Robert Liu-Trujillo is an artist looking to craft change.
He knows how powerful art can be to inspire and make social change, especially for younger consumers of his and others’ work. With a new Kickstarter project out now, we sat down with Robert to talk about his art, how social justice informs his work, navigating the picture book industry, and so much more.
Southern Fried Asian returns with a brand new episode! Keith is joined by Soman Chainani, the New York Times-bestselling author of the hit children’s fantasy series, the School For Good and Evil. The fifth book in the series, A Crystal of Time, is available now wherever books are sold.
As a long-term comic head, I have become enamored of every type of comic book. I have horror, Classics Illustrated, science fiction, traditional superhero, and tons of international comics in more long boxes than I can count. The one comic lane I could never get in to: educational comics. I love the old Civil Rights, How Toons, and history comic books. What I could not stand were the ‘this is how the digestive tract works’ or ‘let’s wind our way through the eyeball’ offerings. This would seem to be in direct opposition of my cheerleading the use of comics in educational settings. Hey, I’m complex. As a parent, my dislike has curdled to disdain.
Recently I was having a conversation with a couple of friends and acquaintances regarding the release of my novel, Hollowstone. As I explained the premise behind the book, they expressed it was a novel they would be very interested in reading.
They then expressed that they don’t read books. As the conversation continued, they explained it was in large part to their horrors in school. Horror stories I was all too familiar with. The others elaborated that they hated being forced to read classic literature which usually translated works written by old dead white men and ergo deemed as the only type of “literature” worth reading.
At a time of great unease and injustice, those of us who are parents of children have a challenge ahead of us. Most of our kids will be exposed to the happenings of the world, and well they should. At the same time, what books can we read to them that will help them understand, and provide tools they will need to survive, thrive, and engage? We reached out to several Minnesota writers with children to compile this list of suggestions. This is by no means definitive, nor complete.
This list was compiled by Kurtis Scaletta, Shannon Gibney, Lana Barkawi, Kathryn Savage, Molly Beth Griffin, Sarah Park Dahlen, Bao Phi, and Lorena Duarte Armstrong.
Continuing our special live recordings of Hard NOC Life from the Smithsonian’s CrossLines pop-up culture lab on intersectionality. We were joined by young adult fantasy author and online activist, Ellen Oh.
#WeNeedDiverseBooks is a powerful hashtag and message. But we can’t just want these books. We have to support the ones that are already out there too. The latest One-Shot from Shawn Taylor (@reallovepunk) gets at some of the reasons why.
This week we’re excited about two things: one is a book, the other an awesome opportunity.
For us readers:Ink and Ashes by Valynne Maetani came out this week. As a lover of mysteries as a child, I can’t wait to crack into this one!
And for us writers: the award that got Maetani published — The New Visions Award from Tu Books — also opens submissions this week! Tu Books is dedicated to diversity in genre fiction for young people and is under the banner of Lee and Low books, which publishes children’s books by authors of color. We definitely need more publishers with that goal in mind!
Before I go any further, let me preface by saying this. As a writer, awards and accolades don’t even rank in terms of priorities. Don’t get me wrong, they’re awesome and I appreciate the honor as much as the next person but it goes back to a point my friend Pauline Trent and I discussed one day. There are generally two types of artists — and by artists I mean visual artists, writers, musicians, dancers, etc. The first type of artist is one who wants to be world renowned as a great artist. The second type of artist simply wants to produce as much work as they can possibly produce. More often than not, the latter leads to the former.
Whether it’s an essay, a social media update, or a novel, whenever I write, I have three objectives in mind: to enlighten, to entertain and to empower. So while awards may not be a priority for many writers, we still acknowledge the huge accomplishment in having one’s work recognized by industry peers and fans alike. Over the years, the Hugos have recognized some truly gifted authors. I’m honored to call a couple Hugo nominees good personal friends of mine. But as this fiasco just illustrated, the Hugos are yet another symptom of a corrupt system that is the publishing industry.