Tuesday, February 14, 2017

a cancellation, a reminder and another event!

Unfortunately, my event in Wellesley in March is canceled (there was a family emergency amongst the organizers), but my event on Feb 23rd is still on!  And I have a new one in April.  If you are local, I hope to see you!

Thu, February 23, 2017
2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
111 South Street 
Plainville, MA 02762
register HERE!

I will also be a part of the 2017 Children's Literature Series.  Mount Holyoke College is hosting a program of talks by distinguished writers and illustrators, including one with yours truly! These are all free and open to the public. Please come!

Thursday, April 13 at 4pm
Cassini Rm, Shattuck Hall
Mount Holyoke College
This series is concurrent with Professor Corinne Demas's course, ENG 305: Writing Literature for Children. All talks are free, accessible, and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. 
For inquiries, please contact:

Rebecca Pittel '17 and Rand Abu Al-Sha'r '17: mhcchildrenslit@gmail.com 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Yarn Podcast

Just in case you missed it, a couple of days ago I posted about an episode I did on The Yarn podcast.  It's been ten years since Robert's death and while so much has changed and happened, there are so many things that have remained solid. One of those things has been my friendship with Alvina Ling, who you might know as Melody from The Year of the Dog. She is also my editor, most recently for When the Sea Turned to Silver--and that book is dedicated to her.  Listen here to find out why:


Monday, February 6, 2017


Sorry! Big typo in my last post! The event in Weston is at 3pm and 4pm-- AFTER school hours! I hope you can all come now!

Wondermore Benefit at Dumpling Daughter 
37 Center St. 
Weston, MA 02493
3pm: presentation featuring Ling & Ting
4pm: presentation featuring When the Sea Turned to Silver
Contact Dumpling Daughter to purchase your ticket

Hope to see you!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Two Upcoming Events!

I have a couple of upcoming events! If you are in the area it would be great to see you!

First, I'll be at the Unlikely Story Bookstore in Plainville, MA  on February 23rd at 2 pm. It's pretty much every author's dream to open up their own bookstore, so I'm excited to see what Jeff Kinney (Diary of a Wimpy Kid fame!) did! And then dream a little on my own...someday... But in the meantime I hope to see you:

Thu, February 23, 2017
2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
111 South Street 
Plainville, MA 02762
register HERE!

I'm also doing a special event to benefit Wondermore in coordination with the Dumpling Daughter, an awesome restaurant in Weston, MA:

Come to the event, eat a dumpling, get a book (book & dumpling included with the price of the ticket) and see me!

Wondermore Benefit at Dumpling Daughter 

37 Center St. 
Weston, MA 02493
3pm: presentation featuring Ling & Ting
4pm: presentation featuring When the Sea Turned to Silver
Contact Dumpling Daughter to purchase your ticket

Hope to see you!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Happy Lunar New Year

Our Year of the Rooster project--can you tell which one my daughter made?

Tomorrow is Lunar New Year! New England Public Radio asked me how I would be celebrating and I recorded this commentary:

Hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

be brave

"Super Hero Pig and Piggie" drawn by my daughter

Not long ago, my daughter told me in her four-year-old matter-of-fact manner, “I know a lot of things. I’m very smart.”
“Yes, you are smart,” I told her, as I prepared my lecture of hard work and compassion, “But there are many things that even more important than being smart…”

“I know,” she sighed, dramatically, “like being brave. Be brave!”

I know that, to her, being brave means being willing to use the bathroom on an airplane; but her words struck me. The truth is, I haven't written much--on this blog, social media or even my own work since the election. I have tried, countless times, to write my thoughts but every time I wrote something I ended up deleting it. It didn't seem helpful or wanted, but, mostly, it just felt like I was putting a target on.

I write the words I cannot say. I've never been particularly eloquent when speaking; even though I give speeches they are all pre-written and practiced. I'm not an off-the-cuff speaker, I've never been one with a quick wit or silver tongue. And, truthfully, my instinct when feeling insecure is to keep my head down.

After my post about my election despair, two responses stuck out to me. One was from a reader who was unhappy about how I felt. Amongst other things, she asked if I would apologize for overreacting in four years when proven wrong and I was surprised.

Because of my books, I travel all across this country--to small towns and big cities, red states and blue, coastal and middle. I've met so many people. They have all greeted me warmly and I've always smiled back. I had never doubted that our interactions were genuine. But post-election, I found myself truly shaken. Was is all fake? Was it all "PC" politeness? Hidden behind those pleasant faces, was there a secret belief that I didn't belong here? Were the smiles simply a clenching of teeth?

I have said in interviews that one of the reasons I write books is to make friends, that they are my way of reaching out to people. So in many ways, I see my readers as my dear friends.  And to suddenly suspect that those whom I considered friends might actually secretly despise me...it shakes me to the core. It makes me doubt why and what I write. It makes me feel terrible.

So of course, I would apologize if I was proven wrong. I want to be proven wrong. Why would one think I want to feel this way?

The second response was from my mother.   Don't feel bad, she said. If we are nice people who can contribute something Americans need, we will be welcomed.

I know she meant well, but this rankled.  Aren't I American? I was born and raised here--I can't even speak Chinese in an understandable way. My mother, is an American citizen and has lived more years in the US than her "homeland." Why do we need to prove ourselves to be welcomed into our own country? And when will we ever be deemed "good enough?"

I have no answers, only a tumult of emotions. I don't know what project I will attempt next, but I know that I've never begun one before feeling so insecure about my place in the world.  For a while, part of me thought maybe writing just wasn't in my future anymore. But I watched the Women's March this past weekend and for the first time I felt like I could at least write this.  And my daughter says, "Be brave."

So, here I am. Trying to be brave.

Be brave.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

listen to me!

Around the time of my election depression (which I admit I still struggle with),  the awesome Matthew Winner of All the Wonders published a lovely episode with yours truly. In this episode, we talked about how my readers' reactions effected the writing of When the Sea Turned to Silver, thinking in English and more! Listen HERE!

I was also thrilled to be interviewed by Hillary Frank at the Longest Shortest Time! In that episode we talk about how I rejected my culture as a child, how I try to incorporate that same culture into my own daughter's life and more! Listen HERE.

Friday, December 2, 2016

on the radio

It helps to have friends in high places! My pal Jarrett Krosoczka is a contributor to SiriusXM Kids Place Live, where he recommends books...and last week he recommended When the Sea Turned to Silver! If you are still curious about the book, take a listen:

And if you get the chance, check out the awesome charity auction that Jarrett is doing! All proceeds goto his hometown art museum, which is pretty cool!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

graphic novel format

I've often thought about attempting a graphic novel, but I am such slow creator that I know it would never be a feasible project. Which is why I'm particularly thrilled to be in one of the authors in Steve Sheinkin's "Walking and Talking With..." series. You might recognize Steve as the amazing non-fiction author of books such as BOMB and Most Dangerous. Well, he also does this awesome web-comic series and this installment features yours truly:

Check out the whole thing HERE.

Monday, November 28, 2016

NY Times Notable

The reception for When the Sea Turned to Silver continues to warm my heart. The NY Times just named it as one of their Notable Books of 2016 (a good list for holiday gifts, hint hint!) and last week published this incredible review. It might be the best review I've ever had in my life. I admit, I might have shed a tear after reading it...and I am going to frame it and hang it on my wall!