Showing posts from September, 2013

OPEN MIC: Introducing Contributor Varian Johnson ...

I'm continuing to showcase the nine authors who collaborated with me on OPEN MIC: RIFFS ON LIFE BETWEEN CULTURES IN TEN VOICES (an anthology published 9.10.13 by Candlewick Press). The Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books recently had this to say about our book:
It’s often said that good literature for young people can act as a mirror to one’s own experiences and a window into others’—this anthology fills the bill, providing an accessible assessment of contemporary race relations, while also being as honest, refreshing, and frank as the titular open mic suggests. Today I'm delighted to introduce you to my friend Varian Johnson, author of "Like Me," a short story that's sixth in the OPEN MIC lineup and is especially "honest, refreshing, and frank." Here are the first few paragraphs to lure you:
"Griff, snap out of it," Evan says, jabbing his elbow into my rib cage. "You're missing the newbies."I glance at Evan—trying…

Conversations about Race, Storytelling, and Authenticity

You're invited to two discussions, one virtual and one in real life. First, please read and comment on my guest post at the Children's Books Council Diversity Blog: "Is the Race Card Old School?" Here's an excerpt:
... Why does race trump in North America when it comes to a discussion about authenticity and fiction? My best guess is that we adults are stuck in that particular paradigm of identity. Race takes primacy when it comes to how we see others and how we see ourselves. In our minds, it still parallels the deeper question of power at the heart of this conversation, because the appropriation of story is a powerful act. And perhaps we’re (sort of) right ...  If you'd like this kind of dialogue in real life, as well as some intimate, face-to-face time with editors Cheryl Klein (Scholastic) and Stacy Whitman (Tu Books | Lee and Low), agent Regina Griffin, and authors Sundee Frazier (BRENDAN BUCKLEY'S SIXTH-GRADE EXPERIMENT) and Eliot Shrefer (ENDANGERED…

"It's A Girl" are Three Deadly Words

Not many third daughters like me see the light of day in my native land. I'd like to see this film.

OPEN MIC: Introducing Contributor Cherry Cheva ...

I'm so proud of the nine authors who collaborated with me on OPEN MIC: RIFFS ON LIFE BETWEEN CULTURES IN TEN VOICES (an anthology published 9.10.13 by Candlewick Press). I'll be featuring each of them in alphabetical order over the next month or so on the Fire Escape.

Today, I'm delighted to introduce you to the one and only Cherry Chevapravatdumrong (Cheva), author of "Talent Show," a short story that is third in the OPEN MIC lineup. Here's the first paragraph to whet your appetite:
Question: There are two high-school juniors in a room. They're waiting to audtion for the talent show. One is an Asian girl. The other is a white guy. One is tuning a violin. The other fiddles with a scrap of paper containing notes from a stand-up comedy act.Which one is which?Yeah, I know what you'd say. That's what I'd say, too, except that I happened to be the guy. Holding the violin. The Horn Book loved her contribution:  "In Cherry Cheva’s story, an Asian …

Happy Book Birthday, OPEN MIC!

Today is launch day for OPEN MIC: RIFFS ON LIFE BETWEEN CULTURES IN TEN VOICES(Candlewick Press)!  I'm so proud of the authors who contributed to this anthology that I'm featuring each of them, one per day, on the Fire Escape, starting tomorrow.

Happy Book Birthday to all of us! To celebrate with us, why not "like" our page on Facebook: Would love to hear your thoughts about the book if you get a chance to read it.


"[Open Mic] will leave readers thinking about the ways that humor can be a survival tool in a world that tends to put people in boxes." — Publishers Weekly

"Naomi Shihab Nye offers an eloquent poem about her Arab American dad, whose open friendliness made him 'Facebook before it existed.' David Yoo, Debbie Rigaud, Varian Johnson, and Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich also contribute stories to this noteworthy anthology, which robustly proves Perkins’ assertion that 'funny is powerful.'” — Horn …

Rise, Dark Girls, Rise

Looking forward to Dark Girls, a documentary releasing 9.24.13. Shadeism/colorism is an important aspect of the conversation about race. South Asian girls hear the same stuff about dark skin, and it's sickening. We have another compelling argument about why good stories for and about all kinds of children are so crucial, and can reveal the truth about beauty.