Photos from my trip to venice!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment  

Photos from my trip to the Rosicrucian Gardens and Egyptian Museum

IMG_20150828_153031 Statue of Pythagoras, Rosicrucian Park, San Jose, California

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to go to California and turned it into a self-made writing retreat. My mom babysat the kids and I flew across the country and spent time writing. It was amazing! I also did a tiny bit of sight-seeing. If you’d like to see some of my photos to the Rosicrucian Peace Gardens and Egyptian Museum in San Jose, head on over to my tumblr page.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment  

What happened to the blog posts?!?

Hi guys– You may have noticed that I’ve been a little behind on blog posts lately! I’ve just been super busy with writing projects, with maintaining the boskidlit calendar, and as you know, I’m now a We Need Diverse Books Team Member.

We Need Diverse Books started off as a viral hashtag last year, and after the enormous worldwide response on social media, the organizers turned it into a charitable organization with grants and awards and more. Because this is such a worthy cause, I’ve been helping out there with their amazing twitter account. So if you’re on twitter, be sure to follow @diversebooks. I’ve been doing this such a short time and have already been blown away by just how enthusiastic people are about this groundbreaking organization!

How can you get involved with WNDB? Check out the website for more information!


Posted in blogging | Tagged | Leave a comment  

Get to Know Asian American Children’s Authors: Aisha Saeed, Author of Written in the Stars

Aisha SaeedThis week on my blog, I have Aisha Saeed, author of the debut YA novel Written in the Starsa contemporary YA novel about Naila, a Pakistani-American girl whose conservative immigrant parents push her towards marriage and away from the perfect boy she’s fallen in love with at school. I found this book completely compelling and relatable even from the very first page, so I was excited that Aisha Saeed found time to answer some of my questions. (Seriously, check out her bio! She is one busy lady!)

1) Which of your characters do you most identify with and why?9780399171703_Written_in_the_Stars

I feel I identify the most with my main character Naila. In Written in the Stars you see that her parents do love her a great deal and she loves them too, but that they are stricter than the traditional American parents are. She can’t date, she can’t go to prom, she can’t even go to events where boys might be. This was very similar to my own upbringing. While the rest of the story departs from my own personal journey once her parents discover she has a boyfriend and the consequences that follow, her initial home life mirrors my own very much. Like Naila, I loved my parents deeply but I also would get frustrated at the restrictions I had.

2) If you could give your Asian American kid readers one piece of advice, what would it be?

If you like seeing books with people who resemble you in some small way in the books you read, make sure to buy them, or get them from the library, and talk them up with your friends. The more you support the authors who write the books you want to read, the more books they will be able to produce, it’s as simple as that!

For Asian American kid readers who also want to write my biggest advice would be to keep pursuing this. Read voraciously and write with discipline on a regular routine. We need more diverse authors and the best way to become an author is to spend a great deal of time honing your craft.

3) Who is your favorite Asian American children’s author right now (other than yourself)?

I will read anything Jhumpa Lahiri writes. Seriously, if she put out a collection of her grocery store lists, I would be first in line to purchase them. I love the depth of her writing, her vivid story telling. Seeing her book on bookshelves was the first time I realized that perhaps people may care about South Asian stories. It was her book, Interpreter of Maladies, that helped me to overcome my fears and start trying to write the book out on bookshelves today.

About the Author:

Aisha Saeed is an author, mama, lawyer, teacher, and maker and drinker of chai. She is also the Vice President of Strategy for We Need Diverse Books™, a grassroots non-profit dedicated to creating essential changes in the publishing industry. While Aisha loves writing about a variety of topics, her main passion lies in channeling her inner teen. Her debut YA novel Written in the Stars was released March 2015 Penguin/Nancy Paulsen Books. She is represented by Taylor Martindale at Full Circle Literary Agency. When Aisha isn’t writing or chasing her two little boys, you can find her reading, baking, doodling henna patterns, or daydreaming about eight consecutive hours of sleep. You can connect with Aisha at her website, or follow along on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or Tumblr.

Posted in Asian American Blog Series, blogging, reading, writing, Writing Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment  

Get to Know Asian American Children’s Authors: Salina Yoon, author and illustrator of Penguin’s Big Adventure

Next up in my Asian American Children’s Author Blog Series, is the talented author/illustrator Salina Yoon. Salina Yoon has created numerous picture books and novelty board books, and even has some beginner readers in the works. Her delightful and vibrant illustration style definitely appeals to my kids– one of my kids’ favorites is Space Walk. I’m excited to introduce them to some of her other work!


Salina kindly answered my 3 questions:

1) Which of your characters do you most identify with and why?

Salina Yoon: I am closest to Penguin because he’s very solitary, calm, reflective, and thoughtful. His character was really inspired by my son and mother, who are very loving and compassionate, and one loves to knit. Can you guess who? But I share Penguin’s heart, too.

2) If you could give your Asian American kid readers one piece of advice, what would it be?

SY: Read the pictures as much as you read the words. And read for fun, not just for AR points or good grades! (Sorry, that was two pieces of advice, but both are very important!)

3) Who is your favorite Asian American children’s author right now (other than yourself)?

SY: Arree Chung, author and illustrator of NINJA! (Henry Holt/2014). The picture book is outstanding, but it’s actually Arree’s character that I admire most. If you haven’t, you must go read more about him on his blog, . I know him personally, and he inspires me with his talent, dedication, and great ambition!

About the author/illustrator:

Salina Yoon is an award-winning author, illustrator, and designer of over 150 books for young children. Upcoming picture books include PENGUIN’S BIG ADVENTURE (Sept/2015), the fifth book in Penguin’s series, and BOY MEETS GIRL (Jan/2016), a heartwarming story about a new friendship. Also, DUCK, DUCK, PORCUPINE! (May/2016), the first book of three in a beginner reader series, and the third book in Bear’s picture book series (2016), all with Bloomsbury.

Posted in Asian American Blog Series, blogging, parenting, reading, Writing Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment  

Calling all diverse kidlit professionals in the Greater Boston Area

The reason I’ve been super busy this last month is that in addition to writing and mommying two small children, I’ve been working with the New England branch of the SCBWI to put together a networking event at the Boston Public Library. This is the first time I’m helping to put something like this together so we’ll see how it goes :)

More information:

NESCBWI Networking event for Diverse Children’s Literature Professionals

Thursday, May 14th, 5:30-7:30 pm
Boston Public Library, Central branch, Children’s Library
700 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02116
Cost: FREE

Network with authors and illustrators: Nandini Bajpai, Janet Costa Bates, Sarah Brannen, Paula Lee, Francisco X. Stork, Nicole Tadgell, Holly Thompson, Padma Venkatraman, and more.

Who is invited: Children’s literature professionals, including teachers, librarians, booksellers, writers, illustrators, agents, and editors. College and graduate students are welcome. We would like to specifically encourage people from groups that have thus far been underrepresented children’s literature to join us.

Books will be available to purchase from Porter Square Books.

RSVP on my boskidlit facebook page (not required but suggested so we can get an idea of numbers)

Contact me if you have questions about this or want to join the volunteer mailing list!

Posted in writing, Writing Blog | Leave a comment  

You’re invited to the Material Girls release party!

Elaine Dimopoulos is having a launch party at the Boston Public Library for her brand new book Material GirlsHere are the details from her website:

Material Girls Release Party!
Tuesday, May 5, 7 p.m.
Abbey Room, Boston Public Library

I’ll be there so if you’re a follower of the blog or my kid lit calendar on Facebook, please come and say hi! Otherwise, Elaine has a calendar on her website where she lists her other appearances, so be sure to check those out and pre-order your book now from Amazon or your local independent bookseller.

Here’s a tip for events at bookstores: if you pre-order a copy ahead of time, you can be sure they have a copy left for you at the event for your favorite author to sign.

Posted in blogging, Writing Blog | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment  

The Crossing (Daughters of the Sea Book 4): Q&A with Author Kathryn Lasky, Book Excerpt, and Giveaway

This week on the blog, I’m very lucky to have the award winning author Kathryn Lasky. Her latest book, The Crossing, is the final book in her Daughters of the Sea series, and it comes out on April 28th. This blog post is full of goodies related to the series. Not only did Kathryn Lasky answer some of my questions about the books, she also provided a small excerpt, AND she is offering to send signed copies of the three previous books to one lucky winner. (See the bottom of this post of more information about the giveaway.)

Question 1: You write a lot of series, and in a recent blogpost, you talk a little bit about why. When you started this series, did you know how long it would be?

Kathryn Lasky: Hannah, May and Lucy—three sisters—triplets actually so that although they look identical they are not. But the one thing they share in common is a longing to belong and to be loved. It might seem that a three book series would do it. But their lives become complicated when they fall in love with three very different young men, Hannah falls for one of America’s most distinguished portrait painters. May falls in love with a Harvard educated astronomer and Lucy with a young Maine ship designer. I knew it would take not three but at least four books for each girl had to resolve whether they would become creatures of the sea or creatures of the land—and that could not happen until the fourth book. Because of their entanglements of love, leaving land forever was a daunting idea. The clock is ticking on how long they could remain inhabitants of two worlds.

Q2: You have written many books, and one of your series was even turned into a movie. Do you ever feel pressure to live up to your own success?

KL: No. I mean the movie was such a freak episode in my writing life. This happens in very few authors’ experiences. And a movie in my mind by no means determines success. There are so many books that I would love see turned into movies but Hollywood ignores them. And as for pressure to live up to success—well, the only pressure I feel is to keep doing books that I really care about and not respond to trends or fads, or—and my publishers would hate me saying this—but even sales figures. It is such a privilege to do what you want to do with passion. I have said it before: I get to get up each morning and re-invent the world.

Q3: The Daughters of the Sea series ties together mermaids with the history of New England. What was the most fascinating piece of history you uncovered while doing research for these novels?

KL: That there are people who actually believe mermaids exist!!!! There is a whole little contingent out there ready to believe it and trying to prove it through pseudo science, sort of like people who don’t believe in evolution or think dinosaurs and human beings existed at the same time. In 2012 Animal Planet aired a ‘documentary’ claiming to show evidence that mermaids were real. Turns out they had actors were playing the parts of “scientists”. I am really fascinated by pseudo scientists in general. I mean I guess that’s why we have climate change deniers. But rest assured I did not use any of the “findings” from Animal Planet in my book. My fantasy was way better than theirs!

Q4: This series has 3 main characters—mermaid sisters Hannah, Lucy, and May. Did you have a strategy for finding unique voices for each of them?

KL: There was no intended strategy. All three came from very different backgounds. So finding distinct voices was not hard at all. Lucy is the most uppercrust of the girls and she comes from New York. Hannah is a scullery maid in a very wealthy Boston family and May lived in a lighthouse on an isolated island off the coast of Maine. So the voices with their accents, cadences and language came very easily to me.

Thank you Kathryn Lasky for your wonderful answers to my questions! For more information about the author, please check out her newly redesigned website.

Now, here is an excerpt from Daughters of the Sea: The Crossing by Kathryn Lasky:

It was a shock that night when she first slid into the water. It took her legs forever to fuse into the long, powerful tail. She had to pull with her arms as she never had before. Her two legs seemed to flail until finally she stopped trying to use them for fear she would splash too much and attract attention from shore. So she dived, but found she could no longer hold her breath as easily under the water. She had barely made it out of the channel before she had to come up for air. There was, of course, the slime and refuse of a busy city harbor. Then she turned right, dived deep, and swam straight out into the harbor as her legs finally fused. She was careful to avoid the sweep of the Boston Harbor Light. That first night she did not have the strength to swim very far. But by the second night she felt much stronger and took a course south by southeast to the Stellwagen Banks. She had avoided a pod of dolphins.

Normally, she would have swum with them for a few miles. They loved to play with her, especially when they had new pups. She often helped with pups, herding them along so as to keep them close to their mothers if a shark was in the vicinity, or often just tumbling with them through the currents. But she was not feeling particularly sociable tonight. She would often have qualms when Stannish went away, such as now on his trip to New York concerning a new commission. She knew that it was a glittering world that he entered, filled with glamorous women and extravagant parties. It was nothing like Boston. He would come back with reports of the grande dames of the city and the latest fashion. But he would always return and fold her in his arms and say that not one could come close to her beauty. Those moments of his return were wonderful. She tucked them away like precious jewels, stringing them together like pearls on a necklace that proved their love.

By the time she had swum back it was close to dawn and a slight drizzle had begun to fall. The Old Custom House Tower rose like a flinty schoolmaster over the old port city. The hands on the clock of its east-facing side pointed at five.

Exciting, right? To find out what happens next, you’ll have to read the rest of the book!

As promised, here is the the giveaway.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

General Giveaway Rules: No Purchase Necessary. This giveaway is only open to residents of the United States who are 18 years of age or older, so kids please ask an adult to enter for you. The winner will be randomly chosen using Rafflecopter and contacted via email for their mailing address. The winner will have 72 hours to respond to my email. I will then forward your mailing address to the author, and she will arrange for the books to be sent to your address.

Posted in blogging, reading, Writing Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments  

YA Book Review: Material Girls by Elaine Dimopoulos

Material Girls by Elaine Dimopoulos

Project Runway meets Nashville meets intelligent YA dystopia in this brand new book by my writing buddy Elaine. Told from two points of view, Material Girls tells the story of Marla Klein and Ivy Wilde, two girls living in a society where fashion and fame are everything and teens call all the shots. But when Marla is fired from her cushy job as a fashion judge and pop star Ivy Wilde begins to teeter in the charts, their lives unravel slowly and intertwine in unexpected ways. They rise together to fight the status quo and end up learning who’s really in charge of their whole world—and it isn’t who they thought.

Elaine’s world building is lush and realistic, and I am in awe of her fashion descriptions. Kirkus reviews called it “Sly, subversive fun,” and I think that’s a spot on description as the novel really raises questions about the value of art in our own society and about, yes, who’s really calling the shots.

Congratulations on a wonderful book, Elaine! The book comes out next month, so be sure to pre-order your copy now. I will admit to having pre-ordered several of them. :)

Disclaimer: This review is based on a free copy of the ARC I received from the author.

Posted in blogging, reading, writing, Writing Blog | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment  

Get to Know Asian American Children’s Authors: I.W. Gregorio, Author of None of the Above


The very first author in my Asian American Children’s Author series this year is I.W. Gregorio. Dr. Gregorio is a surgeon, a writer, and a founding member of the phenomenal We Need Diverse Books team, and I am super excited to have her on my blog this week.

Her debut YA novel, None of the Above comes out next week(!), so be sure to pre-order your copy from Amazon or your local independent bookstore.

Here are her responses to my questions:

1) Which of your characters do you most identify with and why?NoneoftheAbove_Cover-2

I.W. Gregorio: It’s funny, but I actually don’t identify with my main character Kristin at all. At the beginning of the book, Kristin is popular and dating the big man on campus – neither of which remotely described me in high school! I probably most identify with the character of Darren, who is kind of nerdy might seem socially awkward at first, but who is actually pretty funny and loyal to a fault.

2) If you could give your Asian American kid readers one piece of advice, what would it be?

IWG: Read widely. If you usually read fantasy, try some contemporary, and vice versa. If you don’t find mirrors, let each book be a window that helps you see the world, and that lets you find a deeper empathy. Don’t be afraid to read books that make your brain hurt, and if you like a book and it makes you think, talk about it (or Tweet about it). Because the best part of reading is the “booktalk,” where you can share what you’ve learned and make a solitary, personal activity into a communal one.

3) Who is your favorite Asian American children’s author or illustrator right now (other than yourself)?

IWG: Grace Lin is an obvious choice, because she went to my high school and I’m loving reading her books to my daughter right now. But I also really love a couple of up-and-coming Asian American authors: Stacey Lee, whose Under a Painted Sky is pitched as Thelma and Louise in the Wild West, and Kelly Loy Gilbert, whose heartbreaking contemporary YA Conviction is about a boy whose conservative talk show father faces a trial for murder. Both received starred reviews from Kirkus!

4)Were you a reader growing up? Why or why not?

IWG: I was a huge reader. I read in the car, at the dinner table, under the sheets of my bed. I lived a pretty isolated childhood, growing up with my grandparents as one of only two Asians in my high school. Books were my soul mates and absolutely shaped me as a person. When I was sad and lonely, I reached for a book. And when I had free time and was happy, I dove into books as well.

About the Author: I.W. Gregorio is a practicing surgeon by day, masked avenging YA writer by night. After getting her MD, she did her residency at Stanford, where she met the intersex patient who inspired her debut novel, None of the Above (Balzer & Bray / HarperCollins, April 7, 2015). She is a founding member of We Need Diverse Books™ and serves as its VP of Development. A recovering ice hockey player, she lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two children. Find her online at, and on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and Instagram at @iwgregorio.




Posted in Asian American Blog Series, blogging, writing, Writing Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment