Friday, February 24, 2012

Interview with Grace Lin

I love this interview Grace did with Primary Source for their Asian American Author Video Series. What Grace talks about here is very much related to why the CBC Diversity Committee exists. I found her story about realizing that a character from one of her favorite books might hate her because of her race especially moving.

Go here to watch other videos with Grace Lin, Mitali Perkins, Jean Kwok, and G.B. Tran.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Daniel Nayeri: How I Got into Publishing

When I came to the United States at the age of eight, I spent a lot of time in the library because I needed to learn English, and because none of the neighborhood kids knew yet how awesome I was at Nintendo.

We arrived in Oklahoma in the summertime, and I was terrified that I would show up to school unable to speak with the other kids. We were refugees from Iran who had spent several years bouncing from country to country, so I had a smattering of a few languages. My English, however, was a bit like Apu from the Simpsons. 

And so, my mom took me to the library, checking out 35 picture books at a time, determined to get us ready. At the time, I remember being dumbfounded by the likes of Dr. Seuss or Laura Ingalls Wilder (an Oklahoma favorite that I came to appreciate in due time). The language had too much slang, too many words I couldn't look up in the dictionary ("Vat is a sneetches?"). I ended up gravitating toward the Great Illustrated Classics--simple sentences, written in the Queen's English. I read abridged (perhaps abridged too far?) versions of The Three Musketeers, Treasure Island, Robin Hood, and Robinson Crusoe--I fell in love with all of them.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Alvina Ling: How I Got into Publishing

My father tells this story about me as a little girl and swears it's true. I don't remember it myself, but I choose to believe him. He said that one night, after he read a selection of books to me at bedtime, I asked him, "Daddy, why does everyone have yellow hair in the books?" He struggled a bit on how to answer, and said something about how that was the way the author and artist decided to make them. "Well," I said, "When I grow up, I'm going to change that!"
Flash forward: after graduating with a degree in Mass Communication from UC Berkeley, and still not knowing what I wanted to be "when I grew up," I decided to move temporarily to Taiwan (where my parents are from originally) to study Mandarin Chinese and teach English. Really, I was stalling for time while doing something productive. After about a year, I started thinking about what I would do when I returned to the U.S. Some of my friends were thinking about going into consulting (that was big back then!) or graduate school, but neither option appealed to me. Then one of my friends said to me, “Well, you’re always reading books. Have you ever considered book publishing?” There was (is) very little book publishing on the West Coast, and so I hadn't really seen it as a viable career option. But when he suggested it, something clicked. I had always loved books and reading, so I decided to look into it.