12 at Charlesbridge, Booth 542, and then signing copies of Secret Keeper from 1-2 at Random House Children's Books, Booth #1413. Hope to see some of you there!

Share Your Process Of Creating Characters Across Cultures Or Class

Crossing boundaries of culture, race, and class to create characters can be tricky, but as fantasy/romance author Mary Anne Mohanraj thoughtfully points out, "You will get it wrong. This is what you should do."

Children's book author A.C.E. Bauer makes the case that we can't include a character of a different race without seeing that "it's not like choosing the color of her hair."

It always helps to learn from one another's mistakes and processes, so I'm seeking input from my fellow writers. Here are my questions, and they apply to historical, contemporary, dystopian, and fantasy novels:
When you crossed boundaries of power (cultural, racial, economic) to create characters, what behind-the-scenes homework did you do (research, interviews, etc.)?
Did your editor ask for more research or tweaks when it came to issues of race, culture, or class? If so, when and why?There are no right or wrong answers — basically, I'm looking for tips that we migh…

2011 Jane Addams Children's Book Awards

Since 1953, the Jane Addams Children's Book Award honors books published in the U.S. during the previous year that engage children in thinking about peace, justice, world community, and/or equality of the sexes and all races. The books also must meet conventional standards of literary and artistic excellence.

Congratulations to the 58th Jane Addams Children's Book Awardees: Linda Glaser, Claire A. Nivola, Linda Sue Park, Calvin Alexander Ramsey, Gwen Strauss, Floyd Cooper, Andrea Davis Pinkney, Brian Pinkney, Jewell Parker Rhodes, and Larry Dane Brimner.

Winner of Books for Younger Children Winner of Books for
Older Children

Honors for Books for Younger Children
Honors for Books for
Older Children