Thursday, November 29, 2012

Industry Q&A with author Tanita S. Davis

Tell us about your most recent book and how you came to write it. 

I read a newspaper account of Theresa Sparks, who was formerly a man. I was struck by what she had to say about love and family, and I wondered if my own family could have survived a transgender member intact. During this time, the hatemongers under the banner of the Westboro Baptist Church were up to some headline-grabbing stupidity, and I found myself wondering if people who claimed Christianity could ever love someone enough to accept them thus Happy Families came out of a lot of quiet thoughts. It challenged me to explore my own hidden fears and beliefs and to make a personal resolve in favor of love.

Do you think of yourself as a diverse author?

Um... not really. In the mirror/window illustration made famous by Mitali Perkins☺, I consider myself a mirror I'm turning my work around toward my community, and these are the people I see. I try to be inclusive of the sometimes invisible things the differently abled or those with other challenges, multiracial blends, blended families, various faiths, etc. because that's real-world stuff, and I really feel there's too much culture-less, colorless fiction being published.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Here's a Question:

Does the digital era flip our definition of censorship?

Still Bleeding... by Hardmerolgirl

Monday, November 12, 2012

Book Spotlight: Never Fall Down

The National Book Awards Gala is coming up this Wednesday and one of the finalists in the Young People’s Literature category is Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick. It is a novel based on the real life of Arn Chorn-Pond—a man who survived unspeakable horrors in the labor camps of the Khmer Rouge as a boy, escaped as a soldier, and was later adopted and brought to the United States. This is a story of brutality, but ultimately it’s an inspiring story of how the arts can save a life, and how the resilience of the human spirit can shine even in the darkest of times.

Patricia McCormick
Photo by Roberto Ligresti
In her brief introduction, Patty writes:
Nearly two million people died—one quarter of the population. It is the worst genocide ever inflicted by a country on its own people.
I used this quote often in my pitching because when I’d first read it, it shocked me…and I knew it would shock others. It did. What I learned from the many journalists and producers I spoke with is that a lot of people don't know these facts. This doesn't altogether surprise me as the Cambodian genocide is not a piece of history that is widely taught or discussed. Cambodians themselves would prefer to avoid their terrible past. When Patty and I discussed the history and the current relevance, she wrote me the following for background and context:

Friday, November 9, 2012

Book Spotlight: The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano

A Coming of Age Nuyorican History Lesson 

Undoubtedly one of America’s most influential Latinas in pop culture, the Emmy-winning New Yorker Sonia Manzano continues to define the TV-watching experience of many kids—especially young Latino and Hispanic children.

For me and many Latinos who grew up watching the humorous, albeit always educational, antics of Burt & Ernie and Cookie Monster, no human face is more associated with the globally broadcast Sesame Street (Plaza Sésamo en Español) than "Maria" embodied by Sonia Manzano.

Manzano joined the production of Sesame Street in 1971, where she eventually began writing scripts for the series. She has won 15 Emmy Awards as part of the Sesame Street writing staff. Many of those kids who grew up with Mariamyself included—will forever regard Sonia Manzano as a cherished storyteller.

This is why her powerful debut YA novel The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano (Scholastic Press) is so important and relevant for young readers of all backgrounds.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Here's a Question:

Do YA authors, editors, and librarians promote the idea that YA books have the power to do good, but reject the idea that they can do harm?

The Playroom of Good and Evil by ninjaink