Transitioning yet again from India to the US, it seems I can now blog in Hindi if I want to. Wait. Not on my Mac, I can't. Downloaded the little icon to my edit page and all, but nope, the PC-jinx turns my carefully crafted Namaste into a series of question-marks.
Children's Literature Association India is holding its second annual conference in Mangalore in January 2008. The theme is Politics and Polemics. An excerpt from the web site reads: "Children are told stories that would help them construct a world view, a cultural context, to define what they are and what they believe. Nevertheless, how much truth do we tell them? Do not adult politics and polemics creep in as dominant factors in children’s literature? Does children’s literature still promote racism, sexism, and class prejudice?" Great questions. The conference also sponsors a contest for young writers.
A late update: Pooja Makhijani on Cynsations. Pooja talks about her books and her work in bringing culturally specific writings into the common discourse. And mentions two biographies she's working on. One is of Dhan Gopal Mukerji, who won what Susan Patron's calling the Oldbery, back in 1928. More at the Newbery Project. I had to smile (while gritting my teeth, that is) at the caution: "The story does take place in India, and it's filled with lamas and monks and Hindu or Buddhist prayer and meditation." Um, yes. Such jittery concerns are why we need Pooja to do what she does. Pooja's other nonfiction interest is the life of Jean Bothwell, a Methodist missionary who worked in India, and wrote over 60 fiction and nonfiction books (The Mystery Candlestick, Omen for a Princess, and others) focused on that country. Omen is a much more robust, deeply felt rendering of the story of Jahanara, daughter of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal, than a more recent version.
A question. When is Viking (or someone) going to publish a US edition of Vandana Singh's utterly delightful YoungUncle in the Himalayas? YoungUncle Comes to Town continues to gather accolades.
Hedgebrook (Women Authoring Change) will be 20 years old in 2008.
You had to not be on the planet if you missed the tragic assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Here's a biography for young readers by Libby Hughes.
Peace in the New Year is probably way too much to ask for.