Newbery award winner and New York Times bestselling author

Posts tagged ‘Latino Education Advancement Program’

Living la vida loca

I haven’t written in more than a week, but that’s because my life has sped up like a Toyota with a stuck gas pedal.

Kathy Erskine's Q & A will appear on Girls of Summer in early August.

It’s hard to complain, though. My days are crammed with things I love. The Girls of Summer Q & As are coming in. I hope you caught Cathryn Clinton this week — and Jacqueline Woodson before that. (Every Friday, a new author answers our questions, so stay tuned.)

I’ve been corresponding with students who are working with author (and professional gummie bear eater) Wendy Shang in northern Virginia, and my own summer residency with the Latino Education Advancement Program wrapped up. Here’s Freddie’s piece so you can see why I love this group.

ESL had just finished, and I jostled my way towards the lunch line. Passing by the fifth grade hallways, I was hoping to be as big and smart as they were one day. I got in the cafeteria line and as usual, the cafeteria cashier smiled and said, “Have a good lunch, my little tootsie roll.”

I went to the table where my class sat and talked to my friends: Tyler, Patterson, Michael, Michael, and Conner Lugio.  As we swapped our lunches, I had to crush my napkin because my mom left me a note saying she loved me. Although it was in Spanish and my friends could not read it, it was still embarrassing.  

It was halfway through lunch when I saw her: Alexa.  She had blonde hair and green eyes, and each time she came into the room with her smiling glow, I would get jittered up in my stomach.  Her best friend, Jackie, was sitting next to her; she also had blonde hair, but I didn’t really like her much, except that she had the chocolate that I liked: Snickers.  See? I have always been a true romantic.

Looking ahead to this week, I join Richmond Young Writers for a day of writing magical realism. I’ve been looking forward to this for several months. First of all, I adore magical realism. Second, kids never have to make much of a leap into magic. It’s still part of how they move through the world. All I have to do is give them a few reminders.

Here’s one story starter:  When the Moon first came to complain to Raul in his dreams, she was terribly rude.

Give it a try see what happens.

More soon.

Dream author interviews and other news

Happy Friday!

Red-letter day for the  Girls of Summer site.  As you know, GOS is a curated reading list that I compiled with the ever-fabulous Gigi Amateau. It is 18 of our favorite books for strong girls. We launched a week ago, and the response has been terrific. Thanks to all of you who have visited and sent sweet emails.

Jacqueline Woodson

But what makes today great is that we add our new Q & A feature. Our fist interview is with Jacqueline Woodson, winner of the Coretta Scott King Award, the Newbery Honor, the Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Achievement, the National Book Award — do I have to go on? Jacqueline was a headliner at last year’s James River Writer’s conference here in Richmond, where I had the pleasure of getting to hear her insights on writing.   I hope you’ll check in today — and every Friday for a new author interview. Together these authors offer the most empowering images of young women today.  Please continue to spread the word, visit each week, and leave comments.

LEAPers showing their true colors

In other news, I’ve been spending a few mornings a week working with my LEAP students at the Steward School. There never seems to be enough time with them, but maybe every teacher feels that way. We’ll be wrapping up our writing and photography work next week. ¡Ay, Chihuahua! There is a lot to do! I’ll be sure to post some of the final projects when I get their permission.

Let’s see…stuff I’m reading:  Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones. It’s adult fiction and glorious in every way. I find myself hearing her voice as she weaves the story of an “outside child” – the daughter of a bigamist’s second wife. (Tayari is coming to the JRW conference in Oct., so if you’re in the neighborhood…) Also getting my time is Uma Krishnaswami’s The Grand Plan to Fix Everything.  I am thoroughly enjoying my romp through India and the “filmi” industry.

Any Bollywood fans?

Finally, by way of my own book news. I will be at University of Virginia this Tuesday as part of the Central Virginia Writing Project, where I’ll meet teachers who are also aspiring writers. (That’s exactly the way I started, so I’m up for the cause.)  Oh, and I got some happy updates this week, too: Tía Isa Wants a Car is up for the Amelia Bloomer project, which celebrates feminist literature. Hurray for strong girls!