Male Monday: Vivek Shraya

Congratulations to Tara and Evelyn, winners of copies of Jazz in Love by Neesha Meminger!!

I’m going to combine Male Monday and UndercoverMonday today by featuring the work of a young man of Indian descent who currently lives in Canada.

I recently became aware of  Vivek Shraya when I posted the 2010 Rainbow Project book list. Seeing that  Shrya’s God Loves Hair was self published and managed to achieve such recognition, I had to get a copy of the book. I’m glad I did!  He’s a very small sample from this thin but moving book.

I love when colours join forces. The smell of wax and invincible possibilities when opening a new box of crayons. Or rainbows. Like my Smurfs rainbow belt and neon rainbow suspenders. But if I had to choose just one, ok two, then I would say yellow is my favorite colour and purple is my favorite colour to wear. My mom tells me I am “a winter” which apparently means, I look good in dark “winter” colours like black (not white), navy blue and purple. To me purple is more spring like lilacs or the flavour of grapes.

I plead with my parents for a Starter baseball hat in the same way I pleaded for a New Kids On The Block sweatshirt –  until they relent. I am clueless about baseball and don’t really understand the point of sports. A ball being hit or thrown or kicked around doesn’t captivate me the way Nancy Drew books do. But all the other boys in my class have these hats. This cluelessness proves to be critical as my parents and I are standing in front of rows and rows of hats at the store. I am dizzy from the options and the thought of buying a hat of an unpopular team. After what feels like an hour of torturous indecision, I lean on my aesthetic sensibility, and reach for the purple Los Angeles Lakers hat. I have no idea who the LA Lakers are or if they are any good, but at least the hat looks nice. I place it on my head. It feels too big even though my mom adjusted the strap in the back. The three of us look at my reflection in the store mirror.

I am one of the boys now.

God loves hair is a collection of stories  that combines coming of age and sexual awareness in the context of Hindi faith and tradition. Illustrated by Juliana Neufeld.

UPDATE:  Visit this page on Shraya’s website to order your copy of the book.

MaleMonday is a meme started by Ari @ Reading in Color


We’re getting snow storms here once or twice a week.  A few began with predictions of as much as 8″ of snow but dwindling in reality to a 2-4″ fall, accumulating over a 24 hour period. We’re ignoring the forecasters and just waiting to see what will really fall.  Now, “The monster” is predicted for this  Tuesday through Thursday. We’ll see, especially since late winter snowfalls in central Indiana have an invisible line with rain on one side, snow on the other and ice in the middle. We don’t know if we’ll get snow or ice. What I don’t want is for it to begin at 5 am so I have to drive to work on the streets fresh with new slickness.  We’ll see!

It didn’t snow this weekend! Friday, I babysat my nephew who was eager to show me all the new manga in the current Shonen Jump. I’m so thankful for his interest in these books! It keeps him reading and keeps my library well stocked. He may only be in the 6th grade, but his appreciation of shonen (boy) manga is just what I need to find new books.

Saturday, I was at the Indiana Youth Literature Conference. Even with the big name authors and illustrators they were able to bring in, the crowd was quite small and intimate and I really appreciated that.  I’m just going to randomly share a few of the highlights of the conference.  I was able to speak with AASL President, Carl Harvey. Unfortunately, our time was spent discussing news that negatively impacts schools and librarians rather than noting accomplishments and achievements. Nonetheless, we’re both so optimistic about the future because of our belief in libraries.

Patricia McCormick delivered a stirring presentation on her research for Sold. She said that in having the “audacity to trying to write about a culture outside my own, I really had to go there. To smell the smells.”  She spoke of her debt to the women and girls who opened their hearts to her and what she owed them for this. I was so glad to hear this because I had been wondering how one takes and tells another’s story. What debt do they feel?  Her next book, Killing Fields, is set in Cambodia and will be available in December 2011. She’s one of the few authors whose books I will buy blindly.

Andrea and Brian Pinkney opened the conference with a collaborative presentation “Words and Art: The Perfect Marriage” which set a wonderful, energetic feel for the day. If I were planning a conference, it would be YA heavy. I would miss the biographical picture books that pull in visual learners and add a complexity to stories. I would ignore illustrators and would miss the real power of storytelling. I wouldn’t hear Brian Pinkney describe how he puts motion in his work, tell that he uses his family as models or see the wonderful, loving way this couple transcend art and business to create art. I’m glad I attend rather than plan!

Andrea said to be on the lookout for a new Latino initiative from Scholastic. If I watched educational programming on PBS, I could tell you who is writing this new series that begins with a story about he Young Lords, but I don’t! She also said to watch for a debut by Augusta Scattergood.

This week, what we need to watch for is the 2011 premiere of 28 Days Later! The first feature will be Ebony Joy Wilkins, author of Sellout. I hope you’re joining us on the African American ReadIn? If you have a suggestion for a discussion format, please head over to Ari’s blog.  And we need to celebrate the Year of the Golden Rabbit! 2011 is the year of XinMao



I bet you thought I was going to mention that all this books are coming out today?

The Meltdown (Drama High Series) by L. Divine; Dafina, 25 January

Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves; Simon Pulse; 25 Jan.   excerpt

Blessed by Cynthia Leitich Smith; Candlewick, 25 January

Or that this is is the last week to register to win a copy of Jazz in Love by Neesha Meminger?

Or that the BrownBookshelf list is up for February?


I’m going to tell you that the Indiana Youth Literature Conference is this weekend and I can’t wait to meet Brian Pinkney, Andrea Davis Pinkney and Patricia McCormick.

And that registration closes for the McConnell Conference on 11 February. Matt de la Pena, Sharon Draper and Rafael Lopez will be presenting under the theme “Diverse Directions in Youth Literature

and the following from Purdue University proud home of the Boilermakers (and much of my hard earned money in the form of “tuition”)

The Purdue University Black Cultural Center in conjunction with the Native American Education and Cultural Center will be sponsoring an educational and cultural tour to Indianapolis on Saturday, March 5, 2011.  Participants will visit the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, attend the theatrical production of “Neat” by Charlene Woodard at the Indiana Repertory Theatre and enjoy a soul food dinner.  We are inviting alumni from the Indianapolis area to join the tour and meet informally with Purdue students.

The Eiteljorg Museum contains one of the best Native American and Western art collections in the world including traditional and contemporary work.  A special exhibition “Red/Black:  Related through History” will be on display.  The Red/Black exhibition explores the often overlooked but historic ties and interactions of African and Native Americans.  The theatrical production we will attend is NEAT by Charlayne Woodard.  The production is a one-woman show set in the Civil Rights era.

The total cost for the BCC Indianapolis tour is fifty dollars ($50.00) per person which will cover admission fees, and dinner.  We will arrive at the Eiteljorg Museum at approximately 12:30 and the production at the Indiana Repertory Theatre starts at 5:00pm.  Some alumni have expressed interest in just joining us for the evening activity at the theatre.  Registration form is attached.

For more information on the Red/Black exhibit, click here

That’s what I was going to tell you!! Have a terrific Tuesday!



SundayEveningReading SPECIAL EDITION!!

The votes are in! 61  participants decided what will be the first book in the African American Read-In sponsored by Miss Attitude/Ari, Doret and myself!

Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves will be the book we’ll be reading and discussing!!  Doret and Ari have read and thoroughly enjoyed Bleeding Violet and I’ll be downloading to my Nook very soon. I’ve enjoyed showing this video of Ms. Reeves to my students to excite them about the possibilities for young writers of color. Ari has this great interview with the author which she posted in May.  Last January, Doret posted this review of the book. Somewhere, I recently read Ms. Reeves described as the “Lady GaGa of YA”. She’s breaking stereotypes and bringing a fresh voice to YA fiction. Don’t miss the chance to discover this new voice!

I have to mention that Wish After Midnight by Zetta Elliott trailed by one single vote! While we’ll be featuring one book, do consider reading Wish or any of our other wonderful selections! Doret has an excellent rundown on each of the books.

Whether you buy Bleeding Violet from your local bookseller or request it from the library, I hope you’ll read it and join us in discussing this book!  Check back for the specific date and location of the chat which will be in February.


Good morning!

This is the last week to register for a chance to win one of two copies of Jazz in Love by Neesha Meminger!

I have a short post here today because my neck is killing me. I”ve been working on a middle school book order at work this past week, consequently spending way too much time online. I’ve got some great books coming in such as the new Urban Underground series by Anne Shraff, another book in the Babygirl Daniels series, some earlier Mitali Perkins books and

Click to read a review

some very new books which include How Lamar’s Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy by Crystal Allen, The Great Wall of Lucy Wu by Wendy-Wan-Long Shan,  and Cyborg (The Clone Wars) by Patricia and Fred McKissak.
I’ve decided to join IndyReads and become a Literacy Tutor. I think acquiring skills to teach teens and adults how to read is almost a necessity to me as a 21st century librarian. (Ironic, huh?) I’m not looking forward to the late night training all this week and I’m trying to find excuses for not going when I see  a story on the news about a new superhero, Electron Boy. He’s a 14 year old boy born with half a heart, no spleen and fetal alcohol syndrome. He was adopted at an early age and now is unfortunately suffering from a rare and incurable cancer that is spreading throughout his body. When approached by the Grant A Wish Foundation, young Erik Martin said he wanted to be able to run faster and jump higher so that he could help other people. Electron Boy was born! He’s saved Seattle! A comic books is available which features this young superhero while raising funds for the Martin family. He also has a fanpage on FB.
OK, so I’m done complaining about giving up twelve measly hours this week so that I can help others learn to read.
I’m curious: What are some of the causes that you seen or participated in that help promote literacy?


Essentials: Asian American

I’m sorry it’s take me so long to conclude these core lists for teens of color. I’ve proposed my lists for Latino/as and Middle Eastern and Native Americans. Today, I’d like you to consider my Asian Pacific Islander American list.  This was not an easy one!

I’ve consulted several sources in compiling this list, including  Dr. Virginia Loh Hagan’s “Quantity and Quality: The Need for Culturally Authentic Trade Books in Asian-American Young Adult Literature.” The ALAN Review 34.1 (2006): 36-83. and Lisa Wong Macabasco’s “Teens First, Asian American Second” in the online Hyphen Asian America Unabridged. The completely different assessment found in these articles made perfect sense to me. As an African American, I want those in other ethnic groups to understand my differences as much as I want them to understand my similarities.

Again, we’re dealing with a HUGE territory and many different cultures!! This selection attempts to go wide, not deep. No, there is no manga. I think I’d have to create a list almost as long as this to give fair representation to the genre.  If  there are absolute must haves, do please tell me what you think!  Hopefully, these introductory readings will leave readers wanting more!

Born Confused by Tanuja Dasai Hidier

Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins

Shine, Coconut Moon by Neesha Meminger

Adventures on the Ancient Silk Road by Priscila Galloway and Dawn Hunter

Escaping the Tiger by  Laura Manivong
The Analects of Confucius by Confucius (Author),Simon Leys (Translator)
Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier
Chenxi and the Foreigner by Sally Rippin
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
No No Boy by John Okada
Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter Adeline Yen Mah
A Step from Heaven; The Fold by An Na
Native Speaker by Chang-rae Lee
Kira Kira by Cynthia Kadohata
The Art of Inuyasha by Rumiko Takahashi
Good Enough by Paula Yoo
Samurai Shortstop by Alan Gratz
Stop Me if You’ve Heard This One Before by David Yoo
When My Name Was Keoko by Linda Sue Park
Snow Falling in Spring: Coming of Age in China During the Cultural Revolution by Moying Li-Marcus
Alive in the Killing Fields: Surviving the Khmer Rouge Genocide by Nawuth Keat
Golden  Mountain Chronicles series; Dragonwings by Laurence Yep
Nothing but the Truth (and a Few White Lies); Girl Overboard by Justina Chen Headley
Gangsta We Are All Looking For by Lê Thi Deim Thúy
I Love Yous are for White People by Lac Su
Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston
Name Me Nobody by  Lois-ann Yamanaka
Necessary Roughness by  Marie G. Lee
Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit by Nahoko Uehashi Hardcover
Mr. Pip by Lloyd Jones



2011 National African American Read-In

The Twenty-Second National African American Read-In

Sponsored by the Black Caucus of NCTE and NCTE

In February 2011, you may hold an African American
Read-In event any day of the month


Tuesday, February 1-Monday, February 28, 2011


Over the years, I’ve sponsored several African American Read-Ins in my school media center but I never, ever considered holding one online. Doret (The Happy Nappy Bookseller) is a genius! Thanks to her foresight, she, Ari (Reading in Color)  and I will be sponsoring an online African American Read-In. It’s simple! go over to Ari’s blog before Friday 21 January to help select which of six books we’ll be reading. Vote on which dates work best for you and tell us which online discussion forum works best for you. Anyone and everyone is invited to join us!

The choices are:

Tyrell by Coe Booth
A Wish After Midnight by Zetta Elliott
Yummy by G. Neri
Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
Jumped by Rita Williams Garcia
When the Black Girl Sings by Bil Wright