Friday, September 15, 2017

The Books are Not Enough



I've been thinking a lot about activism lately, and I'm starting to believe that small activism, at a local level, might be the key to a brighter future. So, I've organized an event at my local library-- a presentation about diversity in children's books: why it's important and how we can use them.

If you live in Western MA, please spread the word, tell your kids' teachers & librarians and come! Honestly, I'm a little scared people won't show up--even though I do many, many presentations, I usually don't organize these things, so I'm wearing a slightly different hat here! But I do know that when these events are poorly attended, it sends a message that it doesn't matter. Please help me show that these things matter.

The Books are Not Enough:
Windows, Mirrors and the Bookshelves of Our Community
Forbes Library (upstairs in the Coolidge Museum)
Wednesday, November 1st at 6pm
20 West St, Northampton MA
When we talk about diversity in books, we often talk about "windows and mirrors." But what does that mean? Why is it important? And, if we can agree that diversity in children’s books is important, can we do more than pay it lip service? How can we use these books to help create a more accepting and welcoming community?
In this extended presentation of her popular TEDx talk, Newbery Honor author Grace Lin shares childhood anecdotes, personal publishing experiences and strategies to support diversity through children’s books. 
Librarians, Teachers and Parents welcome!

Want to help spread the word? Downloadable flyer here: http://www.gracelin.com/media/press/nov2017_flyer.pdf

Thursday, September 7, 2017

my humble opinion on PBS

Yes, that was me...

Did you miss seeing me on PBS last month? I was on the PB NewsHour, sharing my humble opinion about potentially racist classic children's books. I actually didn't think my position was that controversial but after it aired I received a lot of...well, let's just say it was a lot more controversial than I thought. You can make your own opinion after watching:




However, even with the unpleasant feedback, I do stand by my position. Whether you agree or disagree with my "Little House" example (yes, Ma was scared of Indians because she was a settler--but her hatred of them was portrayed as far stronger than that of Pa's or Laura's who were also settlers, so I--as an 8 year old girl-- took that to be racism), I hope that my real message of simply talking to your kids about the books they are reading can be one we don't have to disagree on. 


Sunday, August 27, 2017

memorial



I don't have your grave to visit
and I never strew your ashes.
I thought it didn't matter
because I had you in my memories.
But it's been ten years
and I'm starting to realize why people carve their names on trees
and tag graffiti on bridges
and why I write down my stories.

 we'll never know what we forget
 and I know I don't want to forget you.

I hope you like it.



5/30/72-8/27/07



Wednesday, August 2, 2017

playing during the pause

using a friend's tip for freezing blueberries for cherries: freeze them flat first and then put them in a jar--that way they won't freeze in big clumps!

So, I am in the rare pause in my work--the calm before the storm--where I've sent in my sketches/rough drafts and am waiting for publisher feedback before I can continue. This is usually an optimum time to start something new or research a new idea (or clean the house) but instead I'm spending my days pitting and freezing cherries (for Christmastime cherry pies!) and making zucchini bread. I'm not sure where all this Little-House-On-The-Prairie homemaking urges are coming from but I'm enjoying it:



To the point where this has really piqued my interest:


Gee, I wonder why the Sasquatch keeps asking if I've heard from the publisher yet...



Tuesday, August 1, 2017

color-blind just means being blind


Listen to my NEPR commentary on  color-blindness here: http://nepr.net/post/its-schools-job-acknowledge-race 

Here I am on NEPR again, this time talking about the problems of teaching "color-blindness" and spreading the word about the Community Book Stop! Take a listen HERE!

(Edited to add that the discussion suggestions for the Book Stop can be found HERE.
And our book list HERE.)

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Book Stop: Part 4

The sign is up and we are putting in the books:



Because our Community Book Stop is finished! Ta-dah!



We did it!
me & two members of the Diversity Committee-- we're missing at a bunch of others!

And it's already being used! People are borrowing the books and sharing their thoughts:





Just as we hoped! I hope the Book Stop continues, and I hope, maybe, you might consider making one of your own, too.




Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Book Stop: Part 3

It seems like the Book Stop was slow going, but it wasn't really. Once we got it going, we were able to pull it together pretty fast!  One of the parents began building the shelves:


And another designed the the sign:



which we decided to make even more personal. At the school picnic, we had all the kids sign their names on the back:




A nice little memory for posterity!


Now, we just need to hand it over the finished Book Stop...


Thursday, July 6, 2017

the art critic



About a year ago, when Rain Dragon realized what I did for a living, she asked if I would put her into a book. Little did she know, I had already been planning it for a while! Yes, she is the "star" in my upcoming picturebook, "A Big Mooncake for Little Star," the art of which I have just recently finished! The book doesn't come out until August 2018 (more than a year away!) but according to Rain Dragon, that is just fine because the art still needs work. Apparently, I forgot to make her into duck.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Win this painting!


Would you like to have this painting? It's an original piece that I just finished and it could be yours!

In honor of this 4th of July and as a proud American, I am auctioning this off with 100% of the proceeds to go to DonorsChoose, an organization that funds needy schools, one classroom at a time.

This painting is done in gouache and is 5.5 x 5.5.

Obviously, this 4th of July, I have some mixed feeling about being American...or maybe more about how America feels about me. I think that much of the anger and fear today is because people are afraid that something is getting taken from them, that they are losing something. But I truly feel that there is enough greatness in America for everyone and all Americans deserve a piece of it. Which is what I hope you get (in a fun way) from this painting!

If you want to bid, just put your bids in the comments section of this blog post. Starting bid is $50 and bidding ends on July 10th (next Monday) at 9pm EST.

Bid often and bid high! If the bids go higher than $200, I will mat and frame the painting for you as well!

Happy 4th of July!

Friday, June 30, 2017

on the radio...

my commentary "A Four Year Old Helps Her Mother Speak Out" on NEPR  is, of course, inspired by Rain Dragon

So, it looks like being a commentator for NEPR is going to be kind of a sort-of regular gig for me.  Just in case you missed it, last week I recorded this commentary,  "A Four Year Old Helps Her Mother Speak Out," featuring my post election thoughts (some of you may recognize it as an adaptation of my be brave post early in the year).

Hope you like it!