1) Which of your characters do you most identify with and why?
Kashmira Sheth: Amitha, thank you for inviting me to participate in your blog!
I identify with Seema Trivedi from Blue Jasmine. Since that was my first novel, like many other first novels, it is semi-autobiographical. Even though Seema is younger (She is 12; I was 17), her emotional journey in the United States is very much based on my personal experience. Like Seema, I had a happy, but fragmented childhood, and I missed the people I left behind. I also identify with the older sister in Tiger in My Soup. Like her, I loved reading and paid no attention to anything else that was going around me.
2) If you could give your Asian American kid readers one piece of advice, what would it be?
KS: Read as much as you can. It may be difficult to find books that reflect your experience of being Asian American but all stories hold deeper truths from which you can learn. Also, listen to the stories your parents and grandparents tell you. Those stories will keep you connected to your past.
3) Were you a reader growing up? Why or why not?
KS: Absolutely, I was a reader. Before I became an independent reader I listened to stories. I come from a family of storytellers and listening to stories from my parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts was a big part of my childhood. I read books in my mother tongue of Gujarati. I was also exposed to English, Sanskrit and Hindi literature. Looking back, I believe that my interest in reading was strongly influenced by the fact that many in my family also enjoyed reading.
About the author:
Kashmira Sheth writes picture books, middle grade novels, and young adult fiction. Her eight books have received many awards and honors, such as the Asian/Pacific American Librarian Association Honor Award, the International Reading Association’s Notable Book for a Global Society and the American Library Association’s Best Books for Young Adults. Kashmira was born and raised in India and comes from a family of storytellers. She studied science in college but her enjoyment of reading and sharing stories nudged her into writing. Her latest picture book, Tiger in My Soup, is about the sibling relationship, power of imagination and love of reading. Her next picture book will come out in April of 2015. Visit her at: http://www.kashmirasheth.com