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Showing posts from November 26, 2009

Publishing Giant Acquires Giant Novel - Written by a Filipina!

Press release (originally posted at Into the Wardrobe on November 13, 2009):

David Fickling Books is enormously proud to announce the acquisition of a new stand-(tall)-alone novel, TALL STORY!

TALL STORY by Candy Gourlay is an outstanding and highly original novel for 10yrs+. The deal was negotiated by Hilary Delamere from The Agency and David Fickling.

This is a book about Bernardo, a boy who lives in the Philippines, and Bernardo is tall. Not just tall, he’s 8ft tall. Bernardo is actually a GIANT! In a novel packed with humour and quirkiness, Gourlay explores a touching sibling relationship and the comedic results of two very different cultures colliding.

Editorial director, Bella Pearson, knew there was something special from the first page: “It isn't often that I am in fits of laughter one minute and in tears the next - TALL STORY is one of the warmest, funniest, most moving books I've read in a long time - and Candy Gourlay is a rare and new voice in children's fiction. W…

Author Interview: Sang Pak

This was originally posted at Into the Wardrobe on November 11, 2009.


Today, I welcome debut author Sang Pak to Into the Wardrobe! Sang has English and Psychology degrees from the University of Georgia and is a denizen of Georgia, Southern California, and Seoul. His coming-of-age novel, Wait Until Twilight, was published in August. :o)

Sang, what motivates and inspires you to be a writer?

Writing makes me feel connected and gives me a sense of purpose and meaning.

Can you tell us a bit about your debut novel?

Wait Until Twilight is a story about a high school boy, Samuel, who comes across a set of deformed triplets and their psychotic adult brother. Samuel finds himself obsessing about the triplets, though he is repulsed by them. All this coincides with re-emerging emotional memories of his dead mother. It’s a southern gothic / coming of age tale full of grotesques, adolescent life, and violence.

Why did you write Wait Until Twilight? What's the story behind the story?

The story is ba…

Book Review and Author Interview: Chenxi and the Foreigner by Sally Rippin

This was originally posted at Into the Wardrobe on September 5, 2009.


"Every student watched Chenxi and the foreigner and every one of them had something to say about it."

It is April 1989 and eighteen-year-old San Francisco native Anna White is visiting her father in Shanghai. While in Shanghai, Anna, who is an artist, will learn traditional Chinese painting. One of Anna's classmates at the Shanghai College of Fine Arts, Chenxi, has been assigned as her translator and tour guide. Anna falls head over heels in love with the handsome, mysterious, and talented Chenxi.

There are student protests in China while Anna is there, and Chenxi is one of the students protesting the Chinese regime. When Anna is forced to return to the United States, the protests culminate in what the Chinese government calls the June Fourth Incident, but the Western world calls the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

Chenxi and the Foreigner, by Australian children's/YA author and illustrator Sally Rippin, i…

Playing It Safe by G.T. Los Baños

A Filipino YA novel in English

This was originally posted at Into the Wardrobe on August 12, 2009.


"It all began that day we went up against the Mountaineers for the interclub university softball championship. I guess knocking a girl unconscious with a softball is just about as weird as it gets when it comes to starting any sort of relationship, but anyway, here's how things happened on that crazy, glorious afternoon:

The game was sort of a grudge match: the two toughest organizations on campus, the Mountaineers and my team, the Outsiders, squaring off for the school's interclub softball championship."

Playing It Safe by G.T. Los Baños (Cacho Publishing House, 2007) is about sports, university life, and relationships. It's about Jon Garcia, a sophomore college student on the varsity wrestling team, and Sheila Prado, a member of the same university's varsity swim team, and how Jon falls for and pursues Sheila... Or is about how Jon falls for and fails to pursue Sh…

"I Hate My Mother!": Magnetic levitation, a grain of rice & 3 women

This was originally posted at Into the Wardrobe on August 6, 2009.

A Filipino YA novel in English


"I Hate My Mother!": Magnetic levitation, a grain of rice & 3 women (Cacho Publishing House, 2007) introduces readers to finding a mother's wisdom in a grain of rice, the parallel between human relationships and magnets, and Bell, her mother, and her sister Cory.

This book made me happy. Not because it's a bright and cheery novel - in fact it has its funny moments but is mostly a serious novel. But because good books make me happy, and this is definitely a solidly good book.

I have heard once that children love their parents and then love them again as adults. "I Hate My Mother!" is about that time in between, when teenagers "hate" their parents. Written in that unique way Filipino teenagers use English, and generously peppered with Filipino words and phrases, "I Hate My Mother!" traces the transformation of Bell's awe of her mother'…

Battle Royale by Koushun Takami

This was originally posted at Into the Wardrobe on July 30, 2009.

The 42 students (21 boys and 21 girls) of Third Year Class B, Shiroiwa Junior High School, in Shiroiwa Town, Kagawa Prefecture, the Republic of Greater East Asia, are normal fifteen-year-olds. They worry about school, they love spending time with their friends, they enjoy sports, and they are crazy about their crushes. But their fascist government is not "normal." In fact, it is cruel - very, very cruel. Every year, the government of the Republic of Greater East Asia randomly selects fifty third-year junior high school classes and forces them to participate in a battle simulation program. The students of Third Year Class B in Shiroiwa Junior High School think that they are on a study trip, but they have actually been selected to take part in the program. The class is drugged and brought to an abandoned island where they are forced to play a game. The game really only has one rule: Kill each other until only one…

Author/Illustrator Interview: Anne Sibley O'Brien

This was originally posted at Into the Wardrobe on July 13, 2009.


We're in for a real special treat today! Today, I have the honor and great pleasure of interviewing Anne Sibley O'Brien, an American author/illustrator who creates multicultural children's books.

Anne Sibley O'Brien was raised bilingual and bicultural in South Korea (as the daughter of medical missionaries). She has received the National Education Association’s Author-Illustrator Human and Civil Rights Award for her work with Margy Burns Knight, TALKING WALLS and other books; the Africana Award for AFRICA IS NOT A COUNTRY by Margy Burns Knight and Mark Melnicove; and the Aesop Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, and the Global Korea Award for THE LEGEND OF HONG KIL DONG: THE ROBIN HOOD OF KOREA, a graphic novel she wrote and illustrated. Her latest book is AFTER GANDHI: 100 YEARS OF NONVIOLENT RESISTANCE, which she illustrated and co-wrote with her son, Perry. (Click here for a complet…

Author Interview: S. Terrell French

This was originally posted at Into the Wardrobe on June 28, 2009.


In the heart of Mendocino County, California, there is a gorgeous stand of rare old-growth redwood trees known as Big Tree Grove. One of the redwoods has an amazing tree house. The front side of the tree house is a deck with long benches, the back is a little cabin with a pointed roof. There's a pulley seat to go up and down the redwood. The tree house is fortified with sleeping bags, walnuts, apples, water, peanut butter, bread, cheese, cereal, crackers, powdered milk, jam, and chocolate-chip cookies. Julian Carter-Li, Robin Elder, Danny Lopez, and Ariel Glasser - all ages 11-12 - are camped out in that tree house and they are NOT coming down until San Francisco-based IPX Investment Corp. agrees not to log in Big Tree Grove.

How did Julian, Robin, Danny, and Ariel meet and become friends? How did they find out about IPX's plans for Big Tree Grove? Why do they want to save the grove and how did they get their …

Shanghai Messenger

This was originally posted at Into the Wardrobe on May 30, 2009.


Each page in Shanghai Messenger (Lee & Low Books, 2005) has red Chinese screens framing poetry by Andrea Cheng and art by Ed Young. This beautiful picture book for children in the third to sixth grades tells the story of Chinese American Xiao Mei's first trip to China to visit her relatives.

I see my face
in the rice water,
two braids
hanging down,
fuzzy curls
all around,
half Chinese
half not.
In China
will people stare
at my eyes
with green flecks
like Dad's?
Will they ask
why didn't Grandmother
teach me Chinese?

Cheng's stirring free verse poems evoke Xiao Mei's fear about traveling to China all by herself, and her doubts from being surrounded by a language, people, and lifestyle that are strange to her. We also see Xiao Mei's love for her life in Shanghai really grow. When she returns to Ohio, Xiao Mei misses all of her relatives and longs for her family in America and her family in China to be together.

Y…

Author Interview: Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore

This was originally posted at Into the Wardrobe on May 29, 2009.

I am BURSTING with a lot of pride again today. Today I am chatting with Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore, author of the picture book Cora Cooks Pancit (illustrated by Kristi Valiant and published by Shen's Books this year). :D




Hi, Dorina! Welcome! Can you please tell us about your Asian American heritage?

I am a second generation Filipino-Italian American. My grandparents on my dad’s side emigrated from the Philippines to Hawaii. My grandpa, Frank Lazo, emigrated when he was a teenager to Hawaii where he later met his bride, Cora Taclindo. As I was growing up my grandparents and my dad were my link to my Asian heritage. My grandparents were instrumental in helping many other family members immigrate to the United States from the Philippines. They adopted the Hawaiian spirit of aloha and embraced people of all cultures. They celebrated both Filipino and Hawaiian culture through food, music and dance, passing this heritage on to t…

Author Interview: Edna Cabcabin Moran

This was originally posted at Into the Wardrobe on May 28, 2009.

Today, I am SO PROUD to present my interview with Filipino American author illustrator Edna Cabcabin Moran. *bursts with pride*

Welcome, Edna!!

Author/Illustrator, Edna Cabcabin Moran. Photo by Mark Moran.

Can you tell us a bit about your Asian American heritage?

My parents are from Eastern Samar, Philippines, an historic island in the Visayan island chain. My father was a U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer who brought my mom and older siblings to this country. I am the first American-born child in the family. Growing up, I always felt like I straddled two cultures. I'm very American in the way I dress, speak and carry myself. I don't know Tagalog and I lost touch with my parent's dialect, Waray Waray. However, I have strong cultural roots and have retained much of my Filipino-ness which includes a deep, abiding respect for the elders and their stories.

Perhaps the family meal is a good indicator of how one is raised…