Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Guest Blogging from Bologna Book Fair

I'm guest blogging this week, from Bologna.
I'll be posting every day, Monday through Friday, in Through the Tollbooth, so come visit me there.

Here are the links to each post:

Bologna Book Fair--a rights fair for children's books. (Monday)

SCBWI Bologna Symposium, a conference for writers and illustrators held the day before the fair. (Tuesday)

Bologna Book Fair--International Book Awards and Dueling Illustrators. (Wednesday)

Bologna Book Fair--Halls, events and book sightings. (Thursday)

Bologna Book Fair--Illustrators, International Youth Library and book sightings. (Friday)

I had a wonderful time. Hope you enjoy my posts.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Books that accurately depict the culture

I recently read two incredible books that stunned me with how well they capture the culture of the characters on the page.

The two books I read are Blessing's Bead by Debby Dahl Edwardson and Wanting Mor by Rukhsana Khan. (Khan blogs at Khanversations.)

Blessing's Bead is set in Alaska in the Inupiaq culture and Wanting Mor is set in Afghanistan. Both liberally sprinkle foreign words in the text, but the reader will never be confused. Both books let me experience culture and life I am unfamiliar with.

Writers often talk about setting. Culture includes setting and characters and action. It is vitally important to get the culture correct, as readers will believe that details inside fictional stories are fact.

In both of these books, each author is very familiar with the culture depicted and has lived either within the culture or has much of the same cultural background. Both authors asked those who live inside the culture they depict to read their stories so everything would be accurate. (Mentioned on their acknowledgment pages.)

I strongly recommend both of these books. They are extremely well crafted, and tell good stories about realistic characters.

I have lived in six very different cultures, ranging from Brazil to Finland to China. Because of my experiences I appreciate books that accurately deal with a variety of cultures, books that allow readers to travel somewhere they can't go in real life.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

News and Link Medley

First off, my interview with Gita Wolf, publisher of Tara Books, is up on Cynsations, Cynthia Leitich Smith's blog. Tara Books is an incredible publishing company in India. I love their books, which happily are available worldwide. I'll get to meet Gita Wolf at the Bologna Book Fair later this month!

Fuse #8, the way cool, awesome NYC librarian, ran another book poll. She blogs on School Library Journal. Librarians, readers, and writers sent her their top 10 and she compiled the choices. She is sharing them on her blog, plus she adds interesting background information and lots of cover photos. She is at #35 to #31 in her countdown. Scroll down to links to the other posts of top 100 books. I've already found a few books I somehow missed reading that I plan to add to my reading pile.
What will the top 10 be?

Her top 100 picture books poll from 2009 can be found here.

A delightful, award winning author's new blog: Khanversations by Rukhsana Khan, a daily blog. Drop by and say "hi."

New books to look for, mostly released this month:

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia. (I got this one for my birthday this month. That made me happy.)

Feeding the Sheep, a great picture book by Leda Schubert. (Sheep, wool, great story and great illustrations.)

Saving Maddie by Varian Johnson (I heard Varian read from this at VCFA. He's a wonderful writer. He is on a blog tour this week. Here is a link to one of the stops at Gwenda Bond's blog and a link to another great blog tour interview at newport2newport on livejournal))

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson (I'm hearing so many good things about this book.)

Benno and the Night of Broken Glass, a picture book by Meg Wiviott. (Benno is a cat. This book deals with the holocaust, through the cat's eyes.)