Released last week, The Magnolia Swordis the first young adult novel to reimagine the ballad of Mulan. We interviewed bestselling author Sherry Thomas on what piqued her interest in writing about Mulan and the different iterations of the beloved woman warrior in pop culture.
What was your approach when researching for The Magnolia Sword? What resources or organizations did you turn to while writing the story?
Sherry Thomas: I consulted everything from reddit threads to academic publications, along with various sources in the Chinese language, including my personal copy of Chinese Idiomatic Expressions Dictionary.
Northern Wei, the time period typically agreed on for the setting of the Ballad of Mulan, is not a major dynasty. So I would get whole books on food, clothing, etc. in ancient China and be able to use only a few pages. (Thank goodness for interlibrary loans!)
Another important source of research is actually Google Earth, which allows me to investigate the actual shape and elevation of the terrain that I would put my character into, and see photos people have taken of the general area. Continue reading →
We’re closing out our Summer Reading “For Fans Of” series with our last age group, grades 6 to 8! In our last post, we posed some questions that could ask to get kids thinking across their texts to keep their brains energized during the summer. Additional questions and probes are listed below:
How did the authors use symbolism in their books? What were some of the symbols in the two books? Did they relate in any way? Why or why not?
Did the main characters change over the course of the books? How?
What big lesson did you learn from this book? How did that impact you?
We’re excited to reveal the full cover for Indian No More, a moving middle grade novel about Regina, a ten-year-old Umpqua girl, whose family is forced to relocate from Oregon to Los Angeles during the Indian termination era of the 1950s. Written by the late Charlene Willing McManis, and completed by author Traci Sorell, Indian No More (September 2019) draws upon Charlene’s own tribal history and we are so excited to see it all coming together!
In this blog post, editor Elise McMullen-Ciotti dives into the symbolism and meaning behind the cover of Indian No More and how the cover came to be.
It’s the new year, and what better way to bring in the new year than to check out new and exciting books coming out in 2019! Here’s a sneak peek of our Winter and Spring 2019 titles ranging from delightful picture books to heart-pounding middle grade.
Author Guadalupe García McCall’s debut Under the Mesquite came out seven years ago, but she has continued to take the young adult world by storm, going on to win the Pura Belpré Award for Under the Mesquite; winning multiple awards for her magical Mexican-American retelling of The Odyssey, Summer of the Mariposas; and earning wide acclaim for Shame the Stars, a retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet set during the Mexican Revolution.
Released this year, Guadalupe García McCall once again highlights a story that reflects her Mexican heritage and the rich history of Mexico with All the Stars Denied, a companion novel to Shame the Stars. We interviewed her to talk about this latest title as well as her writing process. Continue reading →
This fall we released a new graphic novel by Coretta Scott King award-winning author G. Neri called Grand Theft Horse, which retells the life of his cousin Gail, a pioneer who challenged the horse racing world for the sake of one extraordinary horse. The graphic novel has already received two starred reviews:
“The graphic novel world isn’t full of true stories about nearly sixty-year-old, women of color who refuse to back down from wealthy, white men exploiting (and further corrupting) a corrupt system. Grand Theft Horse feels all the more timely and urgent because of it.” —Booklist starred review
“Superb. Ruffu’s tenacity and the book’s satisfying conclusion will appeal to fans of John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell’s “March” trilogy.” —School Library Journal starred review
In this blog post, author G. Neri shares some of the inspiration behind his newest graphic novel.
Each year, WorldCon (the World Science Fiction Convention) gathers fans and creators of science fiction and fantasy. Among many things that happen at WorldCon is the awarding of the Hugos, something like the Oscars for speculative fiction. The first convention took place in New York City in 1939, and every year after, it has been held in a different city, organized by volunteers. In 2018, Worldcon 76 was held in San Jose, California.
Now, the thing to remember is that people of color—especially Latinx folx—have been largely absent from WorldCon during its 76 years. But this year, one of the guests of honor was illustrator John Picacio, the first Mexican American to win a Hugo (and first to serve as MC). He wanted to make sure Mexicans and Mexican Americans would be there in significant numbers.
So John founded the Mexicanx Initiative, at first intending to sponsor just a couple of key creators. But when he announced it, a dozen or so movers and shakers in the world of SF/F stepped up to contribute, and before long there was enough support to bring FIFTY Mexicanx writers, illustrators, megafans, etc. Guadalupe García McCall and David Bowles were invited to be part of this stellar group. They were placed on panels, brought into the spotlight, allowed to stand on the stage in solidarity with Dreamers and refugees.
Released in 2012, Cat Girl’s Day Offintroduces readers to Natalie (Nat) Ng, a typical teenager…except for the fact that she can talk to cats, which she tries very hard to hide. When one of her best friends, Oscar, shows her a viral Internet video featuring a famous blogger being attacked by her own cat, Nat realizes what’s really going on. Soon her and her friends are caught in the middle of a celebrity kidnapping mystery that takes them through Ferris Bueller’s Chicago and on and off movie sets.
Now we’re excited to release a new paperback version of Cat Girl’s Day Off. Check out the new cover below! Continue reading →
Six years ago, we released Summer of the Mariposasfrom our Tu Books imprint. Set in Texas, Summer of the Mariposas is a Mexican retelling of the Odyssey, but it’s also a celebration of sisterhood and maternal love. It went on to win numerous awards, including the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Finalist, Lone Star Reading List, and the Amelia Bloomer Project – Feminist Task Force.
Now, we’re excited to say that this beautiful story has been translated into Spanish! We’re releasing El verano de las mariposasthis May, and it will be our first young adult novel to be translated into Spanish. We interviewed author Guadalupe García McCall and translator David Bowles on the translation process, what it was like working together, and their upcoming projects. Continue reading →
Last October was the release of Ahimsa by New Visions Award winner Supriya Kelkar. Inspired by her great-grandmother’s experience working with Gandhi, Kelkar shines a light on the Indian freedom movement in this poignant middle grade novel.
In 1942, after Mahatma Gandhi asks Indians to give one family member to the freedom movement, ten-year-old Anjali is devastated to think of her father risking his life for the freedom struggle. But it turns out he isn’t the one joining. Anjali’s mother is. And with this change comes many more adjustments designed to improve their country and use “ahimsa”—non-violent resistance—to stand up to the British government.
Accompanying this title is the Ahimsa Teacher’s Guide, which offers resources and tips on how to guide discussions on the Indian freedom movement, colonialism, civil disobedience, and the connection to the civil rights movement in the United States. Our teacher’s guide also features summary and background information, prereading and discussion questions, ideas for reader’s response and writing activities, strategies for ESL/ELL, and interdisciplinary activities and connections. Below we’ve shared a few prereading questions, discussion questions, and resources from the Ahimsa teacher’s guide. Continue reading →