Quips on our radar
Photo of Akhil Sharma courtesy of Nicholas Prakas
“What does belonging mean? It means feeling safe, it means feeling accepted. It has nothing to do with what country you were born in or your parents were born in. The easiest way to feel safe is to offer patience, offer help. When we do this, we’re forced to step out of ourselves, and we’re reminded that the world is greater than our imagination.”
—Author Akhil Sharma (Family Life,2014, etc.) offers an American immigrant’s perspective on belonging on ...
Photo courtesy of Peter Konerko
Debut YA novelist Angelo Surmelis is a successful LA-based interior designer. He’s hosted two television shows (HGTV’s 24 Hour Design and Rate My Space with Angelo Surmelis)and appeared on dozens more. He owns his own brand.
And yet, it wasn’t easy to claim “artist” as part of his identity.
“My experience is really one of so many other immigrants’ experiences,” says Surmelis, whose family moved from Greece to Illinois when he was 5 years old. “We were blue ...
Photo courtesy of courtesy of Leslie Plesser.
In Joseph Kuefler’s new picture book, The Digger and the Flower, beauty is in the eye of the bulldozer.
“Kids love diggers, they love trucks,” says Kuefler, author-illustrator of Beyond the Pond and Rulers of the Playground, “but I was hoping to approach the sub-genre a little bit differently. I wanted it to be a much more emotional story, something that allowed [kids] to see that it’s okay to feel and to love and to care for things and ...
In 2015, New York Times reporter John Leland set out to find six super seniors for “85 & Up,” a series profiling one of America’s fastest-growing demographics. To his great surprise, the yearlong assignment ended before it got old.
“I initially thought, I can’t give these people up,” says Leland, who’d admired Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom’s inspirational account of visiting with a wise elder, before experiencing some of the same graces. “[Albom] was somehow transformed by ...
Ijeoma Oluo recognizes that readers of So You Want to Talk About Race are taking a risk.
“We live in a country that tells you you can ignore this subject,” says Oluo, a Seattle-based writer, speaker, and editor at large of The Establishment, an intersectional media site funded and run by women.“If it gets painful, you can just stop.”
“If a reader was going to sit down and take the risk of delving through these tough emotions ...
Quips on our radar
Jacqueline Woodson photographed by Marty Umans.
“One of the greatest things about getting older is that nobody has tried to talk to me about Jack Kerouac in at least five years.”—Helena Fitzgerald, “20 Authors I Don’t Have to Read Because I’ve Dated Men for 16 Years” at Electric Literature
“The whole romance novel industry is about women being grabbed and thrown on a horse and ridden off into the distance. So there is a big cultural bias that we have to confront and get over ...
Photo Courtesy of Jonathan Jiménez
Gentrification is no monolith in Naima Coster’s graceful, versatile debut. Her novel, Halsey Street, is set primarily in Brooklyn’s swiftly changing Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood.
“My experience of gentrification certainly isn’t the only one worth thinking about,” says Coster, a native of nearby Fort Greene, “but it’s the one I felt I could begin with.”
Coster, who holds an MFA in fiction from Columbia University, an MA in English and creative writing from Fordham University, and a BA in ...
Photo Courtesy of Patricio Campini
In author-illustrator Mariana Ruiz Johnson’s dreamy picture book While You Are Sleeping, people and animals wine, dine, dance, bike, bathe, paint, and take flight—all through the night.
Told entirely through images, this tale of what happens while a yellow-haired child sleeps in a seaside city won the 2015 Silent Book Contest at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. At once realistic and surrealistic, colorful and commotional, it is an “alluring, wordless enchantment” that demands rereading, Kirkus writes in a starred review ...