R.M. Romero talks poetry, Prague, and more on our special Diversity Episode.
Author R.M. Romero joins us to discusses The Ghosts of Rose Hill (Peachtree Teen, May 10) on this special Diversity Episode, celebrating the books that reflect our diverse world, released in conjunction with the May 1 Diversity Issue of Kirkus Reviews.
Romero is a Jewish Latina and author of fairy tales for children and adults—including the middle-grade novel The Dollmaker of Kraków, illustrated by Lisa Perrin. Her standout YA debut, The Ghosts of Rose Hill, was inspired, in part, by her experience restoring Jewish cemeteries in Eastern Europe.
Here’s a bit from Kirkus’ starred review of The Ghosts of Rose Hill:
“The daughter of two immigrant legacies, Ilana Lopez knows what it is to live with ghosts of the past. On her mother’s side, there is a 500-year-long Jewish journey from Spain to Cuba to Miami Beach, and on her father’s side, a flight from 20th-century totalitarianism in the former Czechoslovakia. It’s the phantom of her family’s struggles that sees her exiled to Prague the summer of her 16th year: Separating Ilana from her friends and her beloved violin, her parents hope she will turn her attention to preparing for a stable, successful, American future rather than dreams of music.…An ode to the Diaspora and to the many folktales and myths populating Ilana’s mixed heritage, Romero’s luscious work dives into dark, painful caverns and emerges in sprays of enthralling hope. A must-read for lost souls everywhere.”
At the behest of host Megan Labrise, Romero begins with a reading of the first chapter of The Ghosts of Rose Hill. They then discuss writing fairy tales for children and adults; essential elements of fairy tales, including mythical entities; what a vodník is; Romero’s experience restoring Jewish cemeteries in Eastern Europe, and how it inspired the book; Prague and Kraków; the epigraph from Frances Hodgson Burnett; and much more.
Then editors Laura Simeon, Mahnaz Dar, Eric Liebetrau, and Laurie Muchnick share their top picks in books for the week.
Amazona by Canizales, trans. by Sofía Huitrón Martínez (Graphic Universe)
Yes We Will: Asian Americans Who Shaped This Country by Kelly Yang (Dial Books)
Some of My Best Friends: Essays on Lip Service by Tajja Isen (One Signal/Atria)
Love Marriage by Monica Ali (Scribner)
Also mentioned on this episode:
Magdalena: River of Dreams by Wade Davis (Knopf)
Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest by Wade Davis (Knopf)
The HBO Max series Julia
Korean American: Food That Tastes Like Home by Eric Kim (Clarkson Potter)
You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Thanks to our advertisers:
The Power of Breath: The Gift of Self-Actualization Through Meditation by Monica Garcia Duggal
The Ferryman’s Toll by Daniel James
Fully Booked is produced by Cabel Adkins Audio and Megan Labrise.