1) Which of your characters do you most identify with and why?
Varsha Bajaj: I identify with Abby because I recall how I felt when I first came to America, and how daunting and exciting a new culture and place can feel. I identify with Abby’s mother because I am a mother, and sending my daughter to a new country would be scary. I identify with Grandma Tara because she is kind and accepts Abby without reservations.
2) If you could give your Asian American kid readers one piece of advice, what would it be?
VB: My advice to Asian American and all kid readers would be read with a open mind and heart and to read everything you can get your hands on.
3) Were you a reader growing up? Why or why not?
VB: I was a voracious reader as a kid and still am today. I love being introduced to new worlds and kids through books. Books invite you to “know” a character. I love stories, always have.
About the author:
Varsha Bajaj was born in India and came to America as a graduate student in 1986. Varsha’s debut middle grade, Abby Spencer goes to Bollywood (Whitman, 2014), was released in March. Her upcoming picture book, Our Baby (Nancy Paulsen Books, summer 2016), will be illustrated by Eliza Wheeler. She published her first picture book, How Many Kisses Do You Want Tonight? (Little Brown, illustrated by Ivan Bates) in 2004.