Showing posts from May, 2012

Going Gridless in June

As promised, I'm retreating from social media (blog, facebook, twitter) for the month of June to think, read, and write. You may still reach me by email, which I will check occasionally. Be back in July, friends.

Betsy, Tacy, Tib, Mitali, and YOU?

I'm beyond excited to be visiting Mankato, Minnesota this summer to be part of an author panel at the Betsy-Tacy Convention. I remember the wonder of visiting Cavendish, Prince Edward Island, which felt like home thanks to the Montgomery addiction of my youth.

Won't you join us this summer to revel in all things Lovelace? The dates are July 19-21, and here's a brief description from the convention organizers to whet your appetite:
The Convention starts on Thursday, July 19, with events and tours in Minneapolis, the setting of Betsy’s Wedding. We then board Mr. Thumbler’s hack (okay, it’s a bus) to Mankato, also known as Deep Valley in the Betsy-Tacy books, for 2 days of activities, speakers, tours, friendship and fun. Come on, friends, carpe diem, it's going to be SO MUCH FUN, and makes a great Mother's Day present, too.

Tips on Writing Race from a Teen Writer

I received a couple of great comments on my blog from a young writer named Micala, and I wanted to share them with you. In response to a post entitled, "Hey, We Need Latino Books ... And More," she had some interesting thoughts about the statistics on multicultural books:
I find the comment about a lack of color in sci-fi and fantasy interesting. I read a lot of sci-fi, and often write it too, and always felt sci-fi writers either A) don't specify race as much, so it's your own fault if you don't catch that, and B) often include mixes of races, sometimes alien ones as well, and often set in multiple countries/planets.

However, so glad you posted this! It's a really good point, and very startling. I never realized there was such a difference. I'm African American and the reason I've started looking into race in books is because once someone asked why I write all "white" (hate that word for people) books when I'm not "white." I r…

Why Ashton Kutcher's PopChips Ad Did Not Offend Me

A recent ad featuring Ashton Kutcher was pulled by PopChips after it was labeled as "racist." Did it deserve the outcry? I don't think so. Could the writers of the ad have wielded the caricature with a bit more finesse? Definitely. Here are my three "ground rules" when it comes to the intersection of race and comedy (explored in the introduction to my forthcoming young adult humor anthology, OPEN MIC, published by Candlewick, Fall 2013):

1. Poke fun at the powerful, not the weak.The PopChips ad did this because Kutcher's character names himself as a Bollywood producer—representing an extremely powerful elite in India.

2. Build affection for the “other” instead of alienating us from somebody different.Basically, in the ad, the producer's a likeable guy—he's jolly and fun.

3. Be self-deprecatory. Here's how the commercial could have been improved: if Kutcher had poked fun at his real self at the end. For example, as he's sitting in his chair…

2012 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 59th Jane Addams Children's Book Awardees: Susan Roth, Cindy Trumbore, Winifred Conkling, Anna Grossnickle Hines, Calvin Alexander Ramsey, Bettye Stroud, John Holyfield, Kadir Nelson, and Thanhha Lai.

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

Honors for Books for Younger Children

Honors for Books for Older Children