Blog Tour and Book Giveaway: One of Us (Bravely Be You!)
May 28, 2010 in Book Club Possibility, Elementary Educators, Middle School Teachers, multicultural books, Picture Book, Preschool to 1st grade teachers, Un-Forgettable Friday Tags: Bamboo People, blog tour, Book giveaway, Mitali Perkins, One of Us, Peggy Moss, Penny Weber, Rickshaw Girl, Tilbury House
With this Tilbury House blog tour for One of Us, we are celebrating the theme “bravely be you!” The picture book, One of Us written by Peggy Moss and illustrated by Penny Weber is the story of Roberta who is starting a new school and trying to fit in. First, Roberta befriends the straight-up hair girls, and they tell her, “You are one of us!” until she does something different. Then she goes on the monkey bars, and those kids tell her, “You are one of us.” After she goes from group to group to group, she finally finds a group that likes to be different from each other.
**For a special treat, we have an interview with author Mitali Perkins, who has written books such as Bamboo People and Secret Keeper. Anyone who leaves a comment or question on today’s post will be entered to win one free copy of either One of Us by Peggy Moss or a signed copy of Rickshaw Girl by Mitali Perkins. Winners will be chosen randomly from the comments on Monday morning. Now on to the interview. . .
Margo: In the picture book, ONE OF US, which we are celebrating today, this theme stands out in the wonderful text and lively, bright illustrations: “bravely be you.” How do you incorporate this theme into your own life?
Mitali: I love that statement. I want it on a t-shirt, please. It takes courage to be yourself, doesn’t it? For me, it means celebrating both sides of my hyphen as a Bengali-American.
Margo: I would buy a t-shirt like that! How do you incorporate “bravely be you” into your work?
Mitali: I try to model that hyphenated life–with all of its strengths and struggles–for the next generation as I speak and write for young people. I also try to speak prophetically into the mainstream of children’s publishing by staying close to the margins as much as possible. On my blog (mitaliblog.com), I raise issues about life “between cultures,” as I call it, review books, and host authors who might otherwise get overlooked.
Margo: Your blog sounds like a place where anyone can be free to be herself or himself. That’s awesome! Your next book is Bamboo People, which is due out July 1, 2010 from Charlesbridge. Tell us about this book–who should read it, a quick plot summary, and themes in the book.
Mitali: Who should read it? I hope adults and children ages 10 and up will enjoy this coming-of-age story and learn about the situation in modern-day Burma. The book features two main characters, Chiko and Tu Reh. Chiko isn’t a fighter by nature. He’s a book-loving Burmese boy whose father, a doctor, is in prison for resisting the government. Tu Reh, on the other hand, wants to fight for freedom after watching Burmese soldiers destroy his Karenni family’s home and bamboo fields. Timidity becomes courage and anger becomes compassion as both boys are changed by their chance meeting in the jungles along the Thai-Burma border. You may find out more at bamboopeople.org.
Margo: What a great setting–I’ve never read a book set in Burma. It sounds like a wonderfully thought-provoking book! What are some common threads that readers can find in all your books?
Mitali: I try to throw open windows into faraway places and hope that readers see themselves mirrored in my characters. We have so much in common as human beings despite our diversity. Courage. Family ties. Friendships. Tears. Laughter. Hope. Oh, and romance. I always include a bit of romance–I can’t help myself.
Margo: Well, I think everyone needs a little romance! Right? What are you working on next?
Mitali: Many ideas are rolling around in my imagination, but I plan to focus on a novel with a teen guy protagonist that explores some of the power dynamics in international adoption. I’m trying to write the book as a combo of a Bollywood movie and a video game, with a lot of humor and joy.
Margo: That sounds fantastic, and I personally look forward to it. Thank you so much for this wonderful interview, Mitali, and for donating a copy of Rickshaw Girl to the book giveaway contest. Readers, to find out more about Mitali, visit: mitaliblog.com, facebook.com/authormitaliperkins, and twitter.com/mitaliperkins. Remember to leave a comment below to be entered into the contest.