Bringing Asha Home was selected as one of Bank Street College's Best Children's Books of the Year.
The "Indian to Indian" talk really got me wondering if maybe it's time to rethink and reframe the discussion about multicultural books. No one writing for the adult literary market has to compete with Charles Dickens any more, but being that children's books hang around forever, I sometimes feel I'm still trying to compete with–well, Jungle Book. And so many schools and libraries still seem to espouse the idea of selecting books based mostly on the community's demographics. So this week my talk at the joint conference of the New Mexico/Mountains and Plains Library Associations in Albuquerque was titled Beyond Food, Flowers, and Festivals: Evaluating Culturally Specific Books. It featured a number of titles, including Vaunda Micheaux Nelson's Almost to Freedom, Cynthia Leitich Smith's Tantalize (some cultures are guaranteed to be new and surprising to all of us!), Janet Wong's Minn and Jake, Lulu Delacre's Rafi and Rosi, my Naming Maya and The Closet Ghosts, and others. Some you'd think of as "multicultural" books, and others you wouldn't. Download the handout here (pdf file)