Do you need a book trailer? Plenty of authors will say no, but trailers are fun to make, even if you don’t have any visual art skills. The one below was made on i-movie, plain and simple. Personally, I like the exercise of distilling an entire book idea down to a minute or less. It’s a visual “elevator pitch” and another way to get readers engaged in what’s coming. Anyway, here’s the trailer for my next picture book, Mango, Abuela, and Me, due from Candlewick Press on August 25, 2015. Illustrated by the lovely Angela Dominguez. [wpvideo jpcNNVhC]
It’s National Anti-bullying month, so I have a treat for you. E.E. Charlton Trujillo, author of FAT ANGIE is stopping in Richmond this coming week as she continues her cross country book tour. Here we talk about her writing and film-making – and how, in the darkest times, a book can be a kid’s lifeline. How did you find the seed of the story for FAT ANGIE? Imagine. Winter. Four foot snow stacks. Below zero temp and the smell of recycled heat in a mom and pop diner in Madison, Wisconsin. I polished off a scrambled egg something kinda breakfast. Rolled the wheel to my iPod Classic right and landed on Lenny Kravitz’s “Are You Gonna Go My Way.” Something in the shredding of that guitar riff sent me into the what would become FAT ANGIE. I snapped up a pen from a waitress named Grace, grabbed a napkin and connected thought to world. Now, this is what you gotta understand. That song never appears in the book but the energy of note to lyric to note ignited the hostile confrontation, humiliation and revelations of the book. I could see the beginning and the end and it was such a fantastic high. If I ever bump into Lenny on the street/event, I’m gonna say, “You inspired a book that changes lives. Thanks for ripping that sound beast-pretty.” You are also a filmmaker, and I could see its influence on this novel. By that I mean references to “beats,” cutaways, vintage…
I spent Saturday at the University Maryland (College Park) with Partners in Print (PNP), an organization under the umbrella of America Reads. PNP supports literacy at 18 schools, mostly in Prince George County, Maryland, by helping parents – many of whom don’t speak English as their first language – learn how to support their children’s emerging reading skills. Saturday was the culminating event for the mentors and their students. More than 140 students and 100 parents came for the day-long gathering. My role for the day was to read Tia Isa Quiere Un Carro and to speak to volunteers and family attendees in a bilingual presentation. Confession. It’s always a little strange for me to work bilingually because my English is simply better. I was born here. I studied here. Although we speak Spanish as home, I live about 75 percent of my life in English. That means that sometimes I’m stuck pecking for words or phrases in Spanish, frustrated between what I’m thinking and what I can say. Turns out this gives me the same problem as Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who was recently interviewed by Jorge Ramos of Univision. He noticed her occasional lapses into English, and it was the subject of a lot of Twitter chat. Like the justice, I grew up speaking Spanish at home, and I have no accent when I speak it. Yes, I can read a newspaper and magazine no problem. I understand everything on Spanish language TV. I consider myself fully bicultural….
I’ve been in the MidAtlantic states these days – a beautiful time to talk books and take in the azaleas and dogwoods almost everywhere you go. I’m not sure I love driving in DC during the morning rush, but other than that, a great trip. A quick round up… Thanks to: Erika Denn at Candlewick Press for all her planning and last minute reshuffling Trish Brown and Ellen Klein (Hooray for Books) for a terrific YA panel with Adina Gewirtz and KP Madonia on girls, messy lives, and books. If you don’t have The Zebra Forest and Fingerprints of You on your reading list, please add these terrific titles. Karen MacPherson (Takoma Park Library) and Kerri Poore (Politics & Prose) for a lovely evening talking about books and compassion Dara LaPorte (The Open Book Foundation) for providing my author visit and copies of YAQUI DELGADO WANTS TO KICK YOUR ASS to about 150 8th graders at (Hardy MS). Shout outs to Perinne Punwami (a really exciting teacher at Hardy); my sister-in-law Laura Quigley; and author-pal Wendy Shang for being part of all the fun, too.