September 2009 Archives

Visions: Dorina Lazo Gilmore Reads at the Tamejavi Festival

Dorina Lazo Gilmore reading Cora Cooks Pancit at the Tamejavi Festival in Fresno, CA on Septebmer 19. 

Burnt Lumpia Features Cora

Burnt Lumpia is a blog about Filipino culture and, more importantly, food! Last week, Marvin of Burnt Lumpia featured Cora Cooks Pancit on the blog, including interior shots and everything. The children's book inspired Marvin to take a stroll down memory lane, and also to look into the future:

Now, as a new parent myself, I can only hope that my little one will some day show a curiosity in the cultural dishes I prepare in our own kitchen. Luckily, his curiosity is getting a head start whenever I read him Cora Cooks Pancit.

Thanks, Marvin!

Oct. 10, 2009: Dorina Lazo Gilmore signing at NCIBA

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For those of you lucky booksellers attending the Northern California Independent Bookseller's Association trade show in October, Dorina will be signing copies of Cora Cooks Pancit at our table at 12:30. Mark your trade show schedules!

Dorina Lazo Gilmore signs Cora Cooks Pancit
12:30pm, Saturday, October 10, 2009
NCIBA Tradeshow Booth C-4

The Multicultural Minute #6: Chinese History Giveaway

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Update October 2, 2009: And the winner is... Sharon Cerasoli, who entered the drawing from the Shen's Books Facebook page. Congratulations!

'm celebrating this week with a book giveaway! Watch the video to find out what's made me so excited, and how to win some books!

Books mentioned in this video:
Chinese History Stories, Vol. 1 & Vol. 2

The Multicultural Minute #5: Grace Lin

Thanks so much to Grace Lin, who busted out her own video camera to answer the all-important question to us here at Shen's Books: Why do you write about your own heritage?

Books by Grace Lin mentioned in the video:
Dim Sum for Everyone
Lissy's Friends
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

Other books of note by Grace Lin:
The Ugly Vegetables
Seven Chinese Sisters
Red is a Dragon
Bringing In the New Year
Year of the Dog
Year of the Rat

The Multicultural Minute #4: Biracial Picture Books

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These are the picture books mentioned in the video. Don't worry, we'll have a later episode for older readers. Do have any favorite picture books with biracial characters? Add them in the comments!

Black is Brown is Tan by Arnold Adoff and Emily Arnold Mccully
Poem depicting a family with an African American mother and a Caucasian father.

The Hello Goodbye Window by Norton Juster and Chris Raschka
A girl visits her grandparents, one of whom is black and the other white.

How My Parents Learned to Eat by Ina R. Friedman and Allen Say
A girl with a Japanese mother and American father explains how her parents met why they sometimes eat with chopsticks and sometimes with a fork.

I Love Saturdays y Domingos by Alma Flor Ada and Elivia Savadier
A girl visits her Caucasian grandparents on Saturdays and her Mexican-American grandparents on Sundays.

Jalapeno Bagels by Natasha Wing and Robert Casilla
A boy who with both Mexican and Jewish backgrounds has to figure out what to bring to his school's International Day.

My Two Grannies by Floella Benjamin and Margaret Chamberlain
A girl has one grandmother from Trinidad and another from Yorkshire. When her parents go on a trip, both grannies come to take care of her.

Romina's Rangoli by Malathi Michelle Iyengar and Jennifer Wanardi
A girl who is half Mexican and half Indian has to figure out an art project for school that represents both her cultures.

Two Mrs. Gibsons by Toyomi Igus and Daryl Wells
The story of a girl and the two Mrs. Gibsons in her life: Her mother, who is Japanese, and her grandmother, who is African American.

The Wakame Gatherers by Holly Thompson and Kazumi Wilds
Taking place in Japan, a girl with a Japanese grandmother and a Caucasian grandmother visiting from Maine spend the day at the seashore.

You Be Me and I'll Be You by Pili Mandelbaum
A girl and her light-skinned father "trade" skin colors, but her African-American mother is not pleased.

Spock and the Multiculturalism of Star Trek

Our president may be the most famous biracial man in America, but I'd like to talk about the second-most famous: Star Trek's Mr. Spock.

I just saw the new Star Trek movie again this weekend, since it was re-released in the IMAX theaters. And I was reminded that the fundamental emotional core of the movie centers around Spock and his struggle to reconcile his two... um, planetary backgrounds.

To me, Kirk's role in the movie was minimally interesting; he's a stock hero-type character, there practically as comic relief. Spock, however, lives a life of conflict. Not only from the external world (facing ridicule from his schoolmates, condescension from the elder Vulcans, and misunderstanding from his colleagues), but from within himself. His internal struggles to define himself not by his two races, but by the result of their combination, is the most interesting aspect of the movie.

I wonder how many members of our increasingly multiracial population were able to relate to Spock and his struggles. How different, really, is being half human and half vulcan from being half black and half white in our society today?

Science Fiction and Fantasy has always seemed to me inherently multicultural-- Star Trek from the very beginning was a pioneer in being actually multicultural as well, with a rainbow of skin tones and facial features on the crew. But because space travel and fantasy worlds are often about being a stranger in a strange land, the themes have always been multicultural even if the characters were not.

Of course, sci-fi and fantasy multiculturalism also has its problems, as groups tend to be separated into good/bad, and us/them. There's the multicultural crew of the Enterprise, but the bad guys are Romulan. Hobbits and Elves may work together toward a common goal, but they fight against Orcs and other "bad" groups. I'm not necessarily saying that this is a bad thing, I'm just saying that no genre is an "examplary" genre when it comes to multicultural representation. But despite the usual fantasy-race simplification, sci-fi and fantasy often reflect the same racial tensions and misunderstandings as we find here on our humble Earth.

I have often said that the most important thing a person can do to become a good global citizen is to travel. If our goal is to be truly interrcultural, then the fearless heroes of Star Trek have it right. We should all be so daring as to explore strange new worlds; to seek out new life and new civilizations; to boldly go where no man has gone before.

The Multicultural Minute #3: It's a Small World

The Multicultural Minute #3, in which Renee sails around a very Small World:

decatur.jpgElizabeth Dulemba has a new book coming out this fall, Soap, Soap, Soap! She will be debuting it with her first public reading at the Decatur Book Festival on September 6, 2009 at noon, at the Children's Stage.

Elizabeth Dulemba reading
Sunday, September 6, 2009 at 12:00 noon
Decatur Book Festival
Downtown Decatur, Georgia

tamejavi.jpgOn September 19, 2009, Tamejavi will once again return to Fresno. Radio Park and the Fresno Art Museum will become an interactive space in which artists from the Hmong, Indigenous Mexican, Iranian, Filipino, Native American and African American communities will tell stories of heritage and cultural transformation utilizing different art forms such as theater, dance, music, poetry and multimedia. These groups will also share how they have added artistic expressions and cultural practices to the Central Valley's landscape as well as new flavors and ingredients to the local cuisine.

Dorina will be at the Children's Stage at the Fresno Art Musuem signing Cora Cooks Pancit. Not sure yet exactly what time, though, so check back to get the details if you're going.

Dorina Lazo Gilmore book signing
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Tamejavi Festival
Children's Stage at the Fresno Art Museum
2233 N 1st Street
Fresno, CA 93703

Eastwind Books of Berkeley and KPFA 94.1FM will be co-hosting an event on September 12, 2009 at 3:00pm featuring Dorina Lazo Gilmore and her book, Cora Cooks Pancit. The radio station will be recording the event for their program called APEX Express, a show featuring "stories and sounds with an Asian Pacific Islander point of view." The air date of the show is yet to be determined, but don't worry, I'll let you know when it is so if you are not lucky enough to live near Berkeley, you can still hear it online.

Author Dorina Lazo Gilmore
Saturday, September 12, 2009 at 3:00pm
Eastwind Books of Berkeley
2066 University Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94704

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Blog Contributors

Renee Ting is the President and Publisher of Shen's Books. She is the author of The Prince's Diary and the blog, Renee's Book of the Day.

Emily Jiang is a writer of children's and YA literature. She also blogs at TLeaf Readings.

Shen’s Books is a publisher of multicultural children’s literature that emphasizes cultural diversity and tolerance, with a focus on introducing children to the cultures of Asia.

Through books, we can share a world a stories, building greater understanding and tolerance within our increasingly diverse communities as well as throughout our continuously shrinking globe.


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