Sunday, June 29, 2008

Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature

Thanks so much to Sarah Park for passing along this press release through the Child_Lit listserv! I am sad to say that I have not read any of these books. :o(

May 11, 2008

The Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) today announced the winners of the 2007 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. The prizes promote Asian/Pacific American culture and heritage and are awarded based on literary and artistic merit. This year, APALA is presenting awards in three categories: Adult Non-Fiction, Illustration in Children's Literature, and Young Adult Literature.

Adult Non-Fiction

Pfaelzer, Jean. Driven Out: The Forgotten War Against Chinese Americans. New York: Random House, 2007

Jean Pfaelzer's Driven Out brings to light forgotten events from nineteenth-century American history. Drawing upon a number of sources, she details the racial tensions that forced many Chinese immigrants from California and the Pacific Northwest. The Chinese were targeted by white laborers, who burned down their homes, banished residents, and drove them from their shops. However, the Chinese fought back and resisted. They asked for reparations, organized strikes, and demanded civil rights. Pfaelzer's research is an important contribution, and she sheds light on a history that has been perhaps too little-known.

Honorable Mention
Furiya, Linda. Bento Box in The Heartland: My Japanese Girlhood in Whitebread America. Emeryville, CA: Seal Press, 2007

This story is lovingly told by Linda Furiya in her first book. Linda is a syndicated newspaper columnist who has written about the Asian American scene in the San Francisco Bay area and also writes travel and food-related articles and a sex advice column. In Bento Box in the Heartland, she recalls her childhood as a young girl in the only Japanese family in her Indiana town. She deals with bigotry, racism, and racial insecurities as she grows up. As such, she feels self-conscious about herself and is sensitive to the differences between herself and her classmates. One of the differences highlighted in the book is the food that her mother carefully prepares for her family. The essentials of Japanese cooking were difficult to come by in rural Indiana in the 1960's. Her parents grew their own vegetables and drove for hours to the big city to shop in supermarkets that stocked Japanese foods. As she grows up, she comes to appreciate the hardships her parents faced and develops pride in herself, her family, and culture.

Illustration in Children's Literature

Crowe, Ellie. Surfer of the Century. Illustrated by Richard Waldrep. New York: Lee and Low, 2007

This book tells the story of "the Father of Modern Surfing," Duke Paoa Kahanamoku, from his childhood on Waikiki Beach, to his participation in five Olympics, through his lifelong promotion and development of surfing, and to his becoming the official State of Hawai'i Ambassador of Aloha. Each page of text describing his life has an opposite full-page painting-style illustration that shows the progression of his successes in spite of discrimination and his achievements through his creed of Aloha. The final two pages in the book are a timeline of Duke Kahanamoku's life and legacy and a world map showing the major cities of his lifetime accomplishments. The author includes a bibliography of her sources on the back of the title page.

Honorable Mention
Barasch, Lynne. Hiromi's Hands. New York: Lee and Low, 2007

This first-person narrative tells the story of Hiromi's breaking away from the Japanese tradition in the male dominated sushi culinary and becoming an itamae san, professional sushi chef. The author vividly depicts two generations, beginning with her father's long and grueling training as an apprentice before emerging as a successful sushi chef in a Tokyo restaurant. Hiromi is very enthusiastic in learning about fish as she goes to the fish market with her father in New York. At thirteen, she wants to know how to make sushi. Her father, a man receptive to American ideas, says, "And this is America. Girls can do things here that they cannot do in Japan." So begins the sushi career for Hiromi.

The story spans two cultures, Japanese and American. The quiet style of narration complemented by the soft ink and watercolor drawings of two fish markets in Tokyo and Manhattan, the New York subway, and an array of sushi convey authenticity.

Young Adult Literature

Easton, Kelly. Hiroshima Dreams. New York: Dutton, 2007

Hiroshima Dreams portrays the family dynamics of three generations living under one roof: a grandmother adjusting to life in America, a mother who has let go of her roots, and two sisters, one quiet and shy, the other defiant. The struggles and joys of growing up in an interracial family and coping with loss are important issues in the book.

The focus of the story is the relationship between the grandmother, Obaachan, and granddaughter, Lin. Both are resistant to change-Lin to her grandmother's presence at home and her grandmother with her longing for Japan-but they soon find themselves inseparable and share the gift of seeing the future. Obaachan's guidance allows Lin to apply Japanese beliefs and meditation to help her overcome her fears. Through touches of mysticism, careful observation, and reflection, Lin learns to accept and understand the changes and consequences of one's actions. The wisdom of Obaachan is explained with meaningful, descriptive examples that create a sense of calmness and security for Lin.

Honorable Mention
Sheth, Kashmira. Keeping Corner. New York: Hyperion, 2007

Keeping Corner provides an enriching and eye-opening view of the cultural and social dynamics within a family and community in India during the early 20th century. As a daughter in a high-ranking Brahman family, Leela is overindulged and carefree of worries. Married at the age of nine, Leela, now twelve, prepares for her move to her husband's home. Her world is turned upside down when her husband dies, and instead of donning a silk wedding sari, she is given a chidri, a coarse widow's sari. She is confined to her house for a year, thus "keeping corner." Tradition holds her to having a shaved head, no hope of remarrying, and being viewed and shunned as a burden.

Leela's growth and her frustrations of being a child-widow is portrayed in a heartfelt and realistic way. She is able to overcome her confinement by continuing her studies, reading, and journaling. The social reform ideologies of Ghandi and Narmad take hold in her heart, and with the help and permission of her family, she is determined to become a voice in society.

The imagery and sensory perceptions are told so vividly that it creates in the reader a sense of familiarity and longing to be a part of that time period. Sheth's usage of Indian words flows well, and she provides good, short explanations and a glossary. This is definitely a fascinating read.

Dora Ho, Chair
Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature Committee
Young Adult Librarian
Los Angeles Public Library - Young Adult Services

Members of the committee: Joel Bangilan, Houston Public Library (TX); Angela Boyd, University of California Santa Barbara (CA); Shu-Hsien Chen, Professor Emerita, Queens College, CUNY; Roxanne Hsu Feldman, The Dalton School (NY); Karen Fernandez, Highline Community College Library (WA); Suhasini L. Kumar, University of Toledo (OH); Jody Lovaj, Brown County Library, (WI); Marina Perez, San Diego Public Library (CA); Kate Vo Thi-Beard, University of Wisconsin, Madison (WI); Janet Tom, San Francisco Public Library (CA); Sandy Wee, San Leandro Public Library (CA); and Warren Wright, Chinese American International School (CA).

Sunday, June 22, 2008

More Prince Caspian

I was finally able to watch The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian again. I am amazed about how the movie is so different from the book, and yet so faithful to it. There were major plot, character, and theme changes. But the movie was able to capture and bring to life the magic of the book. Also, the movie stirred almost exactly the same feelings in me that the book did.

I know that there are many people who do not like the novel because of its Christian message. On the other hand, I have heard that there are many people who do not like the movie because it seems to have removed that Christian message. Hmmm. The Christian values are there. They are just implied. In the book they were more explicit.

I think that if you and your family want to watch a really entertaining action/adventure/fantasy movie, but are not necessarily looking for anything religious or spiritual, you will be satisfied with Prince Caspian. If you are looking for the Christian values that were in the book, I think that you will also like the movie. Open the eyes of your heart while watching the movie and you'll see. :o) Now if you are like me and you are looking for a good fantasy story and spiritual enrichment, I think you will love the movie!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Poetry Friday: Appraisal by Sara Teasdale

Never think she loves him wholly
Never believe her love is blind
All his faults are locked securely
In a closet of her mind;
All his indecisions folded
Like old flags that time has faded,
Limp and streaked with rain,
And his cautiousness like garments
Frayed and thin, with many a stain--
Let them be, oh let them be,
There is treasure to outweigh them,
His proud will that sharply stirred,
Climbs as surely as the tide.
Senses strained too taut to sleep,
Gentleness to beast and bird,
Humor flickering hushed and wide,
As the moon on moving water,
And a tenderness too deep
To be gathered in a word.

In First Daughter: White House Rules by Mitali Perkins, the main character Sameera and her cousin and best friend Miranda ponder their non-negotiables for relationships. They try to determine the top three qualities they want in a romantic partner. As long as a guy has those top three qualities, they will accept the rest of his qualities, faults and all. One night, when Sameera's heart is aching, Miranda reads "Appraisal" by Sara Teasdale aloud to her. Sameera and Miranda are both soothed by the poem. :o)

I found "Appraisal" surprisingly moving. And one day, when my best friend's heart was aching a bit, I introduced the poem to her and she was also moved by it. What do you think of the poem? :o)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

2008 Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards for Excellence in Children’s Literature

:o) I want to share a press release about the details of this year's Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards from the Horn Book website:

Tales of restless spirits — a fledgling artist behind the Iron Curtain, a teen on a Spokane Indian reservation, a little girl on a big-city night, and a stranger in the strangest land — were rewarded when the winners of the Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards were announced on June 18, 2008.

Presented annually since 1967, the Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards are customarily given in three categories: Fiction and Poetry, Picture Book, and Nonfiction. This year, as happens occasionally, the judges also awarded a Special Citation. The 2008 winners are:

Nonfiction The Wall by Peter Sís (Foster/Farrar)

Fiction and Poetry The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, illustrated by Ellen Forney (Little)

Picture Book At Night by Jonathan Bean (Farrar)

Special Citation The Arrival by Shaun Tan (Levine/Scholastic)

Among the most honored author-illustrators in the field, Peter Sís is a three-time recipient of a Caldecott Honor award (including one this year for The Wall) as well as the winner of a 2003 MacArthur Fellowship and a 1999 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award for Tibet: Through the Red Box. Novelist Sherman Alexie is new to young adult literature but not to acclaim. A 1995 PEN/Hemingway Award recipient for his first collection of short stories for adults, he is also a poet, a film director, and a standup comic. Last fall, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. Jonathan Bean is the newcomer of this trio. A 2005 graduate of Manhattan’s School of Visual Arts, he made his debut as an author-artist with At Night.

Shaun Tan, whose wordless graphic novel, The Arrival, was singled out by the judges for excellence in graphic storytelling, has an international following. Winner of the Best Picture Book of the Year Award in his native Australia and named Best Artist at the World Fantasy Awards in 2007, he also received a Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2007 citation from the New York Times.

The judges selected two honor books in each category:

Nonfiction: Frogs by Nic Bishop (Scholastic)
What to Do About Alice? by Barbara Kerley, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham (Scholastic)

Fiction and Poetry: Shooting the Moon by Frances O'Roark Dowell (Atheneum)
Savvy by Ingrid Law (Walden/Dial)

Picture Book: Fred Stays with Me! by Nancy Coffelt, illustrated by Tricia Tusa (Little)
A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever by Marla Frazee (Harcourt)

Two of the honor book recipients have previously received Boston Globe–Horn Book recognition. Marla Frazee illustrated Clementine, written by Sara Pennypacker, an honor book for fiction in 2007. Nic Bishop was the photographer of Joy Crowley’s Red-Eyed Tree Frog, the picture book award winner in 1999.

The 2008 Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards ceremony will be held on Friday, October 3, 2008, at the Boston Athenaeum in Boston, Massachusetts. The honored authors and illustrators are expected to be on hand to accept their awards and deliver their acceptance speeches.

All children’s and young adult books published in the United States between June 2007 and May 2008 were eligible for the award. The winning authors and illustrators may be citizens of any country. Winners in each category receive a cash prize and an engraved silver bowl. Honor book recipients receive an engraved silver plate. The acceptance speeches of the award winners will be published in the January/February 2009 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

The 2008 Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards judges:

Terri Schmitz, Chair Owner of The Children’s Book Shop in Brookline, Massachusetts, and a columnist for The Horn Book Magazine

John Peters Supervising Librarian, The New York Public Library's Central Children's Room

Lolly Robinson Designer, The Horn Book, Inc., and Lecturer, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sunday, June 15, 2008


The Curse of Addy McMahon Book Trailer

Check out this great book trailer created by Katie Davis, the author-illustrator of The Curse of Addy McMahon. :o) Happy weekend, all!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Book Review: The Curse of Addy McMahon by Katie Davis

Twelve-year-old Addy McMahon is cursed. You see, her great grandfather chopped down a tree near Latoon, Ireland. But it wasn't just any old tree; it was a fairy lair. Ever since Addy's great grandfather destroyed that fairy lair the McMahon family has had bad luck. The first sign of bad luck was when that tree fell on Addy's great grandfather, killing him instantly. Then Addy's great grandmother was wounded when she threw herself on her husband after she saw what had happened.

Want more proof that Addy is cursed? Addy's father died of cancer and now her mom's "g-ross" boyfriend Jonathan is moving into their guest bedroom. It must be the curse's fault why Addy can't get along with Jonathan... Right?

Addy is an aspiring author-illustrator. One day, after having a fight with her best friend Jackie, Addy creates a comic making fun of Jackie. Addy accidentally emails the comic to Jackie and to other kids in her school. Jackie is very hurt. She stops talking to Addy and then makes friends with Addy's archenemy Marsha! The curse has struck again! All of this can't be Addy's fault... Can it?

I really like how The Curse of Addy McMahon is an enjoyable and funny story driven by creative characters. Addy's father was a carpenter - a real craftsman - and Addy's mother is an artist. Jonathan is an award-winning journalist. Addy and her friends either write for or edit The Seely Times, the school newspaper. Addy is a very talented writer famous for her interviews in The Seely Times. She doesn't just list the questions and answers of an interview, she turns the interview into a story and illustrates it. In private, Addy keeps a journal unlike the typical sixth grader's journal. Addy keeps an autobiogra-strip: comics of her life story!

What I love about The Curse of Addy McMahon is the excellent character development. All the characters are very real but I really like Addy's character. Addy is likeable but very flawed, and she grows in the story. She's a really fleshed out round/dynamic character. Furthermore, The Curse of Addy McMahon is told from her point of view and readers are given the very authentic logic of a pre-teen girl.

I have this complaint though: I want more of the autobiogra-strip! Throughout the book readers are treated to a few sections of Addy's autobiogra-strip (written and illustrated by Katie Davis). These comics contribute to the expression of emotions in the story. They are fun to read and are what make the main character and the book unique. I wish many more parts of the autobiogra-strip had been shared.

If you want to read about a very real young protagonist and truly be taken into her mind, I recommend you read The Curse of Addy McMahon by Katie Davis. :o)

To find out more about The Curse of Addy McMahon, read my interview with author-illustrator Katie Davis! :o)

Harry Potter Prequel?

J.K. Rowling has handwritten an 800-word story about James Potter and Sirius Black that takes place three years before Harry Potter was born. The story card was recently auctioned off for charity. Unfortunately, the story is not from a prequel that Rowling is working on. :o(

You can click here to read Rowling's account of writing the story and (hurray!) here to read the story. I've read the story. I don't think it's anything spectacular. But it was great reading something new from the Harry Potter stories. It was wonderful returning to the world of Harry Potter. I want more!

Thanks to Wizards Wireless and Publishers Weekly Children's Bookshelf for the links!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The New Kids on the Block are back!

Talk about trying to recapture my youth... Donnie, Joey, Danny, Jordan, and Jon are back with a new single: "Summertime." Yes, it's cheesy and they may be too old for the song and video. "Summertime" just might grow on you though. Hahahahahahaha! And c'mon, it's the New Kids on the Block! I remember being a fan when I was in elementary school. I think I had a crush on Jordan and Joey. After all these years Jordan is still the coolest member of the group!

Anyone else a (former) New Kids on the Block fan? 'Fess up! :o)

Summer Reading Tips

This short video clip is a WABC-TV segment on summer reading tips that aired Sunday morning. It features Jane O'Connor, the author of the Fancy Nancy series; MAC, author of Anna Smudge: Professional Shrink; and Scott Westerfeld, author of the Uglies series. Thanks to Toasted Coconut Media for sharing the link!

Visit MAC's blog for a lot more really fun and really creative reading tips! I'd love to try them out myself.

What are your suggestions for getting kids and teens to read? :o)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Monday, June 09, 2008

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

My favorite books include the Chronicles of Narnia. I love these books so much, mostly because I love the wonderful characters, like Aslan, Peter, Lucy, Trufflehunter, and Reepicheep. The charming Narnia stories make me very tender. I re-read Prince Caspian to prepare myself for its movie adaptation. Believe it or not, Prince Caspian made me break down and cry, just like the first time I read it.

Oh, and the Christianity in the stories that make many people hate them? I also love the series because of the Christianity in them. :o) I love how the books speak to me as a lover of fantasy stories and as a Christian. I celebrate the Christian message of the Chronicles of Narnia!

I think the movie is a great adaptation of the book. A lot of things were changed. There were plot changes. There was a lot more adventure in the movie. And romance was even added to the story. There were also some character changes. I found Glozelle to be almost a completely different character. Peter was given flaws he did not have in the book and Susan was given character strengths she did not have in the book. But all of the changes were made to add more drama and excitement to the movie. The spirit of the story is still very much intact. The essence of the book is still there, and very clear.

The movie had humor. There was exciting action. The costumes, set design, and special effects were excellent. The music was amazing - really stirring. I only have one complaint: I wish Aslan had played a much bigger role in the movie. Aslan is the number one reason I love the Chronicles of Narnia so much.

The movie had a nostalgic feel. There were many beautiful references to the first movie, the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The Pevensie children miss the time they reigned during Narnia's Golden Age and are very sad about leaving Narnia. The nostalgia and sadness were so palpable that I now miss the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and want to watch it again.

Prince Caspian is an exciting and entertaining movie. I highly recommend you watch it. :o) If you liked the book, you will like the story even more after watching the movie. If you haven't read the book, you will still enjoy the movie as a good fantasy movie for the whole family.

Now I must watch Prince Caspian a second time!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Fusion Story: Girls for Breakfast by David Yoo

David Yoo's Girls for Breakfast was hard for me to read. Not because it's a bad novel. It's a good novel. It's funny and well written. But I think it's also sad. In fact, Girls for Breakfast depressed me.

Korean American Nick Park moves to Renfield, Connecticut just in time for the third grade. He is the new kid in Crying Stream Elementary - all the other kids know each other already - and the only Asian student. He has absolutely no friends for almost a year and I think this traumatizes him for life. Nick becomes obsessed with fitting in and being accepted.

Nick lies to get his peers to start paying attention to him. He tells Will, Mitch, and Paul, three other boys in his grade, that he is a kung fu master and they beg him to teach them kung fu. Nick teaches Will, Mitch, and Paul martial arts moves he makes up and becomes friends with them. He even starts believing that he is a true kung fu master and starts giving "kung fu lessons" to other kids in his school.

In the third grade Nick discovers girls. Then all throughout elementary school, middle school, and high school he is obsessed with the opposite sex. There are times Nick has a chance to be in a romantic relationship, but he always screws things up with the girl big time. Like the time in the eight grade when Paige Cooper wants him to be her date for Class Nite. He finds out she wants to be his date three weeks before Class Nite, but he tries to ask her out less than thirty minutes before Class Nite begins. Of course by the time Nick calls Paige's house she has already left for the dance. Or the time he went out on a date with Sam Foley during his sophomore year in high school but afterwards Sam hates him for lying and telling his friends that he got to third base with her. Nick is crazy about girls, but even more concerned about his popularity - or lack thereof. He cares more about being popular than about forming real connections with his peers. Still, he messes up all his efforts to become popular.

Nick is a banana, "yellow on the outside, white on the inside." He thinks it is his Asian heritage that is keeping him from becoming popular and from "scoring with the girls." He wants to be just like everyone else in his 99.9 percent white school. He doesn't like eating Korean food. He can't stand other Korean guys. He finds Korean girls unattractive. He refuses to go to a Korean church or hang out with other Koreans his age. He hates all things Asian. He is even embarrassed by other Asians and doesn't know how to react when he sees another Asian. Nick's parents and other Koreans find Nick "too white," while his classmates find him "too Asian."

Girls for Breakfast was painful for me. It's about being lonely and desperate to be cool. It's about being different and confused about one's identity. Nick was annoyingly insecure and immature, and a very real, complex, and believable main character. Girls for Breakfast was able to elicit a lot of emotional reponses from me. I could literally feel Nick's loneliness, confusion, and misery while reading and I was reminded of my own awkward and painful adolescence.

About the Author: David Yoo is the author of the novels GIRLS FOR BREAKFAST, which was named a NYPL Best Book for Teens and a Booksense Pick, and the forthcoming STOP ME IF YOU'VE HEARD THIS ONE BEFORE (Hyperion, Sept. 2008). He has published fiction and nonfiction in several anthologies, most recently in WHO CAN SAVE US NOW? (The Free Press, 2008) and GUYS WRITE FOR GUYS READ (Viking). David teaches adult fiction workshops at the Gotham Writers Workshop and writes a monthly column in Koream Journal. To learn more about him, visit

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Author Interview: Mitali Perkins

It is an honor to host Mitali Perkins at Into the Wardrobe. Mitali is the author of the middle grade novel Rickshaw Girl and the young adult novels The Not-So-Star-Spangled Life of Sunita Sen, Monsoon Summer, First Daughter: Extreme American Makeover, and First Daughter: White House Rules. Mitali is also the author of several short stories and several non-fiction works. She is an excellent writer and a very nice person!

And now presenting... my interview with Mitali Perkins! :o)

What was it like writing First Daughter: White House Rules? Did you have "typical" writing days or writing rituals?

I wrote under deadline as I signed the contract for the books before they were written, which meant I had to be stern with myself. I forced out 2000 words a day to finish the draft. And when that was done, I needed a couple of writing retreats away from home to revise and finish the story.

You studied political science at Stanford University and public policy at U.C. Berkeley. How much has your educational background helped you write political teen novels (the First Daughter series)?

I'm not sure if anything I learned at school actually informed the books, apart from the basics of the political process, but the subject matter was definitely in line with one of my passions. I'm a confirmed political junkie and love the crazy ride of American presidential elections. That's one of the reasons I agreed to write the books.

I find it very interesting how blogging is an important part of the First Daughter books. Why did you decide to make the main character, Sameera Righton, a very popular blogger?

I love how blogging allows me to express my voice and connect with others, don't you? It seems like a natural practice for a teen who likes to write and wants to be real. Interestingly, when I wrote the books, Meghan McCain, daughter of Senator John McCain, hadn't started her popular blog yet (, so I like to think that Sameera was a good example for her.

How many more books can we expect from the First Daughter series? And what's in store for Sameera?

None that I know of. I imagine she'll end up as a journalist, don't you? And probably still with Bobby down the road -- she's a loyal soul. Meanwhile, she's blogging away about the real First Kid wannabes over at

What are the challenges and rewards of being an Asian American writer?

Challenges: Being marginalized as a "multicultural" author of "multicultural" books for "multicultural" readers.

Rewards: Writing stories that reflect the richness of my heritage and reveal the insights I gained growing up as an immigrant kid.

Do you celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month? How did you celebrate it this year?

I usually celebrate the month by blogging about it. This year I collaborated with the other Fusion Stories authors, which was wonderful. I got to know them and their writing and feel like we're building more bridges in the children's book world.

I am just nuts about Fusion Stories! What is the story of how and why the Fusion Stories group was formed?

The idea came into Justina Chen Headley's fantastic brain (the site of many great ideas), and she recruited me, Grace Lin, and Paula Yoo to kick things off. We found six other authors who had written books releasing in 2007 or 2008 featuring Asian American characters that aren't folk talkes nor "typical" immigrant stories, and it quickly became a wonderful collaboration. My part was to finalize the release, design and maintain the website, and handle requests from the press.

Can you tell us a bit about your experience living between cultures (struggling with a cultural identity because of having been raised in a different culture from your parents)?

(For this question, Mitali has shared a video with us. Check it out for the answer and to learn more about Mitali!)

What is your message for young people today living between cultures?

Stay balanced. There are rewards to be gained when you're at home in more than one culture. Check out this essay I wrote about both the gains and losses of growing up between cultures: <>

On a more personal note, why do you call yourself a cyber-geek? :o)

I love playing around with web tools, blogging, and figuring out html code. Learning and mastering new techno stuff keeps my brain cells firing.

Now for something even more fun! A character from the First Daughter books, Miranda Campbell (Sameera's cousin), is famous for her frosted oatmeal scotchies. Do you often bake scotchies? Can you share Miranda's recipe with us? :o)

No, I don't bake them myself but a lovely lady in our church makes some for our family and I always gobble them up. Here's a recipe for oatmeal scotchie pan cookies with frosting:

2 c. unsifted flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 c. butter, softened
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp. water
1 1/2 c. quick oats
1 (12 oz.) pkg. butterscotch morsels

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. Combine butter, brown sugar, eggs, water; beat until creamy. Gradually add flour mixture. Stir in oats, butter, and scotch morsels. Spread in greased 15 x 10 x 1 inch baking pan. Bake 20-25 minutes. Cool completely.

Thick Vanilla Frosting

1 cup shortening
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar (sifted)
4 tablespoons milk

Beat together shortening and vanilla for 30 seconds medium speed with an electric mixer. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar a bit at a time while beating. Then add 2 tablespoons milk. Slowly add in the rest of the powdered sugar and the rest of the milk until you get the right thickness for your frosting.

Thank you so much for being a guest here at Into the Wardrobe, Mitali! :o)

For more information about Mitali, visit her official website

And chat with Mitali at her great blog, Mitali's Fire Escape!

(This wonderful illustration portrait of Mitali Perkins is by Jamie Hogan, the illustrator of Mitali's book Rickshaw Girl).

Monday, June 02, 2008

Wow, June already?

Hi, all. :o)

I am sad that May, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, is over. It's a good thing Asian Americans and Asian American children's/YA literature rock EVERY month! Woohoo! :D I haven't finished reading all of the Fusion Stories yet, so I will continue reading and reviewing Fusion Stories and other Asian American children's/YA literature this month. (I'll be reading and reviewing books from other genres too of course.)

I can't think of a better way to end Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and begin a new month than by hosting Mitali Perkins, author of the Fusion Story First Daughter: White House Rules. I will be posting my interview of Mitali soon, so stay tuned!

Another great way to end the month of May is to check out the May 2008 Carnival of Children's Literature, hosted by children's book author Melissa Wiley at her blog Here in the Bonny Glen.

For every edition of the blog carnival of children's literature, members of the kidlitosphere submit their favorite and/or best posts of the month. So checking out the carnival is a sure-fire way to find great posts on children's literature and discover great blogs on children's literature. Enjoy! :o)