Full name: Wendy Wan-Long Shang
Hometown: Fairfax, Virginia
Current location: Falls Church, Virginia
Website/Blog: wendyshang.com; I also belong to a blog of middle-grade writers called fromthemixedupfiles.com
Genre: middle-grade fiction
WiP or most recently published work: The Great Wall of Lucy Wu
Writing credits: The Great Wall of Lucy Wu, plus some legal publications. I have an article in The 4:00 Book Hook, a monthly e-newsletter on children's books, coming out next month.
How frequently do you update your site? monthly
Is your site designed for reader interaction? no
Post of note, something in particular you want readers to check out:
On the Mixed-Up Files, we really pride ourselves on covering everything related to middle-grade books. I was very proud to showcase a children's book club for teachers at my son's school. Here is the link.
Top 5 books that turned you into a writer?
Blubber, by Judy Blume: This was the first book I ever read that had a contemporary, Chinese-American character. This book taught me the importance of having characters that children can relate to.
Interpreter of Maladies, by Jhumpa Lahiri: Her prose is so delicate yet powerful. I have to say that the first time I read her work, I felt as though I was reading in a whole new way.
Take the Cannoli, by Sarah Vowell: Her work makes me laugh and think in equal measure. I would love to have that effect on a reader.
Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster: For me, Juster didn't color outside the lines. He invented new colors, and molded the lines into new dimensions. Rarely a day goes by without some quote from that book popping into my head.
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E.L. Kongisburg: Everything about this book is a marvel to me: the structure, the voice, the style. I love that in the midst of an incredible story, the author never lost sight of the hearts of the children.
100 words or less: How would you describe your work?
My work is about the modern Chinese-American experience, frequently with a humorous touch. In my book, Lucy Wu thinks she is about to have the best year of her life: she is about to rule the school as a sixth-grader and get her own room. When her dad announces that he's invited a long-lost aunt from China to stay in Lucy's room, however, she thinks that year is ruined. Lucy discovers that, just like the Chinese saying that things that look to be bad often turn out well, and vice-versa, her year may yet be wonderful.
100 words or less: Please share your thoughts on children and reading.
I believe that writing for children is a form of service. When you give a child a chance to see himself or herself reflected back in a book, whether it is by appearance or circumstance, you are telling that child, you are valued, you are not alone. When you give children the chance to see the world from a different point of view, you are also doing something valuable – you are allowing them to expand their perspective, their knowledge, their imagination and their heart.