But first a word from our sponsors:
Encinitas Street Fair on 4/26/15—I’ll be with the Read Local group from 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. I’d love to see you and talk books. I’ll have copies of Secrets of the Flame: The Power to Protect for purchase at a discount.
Earth Day is coming! And doesn’t Earth sponsor us all? In that spirit, you are encouraged to view a fascinating Ted Talk by Allan Savory titled: How to green the world’s deserts and reverse climate change. It’s about 25 minutes long and has been on my mind ever since I saw it. I’m also wondering if a few goats or llamas in our suburban yard will help.
On Sunday, 4/19/15, I’ll be with the St. Paul’s booth at Balboa Park’s Earth Day celebration (sans books).
Links to the Encinitas Street Fair and the Ted Talk are at the bottom of the post.
And now for our regularly scheduled program:
In my last post, I wrote about a few of the children’s books that support diversity. I also promised to write about two books for adults that I purchased at Bookfaire.
Nina Revoyr and Eduardo Santiago, authors and compelling speakers, are bridges. Many people are open to finding and crossing bridges to bring people together. Other people are bridges themselves. They straddle what divides groups of people and stand with one foot in one culture and one foot in another.
I don’t think that’s an easy place to live. When I was a kid, I had a frequent image of myself trying to balance with one foot on one ball and the other foot on a different ball.
And the two balls rolled away from each other.
To this day, I don’t know what those two balls represented to me.
I only know how unsafe it felt.
Nina Revoyr was born in Japan to a Japanese mother and a white American father. She lived in Japan for five years, until her family moved to the United States—back to her father’s small Wisconsin town. She knows what it’s like to be the outsider in two places when she should belong in both.
Her story isn’t mine to tell. But Wingshooters (published by Akashic Books in 2011) is her novel with elements of her own story. I bought two of her books but didn’t read Wingshooters yet. I’m looking forward to it.
The novel I did read is Southland (Akashic Books in 2003). Jackie is a young Japanese-American woman whose grandfather owned a grocery story in the LA district of Crenshaw. The book moves between 1945, when her grandfather served in WWII;1965, when four young black men were killed during the Watts Riots; and 1994, when Jackie is drawn into the mystery of their deaths.
Revoyr has won a number of awards, and Southland was on the Los Angeles Times “Best Books of 2003” list.
Eduardo Santiago’s family left Cuba for the United States when he was ten years old. He is a child of both countries and longs for his estranged “parents” to mend their fight. He’s a writer who pens such lovely lines, you sometimes have to stop, reread and savor.
In Midnight Rumba, published by Cuban Heel Press in 2013, Estalita travels around Cuba with her father and his troupe as they go from village to village performing. We follow Estalita and other not-so-ordinary ordinary people as their paths diverge and criss-cross before and during the Cuban Revolution.
Since I usually write about books for kids, I think I should repeat that these are adult books with some sex scenes and an occasional hangover within the context of a larger story.
It occurs to me that both Nina Revoyr and Eduardo Santiago not only add to our shared diversity, they are individually diverse. I’m grateful to the people willing to share their sometimes painful journey. Probably all of us have some version of those two balls to stand on. And, if we examine ourselves, we can empathize with the struggle to find and keep one’s balance. And maybe learn more about doing it ourselves.
And now a reminder from the sponsors:
Info about the Encinitas Street Fair: http://www.encinitas101.com/events/annual-aprilstreetfair-2/
Ted Talk for Planet Earth: https://youtu.be/vpTHi7O66pI