Monday, February 14, 2011

Color Me Brown Valentine Links

Ok so none of these links have much to do with Valentine's Day. However I love all these links and I wanted to share the love with all of you and hopefully you will pass it on by sharing these links with others and leave comments.

Christopher Grant is featured in the New York Daily News talking about how the subway & his debut, Teenie are connected.

"Being on the subway helps me get my creative juices flowing - seeing people interact with each other," said Grant, 33. "The conversations are like gold."

Raised by a single mom in an East Flatbush home where three of his aunts also briefly lived, Grant said, "If anybody could write that story and capture the voice of the opposite sex, I thought I could pull it off."

While most adults try to tune out the often rowdy afterschool crowd on the subway, Grant listened in.

"You'll see all these people annoyed because they're loud, but it's like classical music to me," Grant said. "I would hear the interactions and certain words, and I would channel that."

One scene in the book - where a subway spat between two girls ends in a vengeful reveal - is a tale straight from the train.

Sarwat Chadda, a YA author has a fabulous new trilogy to announce; the Ash Mistry trilogy. And it's Indian fantasy. Yes please!

I grew up reading myths about Greek heroes, about Vikings, Normans and Saracens, stories of Sinbad and King Arthur, and I’ve loved them all. But where were my heroes? My parents immigrated to England from the Indian Subcontinent and growing up in the 1970’s I had no heroes that I could call mine except Mowgli. The only Indian in children’s literature and he was over a hundred years old. Even Kim, Kipling’s other great child hero, is actually Irish.
I wanted heroes like me, but not labelled as ‘ethnic’. Ash is a bagger and tagger; he fights demons and is a plain and simple action hero. He’s not worried about having an arranged marriage or being in a Bollywood movie.

I was in my twenties before I came across the vast mythology of India and it blew me away. How could this stuff not be better known? Why weren’t kids reading about Rama, Arjuna, about demon-slaying Kali and flute-playing Krishna? The mythology of India is immense and current. It’s being celebrated today and yet we know so little. Why isn’t it as mainstream as any of the Greek or Norse legends?

Oh Kirkus. They decided to jump on board and say that It's Time for more YA for people of color. Better late than never, yes?

Similarly, it is easy for me to find those more literary teen offerings that describe a spectrum of social and familial challenges—some familiar, some not—and feature characters with lives that both resemble and differ from my own. More often than not, it is among these novels that I find the stories that speak to the experiences of people of color, whites living in poverty and characters of multiple ethnicities.

These characters don’t typically make their way out of the problem novel and into the popular-fiction world where I do most of my reading. I’m not sure if this is a problem I can blame on publishers or readers of YA literature.

Where are the people of color in popular YA literature? Where are the paperback originals and popular novels for teens who take diverse communities, situations and characters of color for granted?

A review of Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin over at OCD, Vampires and Rants, oh my! It sounds like a great read, I want :)

While Butterfly Swords is marketed as a romance, it has a strong plotline full of politics, swordfights, and family dynamics that give the book a wider audience than the standard romance. The worldbuilding is beautiful, with the sort of details that enrich the world and make it memorable without bogging the story down. The attention to the swordplay and fighting scenes makes them a particularly important element of the story, and Lin reveals a lot about their characters simply by the way they fight. In some cases, the swordfights show more than a conversation could.

It takes talent to take what could be typical romance characters and breathe life into them so they not only feel real, but unique and endearing. Ai Li is a sheltered, upper-class maiden with a tendancy for stubbornness; she's also a warrior who's trained with swords all her life and is more concerned with the honour of her marriage than the fact that she's never met the groom. Ryam is a hardened and bitter fighter with a sketchy past; he's also a wanderer with nothing to his name but his skills and his father's sword.

Our very own Doret had a guest post at Diversity in YA (which is quite possibly the coolest author tour in the history of the world)

The only way this is going to change if people actively seek out Black YA authors. Should you not read a book with a Black protagonist because the author is White? No, that’s absurd. Should you try a little harder to find and read books written by Black authors? Absolutely.

Does the race of the author really matter if the characters are Black? YES. There’s nothing wrong about noticing race or gender, or anything else that sets us apart. It’s what you do after noticing that matters, but please know who you are reading. Don’t read blindly.

Seeking out and reading authors different from ourselves is a very good thing. It makes our differences seem that much smaller, bringing us closer together.

I have a few more treats in store for you later this week because the past few weeks have produced some AWESOME links. Share your own links in the comments.


tanita davis said...

:) The writer on Kirkus appears to be another blogger like Leila or Trisha who simply writes for them - that's not Kirkus saying anything in particular, so they're still behind the 8-ball.

Butterfly Swords sounds REALLY good. Thanks for the links.

Bonn Group said...

Check out the “Black Online News Network” (BONN) . BONN is the largest network of online news portals to date targeted to African Americans. Its current digital network consists of 100 unique and interconnected web sites covering a wide range of today’s hottest topics on the radars of African Americans worldwide.

Shvetu said...

I was so excited to discover Sarwat's new trilogy! That's exactly what I want to see more of, and what I am trying to write myself. Yippeeee!