Thursday, November 19, 2009

COLA: Lyn Miller-Lachmann

Blogger: Lyn Miller-Lachmann

Blog name: Flip the Page: The No-Hype Book Blog

Web site: Lyn Miller-Lachman

Regular features: The site contains information about MultiCultural Review and the works of fiction that I have authored or edited—Once Upon a Cuento (Curbstone Press, 2003), an anthology of stories for young people by Latino authors; my eco-thriller for adult readers, Dirt Cheap (Curbstone Press, 2006); and most recently, my critically acclaimed young adult novel set in Chile and the United States, Gringolandia (Curbstone Press, 2009). Also included are reading group discussion questions for Dirt Cheap and lesson plans and teachers guides for Once Upon a Cuento and Gringolandia.

Pub schedule. How frequently do you update your blog? I add entries every two weeks, though I take time off in the summer. Many of the blog posts report on my appearances in schools and libraries and on discussion questions and activities that worked well. Other posts highlight books of note for children and adults, particularly ones published by small presses that get too little attention from the mainstream media.

Post of note, something in particular you want readers to check out: My recent review essay on middle grade and young adult books that depict allies has gotten a lot of attention:"How To Be An Ally."

100 words or less how would you describe your work? Since I began teaching high school in New York City three decades ago, I have been interested in exploring and championing the diversity that makes us human. I have come at this goal in a variety of ways. Through two reference books and MultiCultural Review I have evaluated multicultural materials for quality and authenticity and highlighted those I feel worthy of widespread attention. I have written novels that explore intercultural relationships and the challenges faced by young people who have become activists for justice and human rights. I have been involved in activism for peace, human rights, and the environment and continue to teach as well.

100 words on less please share your thoughts on writing and activism:
Dirt Cheap and Gringolandia grew out of my involvement in environmental issues and my work with refugees from Central and South America, respectively. The story of a person is far more compelling than abstract arguments or statistics. For example, what made me come back to the manuscript of Gringolandia after I lost a contract with a major publisher years ago were the revelations at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo, the FOX show 24, and debates over the efficacy of torture—as if torture could ever be justified. I’ve seen what torture can do to a person and to his or her family, and that’s what I’ve tried to convey in the novel.

Top 5 reads for 2009? In addition to the two featured in “How to Be an Ally,” my favorite MG and YA novels of the year are Debby Dahl Edwardson’s Blessing’s Bead, Zetta Elliott’s A Wish After Midnight, Marge Pellegrino’s Journey of Dreams, Francisco X. Stork’s Marcelo in the Real World, and Neesha Meminger’s Shine Coconut Moon.

What do you hope readers will gain, find or enjoy because they’ve visited your blog? I’d like readers to learn about the various aspects of my work on behalf of multicultural literature, intercultural understanding, and human rights and how all of these come together. Even my environmental novel, Dirt Cheap, ties into these themes in its exploration of how people create in the face of long odds a diverse ad hoc community to seek justice. Having been a teacher for many years, I’d like people to examine the various reading guides, lesson plans, and reports on school and library visits to get an idea of how fiction can be used in a variety of social and educational settings.

Thanks, Lyn.


Doret said...

I really enjoyed Gringolandia.

Lyn also gives wonderful suggestions. If she says a book is good then its very good.

MissAttitude said...

Lyn I so agree with your top 5 reads for 2009 although I haven't read Blessing's Bead yet, I would add Gringolandia to this list!
You're very right, torture can't be justified. I've never watched 24 and I find it interesting that it helped inspire your novel!
For some reason my computer can't acces How to Be An Ally =(

MissAttitude said...

Nevermind I found the How to Be An Ally. Really great article. I very much want to read Magic and Misery! And I'm going to keep my eye out for the Baxters as well

zettaelliott said...

Doret's so right--if Lyn recommends a book, you're going to love it! Plus, she knows all the ins and outs of the publishing industry, and does all she can to help other writers. I'm looking forward to reading Tina's story in the companion book to Gringolandia!

Neesha Meminger said...

I'm reading Gringolandia now, and it is, without a doubt, one of the most gripping stories I've read. Keep writing, Lyn!

Anonymous said...

It is certainly interesting for me to read that blog. Thank you for it. I like such themes and anything that is connected to them. I definitely want to read a bit more on that blog soon.

Lyn Miller-Lachmann said...

Thank you for the wonderful presentation! And thank you to all the folks who've read and appreciated Gringolandia.

I've been out of town a lot this month for family reasons and have yet to add November's blog entries. But I'm working on some ideas. And I'm considering moving my blog to a site that has a comment function to create more of a dialogue.

I do encourage guest posts, however. Last year, I ran a fascinating guest post summarizing a panel on how the CIA infiltrated cultural organizations, including publishing houses, in the 1950s to promote certain authors and their messages. While the blacklists of the period are well-known, less is known about the PR efforts used to anoint approved authors.