Earlier in the school year I visited P.S. 333, the Museum School, Bronx NY. It was the first day of school and I thought the teacher, Ms. Yvette Corsino, was brave to invite me to her second grade classroom on that day! I reached there in the afternoon and the kids were squirming as they settled down on the floor. I read two of my picture books and introduced them to my other books. It has been a couple of months since I saw the students but I I keep thinking about them, from the 4th grader who escorted me to Ms. Corsino’s class to all the bright faces you see in the pictures here.
I will be attending Tuscan Book Festival from March 10- 14. If you are in the area please stop by. For more information about the festival please go to: http://tucsonfestivalofbooks.org/
I have some great news to share!
Sona and The Wedding Game (illustrated by Yoshiko Jaeggi) was published this spring by Peachtree Publishers. It has received glowing reviews, including a starred review from Kirkus.
Tiger in My Soup has been selected by First Book as one of six books in its Stories for all Project!
First Book is a Washington, D.C. based nonprofit group that provides access to new books for children in need. To date, First Book has distributed more than 125 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families throughout the United States and Canada.
Last week, First Book announced its latest action in the Stories for All Project – they selected six titles that showcase characters and storylines often underrepresented in children’s literature and are making 10,000 copies of each title available in affordable trade paperback format for the first time ever. Tiger in My Soup is one of them!
The six books are:
Niño Wrestles the World, written and illustrated by Yuyi Morales, celebrates play and the power of the imagination through the unforgettable, underpants-wearing Niño.
And Tango Makes Three, written by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell and illustrated by Henry Cole, follows two male penguins in the Central Park Zoo through their fruitless efforts to hatch a rock.
Tiger in My Soup, written by Kashmira Sheth and illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler, features a young Indian-American boy determined to make his older sister read aloud his favorite story about a ferocious tiger.
Boats for Papa, written and illustrated by new author/illustrator Jessixa Bagley, explores the healing love between a child and parent.
Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, written by first-time picture book author Laurie Ann Thompson and illustrated by Sean Qualls, is an inspiring true story about triumph over adversity.
Knock Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me, written by Daniel Beaty and illustrated by Bryan Collier, is a heartbreaking and hopeful story about love and loss.
You can find more information about the books at: http://blog.firstbook.org/tag/tiger-in-my-soup/
As I was reading Dim Sum for Everyone by Grace Lin to my three-year old granddaughter her eyes lit up. She pointed at the picture of Mei-Mei and said, “She looks like me!” Her face beamed with pride as she studied the pictures. Slowly she pointed to different people, and said, “That’s Papa, that’s Mama, and that’s you!” The discovery that she was reflected in literature was thrilling and exciting.
I have shared many picture books with my granddaughter, including my own. During all this time, she has never identified with the protagonist. My picture book, My Dadima Wears a Sari, is about two Indian girls living in the United States. Even though my granddaughter is half Indian, she does look more like her dad who is from the Philippines, so she never identified with the young girls in my picture book. But as soon as she saw Mei-Mei, she felt a connection.
Every child needs to feel that connection. All children need some stories that have protagonists that look like them, have experiences that echo their lives, and share their concerns. This creates a bond that says, “Yes, someone understands me.”
As a multicultural writer I am well aware of all the discussion that has been going on in the children’s writing community about the need for multicultural literature. I posted something about it on my blog, too. Yet, when my granddaughter pointed out Mei-Mei, it made a deep impression. I will never forget the joy in her eyes.
I want to thank Elizabeth Caulfield Felt for interviewing me for her blog, Reading, writing, and no arithmetic! (I love the title because I had to work hard in my math classes.) Elizabeth asked some serious questions as well as some fun questions and I enjoyed answering them. If you are interested in the interview, please go to: http://elizabethcaulfieldfelt.wordpress.com/2014/08/01/author-interview-kashmira-sheth/