PODCAST

Episode 230: Kat Chow

BY MEGAN LABRISE • August 24, 2021

Kat Chow interrogates the debts we owe our ancestors in a poignant new memoir.

On this week’s episode, sponsored by Dear Highlights: What Adults Can Learn from 75 Years of Letters and Conversations with Kids (Highlights Press, Aug. 10), Kat Chow joins us to discuss Seeing Ghosts (Grand Central, Aug. 24), a deeply loving account of her mother’s life and death, and an investigation into the ways we help shape the narratives of those we love.

Kirkus on Seeing Ghosts: “The poignancy of journalist Chow’s debut memoir can be felt instantly when she confesses that she still struggles to comprehend her mother’s death in 2004 and finds herself often rushing to glimpse her memorial. The author, a founding member of NPR’s Code Switch team, considers herself unique in a traditional Chinese family that refused to openly grieve. As a loving tribute, Chow vibrantly tells the story of her mother’s life with great dexterity and in luminous detail.…By uniting family memories, elements of Chinese culture, and an intimate perspective, Chow wraps tragedy and history into an affecting memorial.”

Chow and host Megan Labrise discuss the defining questions of the memoir; why the book begins with a ghost story; Chow’s work as a reporter; the experience of interviewing family members for the book; the many forms of grieving; how she characterizes the four sections of the book; the family photos that appear in the book; how her mother helped shape her as a writer; and much more.

And in a sponsored interview, Megan talks with Chuck Wendig, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Star Wars: Aftermath, about his supercool, spooky middle-grade debut Dust & Grim (Little Brown Books for Young Readers, Oct. 5), the story of long-separated siblings who inherit a fantastic funeral home and cemetery. “Nothing like shared brushes with horrible, agonizing death to draw seemingly incompatible characters together, right?” (starred review).

Then editors Vicky Smith, Laura Simeon, and Laurie Muchnick discuss some of their favorite books from the Fall Preview issue of Kirkus Reviews.

 

Editors picks:

War by José Jorge Letria, illus. by André Letria, trans. by Elisa Amado (Aldana Libros/Greystone Kids)

Call Me Athena by Colby Cedar Smith (Andrews McMeel Publishing)

Mrs. March by Virginia Feito (Liveright/Norton)

 

Also mentioned in this episode:

The Black Book of Colors by Menena Cottin, illus. Rosana Faría, trans. by Elisa Amado (Groundwood)

A Small History of a Disagreement by Claudio Fuentes S., illus. by Gabriela Lyon, trans. by Elisa Amado (Aldana Libros/Greystone Kids)

Two White Rabbits by Jario Buitrago, illus. by Rafael Yockteng, trans. by Elisa Amado (Groundwood)

Walk With Me by Jairo Buitrago, illus. by Rafael Yockteng, trans. by Elisa Amado (Groundwood)

Angel & Hannah by Ishle Yi Park (One World/Random House)

 

Thanks to our advertisers this week:

On the Trail of Wind’s Tears by Lynne Armstrong-Jones

And Throw Away the Skins by Scott Archer Jones

Pulse: Vital Signs Series Book One by Judy Gaman

 

Fully Booked is produced by Cabel Adkins Audio and Megan Labrise.

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