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1) Which of your characters do you most identify with and why?
Nandini Bajpai: I identify with all my main characters. Even though they are very different—Rishi is a 6th grader who loves baseball, Leela is a young scholar in 12th century India, and Mini loves fashion and art—they still all have some version of me in them. Leela is probably my favorite because her situation is the hardest and I’m a sucker for underdogs.
2) If you could give your Asian American kid readers one piece of advice, what would it be?
NB: Please support the books you love by letting others know about them—word of mouth is an incredibly powerful way to help a book do better. And if you are a writer please write what you know. Even when writing fantasy, sci-fi, paranormal, dystopian or whatever ground it in your own culture, family, and community roots. Your life experience as an Asian American is interesting and worthy of sharing with others. Be authentic and be heard!
3) Who is your favorite Asian American children’s author right now (other than yourself)?
NB: Grace Lin. Love her artwork, her magical storytelling in Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, as well as her wonderful contemporary novels Year of the Dog and Year of the Rat. Year of the Dog was my daughter’s favorite book in middle school.
About the Author:
Nandini Bajpai grew up in New Delhi, India, one of four sisters and many cousins, in a family that liked to read. She lived and worked in India, Australia, and the US, before settling in the Boston area with her husband, kids, and a fluctuating number and variety of pets. Although she dabbled in corporate finance, business analysis, and fostering shelter animals, her first love is writing. She is the author of Red Turban White Horse (Scholastic India, 2013), and Starcursed (Red Turtle India, 2013).