Archive for ‘Young Adult Books’

February 17, 2017

South Asian Kidlit 2017 – Part 1

Hope everyone is keeping warm this winter. Here in California, we’re just trying to stay dry in one of the wettest winters ever. Not that I’m complaining. It’s better than the string of drought years. I am still working away on my picture books and have started working on a YA historical novel. Speaking of picture books, I would love to see more South Asian titles in that category. 😉

Last summer, I posted some fantastic South Asian children’s and young adult books that released in 2016. Thanks to the We Need Diverse Books movement, #ownvoices, #diversity, and a general interest in the publishing and reading communities there has been an uptick in books that contain diversity as well as by diverse authors. Today I bring you nine titles (1 PB, 4 MG, 4 YA) that are being released in the first-half of 2017. These books are traditionally published and are either by a South Asian author, contains a South Asian Main Character, or involves South Asian culture. The books are organized by Category and then Publication Date. Come back in July for Part 2 containing books being released in the 2nd half of 2017.
south-asian-kidlit-2017
bluesky

Title: Blue Sky White Starssarvinder-naberhaus-1200
Author: Sarvinder Naberhaus
Illustrator: Kadir Nelson
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: June 13, 2017
Category-Genre: Picture Book

Synopsis: Wonderfully spare, deceptively simple verses pair with richly evocative paintings to celebrate the iconic imagery of our nation, beginning with the American flag. Each spread is sumptuously illustrated by award-winning artist Kadir Nelson

Bio: Sarvinder Naberhaus immigrated from Punjab to the U.S. when she was four years old. Her first book, Boom Boom, was illustrated by Caldecott-honor winning artist Margaret Chodos-Irvine. She also has an upcoming board book, Lines.

Website: www.sarvinder.com
Twitter: @SarvinderN
Facebook: Sarvinder Author

amina

Title: Amina’s Voicehena-khan-low-res
Author: Hena Khan

Publisher: Salaam Reads
Publication Date: March 14, 2017
Category-Genre: Middle Grade

Synopsis: The first year of middle school is tricky for stage-shy Amina, when her best friend Soojin starts talking about changing her name and, even worse, spending time with Emily—a girl that used to make fun of them! Amina’s older brother seems to be getting into a lot of trouble and when her uncle comes to visit from Pakistan, her parents try awfully hard to impress him. But when Amina’s mosque is vandalized, she find her voice, and learns that the things that connect us will always be stronger than the things that try to tear us apart.

Bio: Hena Khan is the author of several award-winning books including Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns, It’s Ramadan, Curious George, and Night of the Moon. She’s also written choose your own adventure style novels and books on space, spies, and more. Hena was born and raised in Maryland, where she still lives with her family.

Website: www.henakhan.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/henakhanbooks
Facebook: www.facebook.com/hena.khan.books
Instagram: www.instagram.com/henakhanbooks/

the-gauntletTitle: The Gauntletkayemavatar
Author: Karuna Riazi
Publisher: S&S/Salaam Reads
Publication Date: March 28, 2017
Category-Genre: Middle Grade – Fantasy

Synopsis: A trio of friends from New York City find themselves trapped inside a mechanical board game that they must dismantle in order to save themselves and generations of other children in this action-packed debut that’s a steampunk Jumanji with a Middle Eastern flair.

Bio: Karuna Riazi is a born and raised New Yorker, with a loving, large extended family and the rather trying experience of being the eldest sibling in her particular clan. Besides pursuing a BA in English literature, she is an online diversity advocate, blogger, and publishing intern. Karuna is fond of tea, Korean dramas, writing about tough girls forging their own paths toward their destinies, and baking new delectable treats for friends and family to relish.

Twitter: twitter.com/karunariazi

step-plate

Title: Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singhuma
Author: Uma Krishnaswami
Publisher: Tu Books/Lee & Low
Publication Date: May 1, 2017
Category-Genre: Middle Grade – Historical Fiction

Synopsis: In Yuba City, California, in the spring of 1945, Maria Singh longs to play softball. But even as Maria’s world opens up, her parents—Papi from India and Mamá from Mexico—can no longer protect their children from prejudice and from the discriminatory laws of the land. When the family is on the brink of losing their farm, nine-year-old Maria must decide if she has what it takes to step up and find her voice in an unfair world.

Bio: Uma Krishnaswami is the author of more than twenty books for young readers. She teaches in the low-residency MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults, Vermont College of Fine Arts. Born in New Delhi, India, Uma now lives and writes in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

Website: http://umakrishnaswami.org
Blog: https://umakrishnaswami.org/blog-writing-with-a-broken-tusk/

finding-mighty

Title: Finding Mightysheela_chari_author_photo
Author: Sheela Chari
Illustrator: R. Kikuo Johnson
Publisher: Abrams
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
Category-Genre: Middle Grade – Mystery

Synopsis: Along the train lines north of New York City, twelve-year-old neighbors Myla and Peter search for the link between Myla’s necklace and the disappearance of Peter’s brother, Randall.

Bio: Sheela Chari is the author of FINDING MIGHTY (May 2017) and VANISHED, an Edgar Award nominee for best juvenile mystery, an Al Roker book pick on the Today Show, and an APALA Children’s Literature Honor Book. She has an MFA in Fiction from New York University and teaches writing at Mercy College. She lives in New York with her family.

Website: www.sheelachari.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sheela.chari
Twitter: @wordsbysheela

soulmated_cover_500

Title: Soulmatedshaila_patel_3x4-5
Author: Shaila Patel
Publisher: Month 9 Books
Publication Date: January 24, 2017
Category-Genre: Yound Adult – Paranormal Romance

Synopsis: Irish empath Liam Whelan is forced to find his fated soul mate and is drawn to Indian-American Laxshmi Kapadia–only she’s not an empath and would derail his father’s plans for when they did find “The One.” Laxshmi struggles with her own parental expectations in the form of ultimatums that leave her neither the option of pursuing dance as a career, nor an interest in her handsome new Irish neighbor. Will Liam and Laxshmi defy expectations and embrace a shared destiny, or is the risk of choosing one’s own fate too great a price?

Bio: Shaila Patel is a pharmacist by training, a medical office manager by day, and a writer by night. Her award-winning novel Soulmated debuts on 1/24/17. She enjoys traveling, craft beer, tea, and loves reading books—especially in cozy window seats. You might find her sneaking in a few paragraphs at a red light or connecting with other readers online.

Website: www.shailapatelauthor.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ShailaPatelWriter
Twitter: twitter.com/shaila_writes
Instagram: www.instagram.com/shailapatel94
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/shailapatel94

thatthingwecallheart-hc-e

Title: That Thing We Call a Heartshebakarim-sm
Author: Sheba Karim
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: May 9, 2017
Category-Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary

Synopsis: As Pakistani-American teen Shabnam falls for Jamie and begins to mend her friendship with her estranged best friend Farah, she learns powerful lessons about love and the true story of happened to her family during the 1947 Partition of India.

Bio: Sheba Karim’s first YA novel was Skunk Girl. Her third, The Road Trip Effect, will be out in 2018. She has an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and lives in Nashville, TN.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shebakarimwriter/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/shebakarim

when-dimple-met-rishi-front

Title: When Dimple Met Rishisandhya-menon-with-filter_443x375
Author: Sandhya Menon
Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
Category-Genre: Yong Adult –  Romantic Comedy

Synopsis: A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

Bio: Sandhya Menon is the author of the upcoming YA novels WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI (Simon Pulse/May 30, 2017) and THE STORIES WE TOLD (Simon Pulse/Summer 2018). She was born and raised in India on a steady diet of Bollywood movies and street food, and pretty much blames this upbringing for her obsession with happily-ever-afters, bad dance moves, and pani puri. Sandhya currently lives in Colorado, where she’s on a mission to (gently) coerce her husband, son, and daughter to watch all 3,220 Bollywood movies she claims as her favorite.

Twitter: http://bit.ly/sandhyatwitter
Instagram: http://bit.ly/sandhyainsta
Facebook: http://bit.ly/sandhyamenonbooksfb

saints-arc-cover

(not final cover art)

Title: Saints and Misfitssajpic-copy
Author: S. K. Ali
Publisher: Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: June 13, 2017
Category-Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary

Synopsis: Saints and Misfits follows Janna Yusuf, a geeky, hijabi Arab-Indian-American girl, as she navigates high school and the possibility of first love—even though Muslim girls aren’t supposed to date, right? She’s trying to figure herself out, along with her place in the world, especially if that means revealing a shattering secret that just might send ripples through her tight-knit Muslim community.

Bio: S. K. Ali was born in south India. She lived there until the age of three, at which point she found herself in Montreal, Canada. After a brief stint learning how to read, write and paint, all in French, she made her way to Toronto, where she ended up getting a degree in Creative Writing.

Twitter: @sajidahwrites
Website: skalibooks.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15615126.S_K_Ali

July 28, 2016

South Asian Kidlit 2016

Hope you summer as been relaxing. My life seems to be a bit all over the place with writing conferences, kid camps, vacation … can’t believe summer is half over. Yesterday I did a guest post on South Asian kidlit for We Need Diverse Book’s Looking Back series. While researching for that post I felt a little sad and lost that there were no South Asian books that really made a difference in my formidable years. In fact only this past year when I watched the film MEET THE PATELS did I even realize what I was missing. What it’s like to see yourself, your experiences, your thoughts reflected in a mirror. It was wonderful. Now that we have a formidable South Asian population with people venturing into the arts, I think we’ll see an uptick in South Asian representation.

South Asian Kidlit 2016

Today I would like to shine a spotlight on some fantastic books by South Asian children’s writers that are being released in 2016. These books are traditionally published and are either by a South Asian author, contains a South Asian Main Character, or involves South Asian culture. The books are organized by Category and then Publication Date.

BU cover GroundwoodTitle: Book Uncle and Meuma

Author: Uma Krishnaswami
Illustrator: Julianna Swaney
Publisher: Groundwood Books
Publication Date: September 1, 2016
Category-Genre: Chapter Book

Synopsis: Nine-year-old Yasmin means to read a new book every day for the rest of her life. When her favorite lending library is threatened, she has to take her nose out of her book and do something! Explores themes of community activism and friendship in a city in contemporary India.

Bio: Uma Krishnaswami was born in India. She is the author of more
than 20 books for children. Uma teaches in the MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults, Vermont College of Fine Arts, and lives in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
Web site: http://umakrishnaswami.org

seatTitle: Save Me a SeatGita pic 1

Author: Gita Varadarajan & Sarah Weeks
Publisher: Scholastic Press, New York
Publication Date: May 2016
Category- Genre: Middle Grade – Realistic Fiction

Synopsis: Joe has lived in the same town all his life and was doing just fine until his best friends moved away and left him on his own. Ravi’s family just moved to America from India, and he’s finding it pretty hard to figure out where he fits in. Joe and Ravi don’t think they have anything in common- but soon enough they have a common enemy (the biggest bully in their class) and a common mission: to take control of their lives over the course of a single crazy week.

Bio: Gita Varadarajan was born and raised in India and moved to the US five years ago. She has worked with children all over the world in India, the UAE, and now teaches second grade in Princeton NJ. She lives in West Windsor, New Jersey with her husband, Arun and two teenage sons. This is her first novel.
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/gita.varadarajan
Twitter:https://twitter.com/gitavarad1

Untitled-4Title: Mirror in the SkyAditiKhorana

Author: Aditi Khorana
Publisher: Penguin/Razorbill
Publication Date: June 21st, 2016
Category-Genre: YA – Contemporary/Speculative

Synopsis: An evocative debut, perfect for fans of The Leftovers and We All Looked Up, about the discovery of a mirror planet to Earth and how it dramatically changes the course of one Indian-American girl’s junior year.

Bio: Aditi Khorana has worked as a journalist, a researcher, and an entertainment research executive. She graduated from Brown University with a degree in International Relations and has an MA from the Annenberg School for Communications. She lives in Los Angeles California. Mirror in the Sky is her debut novel.
Website:www.aditikhorana.com
Twitter:@aditi_khorana
Instagram:aditi_khorana

Enter_Title_final_revealTitle: Enter Title Hererahul

Author: Rahul Kanakia
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: August 2nd, 2016
Category-Genre: YA – Contemporary

Synopsis: In order to score a book deal, an unscrupulous overachiever has to turn herself into a quirky, light-hearted YA novel protagonist. But after she’s caught plagiarizing an assignment, Reshma Kapoor will need to decide how far she’ll go to get a satisfying ending (Note: it’s pretty far).

Bio: Rahul Kanakia’s first book, a contemporary young adult novel called Enter Title Here out from Disney-Hyperion. Additionally, his stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Apex, Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, The Indiana Review, and Nature. He holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins and a B.A. in Economics from Stanford. Originally from Washington, D.C., Rahul now lives in San Francisco.
Blog: http://www.blotter-paper.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/rahkan

NewRaniCover_d02Title: Rani Patel in Full EffectIMG_1669

Author: Sonia Patel
Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press
Publication Date: October 11, 2016
Category-Genre: YA FICTION

Synopsis: Almost seventeen, Rani Patel appears to be a kick-ass Indian girl breaking cultural norms as a hip-hop performer but in truth, she’s a nerdy flat-chested nobody who lives with her Gujarati immigrant parents on the remote Hawaiian island of Moloka’i. Her parents’ traditionally arranged marriage is a sham and her dad turns to her for all his needs—even the intimate ones. When Rani catches him two-timing with a woman barely older than herself, she feels like a widow and, like widows in India are often made to do, she shaves off her hair. This sets off a cascade of events and naive choices, including a relationship with an older man who leads her into an underground hip hop crew, that look like they will undo her but ultimately give her the chance to discover her strengths and restore the things she thought she’d lost, including her mother.

Bio: Sonia Patel is a child & adolescent psychiatrist. She was trained at Stanford University and the University of Hawaii. She lives and practices in Hawaii. Rani Patel In Full Effect is her first young adult novel.
Website: http://soniapatel.net/
Twitter: twitter.com/soniapatel808
Instagram: instagram.com/soniapatel808
Facebook: facebook.com/soniapatelauthor

timekeeperTitle: Timekeeper (Timekeeper #1)Author Photo_Tara Sim

Author: Tara Sim
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Publication Date: November 1, 2016
Category-Genre: YA Historical Fantasy-Steampunk

Synopsis: In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely. Clock mechanic Danny must figure out who’s bombing the towers around London or else risk losing the boy he loves forever. The stunning first novel in a new trilogy by debut author Tara Sim, Timekeeper is perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare and Victoria Schwab.

Bio: Tara Sim is the author of Timekeeper and can typically be found wandering the wilds of the Bay Area, California. When she’s not chasing cats or lurking in bookstores, she writes books about magic, clocks, and explosives.
Website: http://www.tarasim.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/EachStarAWorld
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TaraSimAuthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25760792-timekeeper?ac=1
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tssim53/
Tumblr: http://tarasimauthor.tumblr.com/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/tssim53/

December 26, 2015

My Love Note for I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN

There are some books you read to find out what happens, does the MC survive, escape, get the love of his. It’s thrilling, page-turning, keep you up at night. And there are some books which immerse you in character and place where the plot is slow going or more hum-drum.

giveyouthesunThen there is the 2014 Printz Winner, I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN by Jandy Nelson. Never before have I read a book that has engaged me at every level – character, plot, writing, and especially the space between what is said and unsaid. Borrowing Ms. Nelson’s words this book affects me “like a wave crashing over … completely submersed.” Of course in this case it’s a good thing. While the larger story arc of what happened between Jude and Noah moves the plot along. I read/listened to this book for the little things – Noah’s mind painting, Jude’s anecdotes, the lyrical language, turns of phrases, little surprises. In picture book writing we are told to make every word count, that is what Ms. Nelson did in this novel. This is not a to speed-read through to find out what happens, but to live and experience each breath, each moment with her unique, quirky, soulful characters. It is a journey, and a fantastical one at that.

I have found my new long-term career writing goal, which is to write a novel that is as engulfing and rich as this one. Thank you Ms. Nelson for the inspiration of what a story can be.

If you’ve already read the book, what were some of your favorite parts?

Find I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN at the following spots:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Goodreads
ISBN-10: 0803734964
ISBN-13: 978-0803734968

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January 31, 2012

Hunger Games Trilogy

Yeah, I finally finished the Hunger Games trilogy. The first book I zipped through, complete page-turner. With the second book, there were sections I had moments of zippiness. The third book, well lets just say there were so many twists and turns that it was hard to keep the momentum.

I think the reason why I like the first book “Hunger Games” the best is that there was a clear plot line. Yes I knew Katniss would survive, since there were two more books, but it didn’t matter. I was interested in the journey she was embarking upon. I felt the author delivered on that promise. She delivered a riveting story about a dismal world but with a ray of hope that Katniss and Peeta would make a difference in the world. To read more about my thoughts on the first book, see my earlier post.

The second book “Catching Fire“, I felt was like two stories clobbered together. In the first half of the book you learn more about the other Districts and the Capitol. You learn more about Panem as a whole, and the rebellious stirrings. This was intriguing and I was just zipping through it. Then half-way through the book changes focus onto the Quarter Quell Games, with Katniss and Peeta back in the arena again. I found this annoying, afterall I already know they are survivors of the game why do I need to see it again. I was like why are you delaying what I know will come later which is more stuff on the rebellion. This is what I want to know about. I think being a writer is starting to become an occupational hazard. When Plutarch showed Katniss his mockingjay pocketwatch at the Capitol party, I knew that was foreshadowing of something and that Plutarch was something more that what he appeared to be. I am glad my hunch was correct but it was only on the final few pages that I got confirmation. In the second book the love triangle is well in play, and certainly makes Katniss a less likable character for it. I do like Gale but can’t she see that Peeta is able to rise above it all and see things for what they really are. I didn’t really enjoy the way Haymitch and the others kept Peeta and Katniss in the dark about the bigger plans going on.

The third book “Mockingjay” is really about the war. I was so looking forward to learning about District 13. Some of it surprised me, but I will accept the author’s vision of it, like the overly strict rules. What I didn’t like was the manipulation of Katniss, and that President Coin didn’t seem much better than President Snow. I guess that was the point of the story. I was just hoping for something a bit more hopeful and less realistic then. I hated the idea of using “promos” as the method to fuel the rebel cause. Though it did provide us with some more insight into the characters. Prior to the end of book 2, I had just assumed the Capitol folks were just misguided and clueless, and I wanted the rebellion to be inspired from people within. In book three we find out that yes people from within the Capitol are rebelling but not because they figured it out for themselves but because they have connections to District 13. Okay fine I will accept that. But then later Finnick’s revelation about President Snow really annoyed me. All of sudden it made it seem as if the Capitol people were okay and the problem was just the bad dictator. As for the love triangle I am happy that Katniss realized what matters. As for Gale leaving without a word, I thought that was wrong and a bit out of character. Gale is not a coward and should have had one last conversation with Katniss for closure. As for Katniss’s mom, her character appeared to be growing through the story; I was disappointed by her final actions of not sticking by Katniss.

Despite my complaints about books two and three, it was an interesting trilogy. One I would still recommend to people. Looking back on my thoughts I think some are related to the author’s plot lines and the way the story was constructed; however the other half is probably related to characteristics she has given the people and the decisions they make. This latter part is probably more reflective of the way things do happen in our world today, maybe that is why I don’t like it. I want something better for our world. See my post “Reflections on Panem“, where I give my thoughts on the Capitol way of life.

To see an in-depth analysis regarding Katniss’s character read Tahlia’s post on the trilogy.

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January 25, 2012

Reflections on Panem

The Arts is about taking in experiences, places, sights, smells, ideas, and words from the world around, mixing it all up in your psyche, and then regurgitating it out in some art form. In this case writing. I once read a quote in a children’s book that I love.

by Trudi Trueit in Scab for Treasurer? (Secrets of a Lab Rat)

“… if you long to understand the world, read a book. If you long to understand yourself, then write one. “

So with this quote in mind, I write this post where I reflect on the world of Panem from the Hunger Games trilogy. (this is a spoiler post)

As I was reading the books, I kept playing connect the dots. Connecting something from Panem to our world. Here are some of the connections I made.

Capitol & the Districts
The districts each provide various resources or good for consumption to the Capitol. However the districts cannot use the goods directly themselves. District 11 was agriculture. Most of the stuff they produced went to the Capitol; the quality/variety of the food they ate was no better than District 12. The people in the districts had a low quality of living with few rights.

Seemed a lot like a history lesson on colonialism to me.

People in the Capitol
The citizens of the Capitol are depicted as being out of touch with reality. The districts exist to provide any needs or desires for the Capitol from food to electronic gadgets. The Capitol citizens are focused on appearances, what to wear, how to look, what to serve at a party. Little or no value for one’s natural bodies. A society where wrinkles cannot exist, people are artificially enhanced to be more alluring. Where little pills exist so you can throw up at parties, just for the sake of being able to eat more food.

The point about not knowing where your food comes from rings true for most of us who don’t work in agriculture. A year ago I watched the documentary Food Inc., which discusses the industrial style production of meat and poultry and its impact of on the environment. An eye-opening movie, one that I recommend watching.

The point about not knowing where your electronic good are made reminded me of the news articles regarding “sweatshop” conditions at electronic manufacturing companies in China. These are the places that build our smart-phones, MP3s, camera, etc. We all want lower cost electronics, but at what cost to the human condition.

As for the color of hair and tattoos. Ironically, I was at the salon having my hair highlighted while reading the book. I’d be lying if I didn’t feel a little superficial, after all who wants to be like the Capitol citizens. I did get a chuckle when I realized the other stylists at the salon had pink and green hair and tattoos.

The no wrinkles and artificial enhancements are clear references to the botox and plastic surgery trends.

Lastly, being able to vomit on a whim. Bulimia.

Putting on a Show
The Hunger Games as well as Mockingjay’s role in the rebellion, was produced like scenes for a show. The purpose for Unit 451 at the Capitol wasn’t to go kick some butt, but to shoot promos to air.

This reminded me off a movie, Wag the Dog, where Hollywood fabricated a war to subvert attention from a presidential scandal. On a more serious note, when we see movies/tv coverage about conflicts in the Middle East or Asia or anywhere, how much do we really get to see and who decides. Now with the Internet it is much easier to get different perspectives on a conflict.

So what does all this mean? Is Panem an extreme version of our world hundreds of years from now. I certainly hope not. Instead, I see it as a mirror by which we can reflect on who we are, and maybe make some changes for the better along the way.

What do you think?

See my earlier post for my review of Hunger Games. Click here for my review of Catching Fire and Mockingjay.

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