Monday, April 27, 2009

Korean YA Fiction: Everything Asian

by Sung J. Woo

Published by St. Martin's Press, Thomas Dunne Books; 1 edition (April 14, 2009)
336 pages
ISBN-10: 0312538855
ISBN-13: 978-0312538859

Here's the blurb:

A funny and incisive Korean family coming-of-age novel in stories about a 12-year-old boy who moves with his mother and sister from Korea to work at their father's Asian gift shop in a New Jersey strip mall--and the growing pains that ensue.

In this charming tale of family, community and the struggle for understanding, young Korean immigrant David Kim learns to acculturate to a new American life. After five years on their own in Seoul, 12-year-old David, his big sister and mother reunite with his father in Oakbridge, N.J. Now known as Harry, David's father has a gift shop in a rundown strip mall called Peddlers Town. Though told largely by a grown-up David, some chapters switch to a third-person voice to examine other characters, including members of the Kim family and the other store owners at Peddler's Town (including an American with a cross-dressing son and a down-on-his-luck detective). Woo eschews immigrant cliches to focus on complicated familial relationships and surprising, sympathetic characters; alternating between humor and melancholy, Woo's text strikes a true chord while drawing readers into its strange, strip-mall world.

And here it is on barnes and noble

Author Blurb:
SUNG J. WOO's short stories and essays have appeared in The New York Times, McSweeney’s, and KoreAm Journal. His short film was an audience choice screening of the NYC Downtown Short Film Festival 2008. A graduate of Cornell University with an MFA from New York University, he lives in Washington, New Jersey.

I don't think he's a Christian but heck, he's a you know how it is. Spread the word.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Bitter Chocolate by Carol Off

Publisher: Vintage Canada
Format: Trade Paperback, 336 pages
Pub Date: September 2007
Price: $22.00
ISBN: 978-0-679-31320-5 (0-679-31320-6)


Here's the blurb:
Award-winning author and broadcaster Carol Off reveals the fascinating – and often horrifying – stories behind our desire for all things chocolate.

Whether it’s part of a Hallowe’en haul, the contents of a heart-shaped box or just a candy bar stashed in a desk drawer, chocolate is synonymous with pleasures both simple and indulgent. But behind the sweet image is a long history of exploitation. In the eighteenth century the European aristocracy went wild for the Aztec delicacy. In later years, colonial territories were ravaged and slaves imported in droves as native populations died out under the strain of feeding the world’s appetite for chocolate.

Carol Off traces the origins of the cocoa craze and follows chocolate’s evolution under such overseers as Hershey, Cadbury and Mars. In Côte d’Ivoire, the West African nation that produces nearly half of the world’s cocoa beans, she follows a dark and dangerous seam of greed. Against a backdrop of civil war and corruption, desperately poor farmers engage in appalling practices such as the indentured servitude of young boys – children who don’t even know what chocolate tastes like.

Off shows that, with the complicity of Western governments and corporations, unethical practices continue to thrive. Bitter Chocolate is a social history, a passionate investigative account and an eye-opening exposé of the workings of a multi-billion dollar industry that has institutionalized misery as it served our pleasures.

Here's a video interview on youtube

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Reading is fundamental's 2009 Read With Kids Challenge

RIF’s 2009 Read with Kids Challenge is aimed at bringing attention about the importance of adults reading with children. This year they raised their goal to 5 million minutes read with kids, over 3 months. Check it out at

Here’s more information/background on the Challenge

Make sure to visit the “Happy Passengers” area to learn what children’s books bring back happy memories. The “Fun for Kids” area has activity pages, online stories, and games.

Their honorary team captains include children’s book authors Mo Willems, Sandra Boynton, and more. Also on board TV personalities Al Roker, Jerry Seinfeld and others.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Chang-Rae Lee, Korean-American fiction author

Chang-Rae Lee, is a Korean author whose fiction delves into the meaning of acculturation, double allegiances, isolation, and cultural alienation.

He's the author of several books including Native Speaker, Aloft, A Gesture: Life

Here's an interview

And here's another

And yet another

He's had his share of controversy ...but that tends to happen with all minority writers who attempt to speak their hearts honestly.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Ancestral Magic by Moondancer Drake

Available online through Starcrossed productions or from you favorite neighborhood bookstore.

Ancestral Magic by Moondancer Drake
Publisher: PD Publishing
Genre: multicultural paranormal romance, f/f
ISBN: 978-1-933720-54-8 (1-933720-54-9)
Trade paperback cover price = $16.99 USD

"Moondancer Drake draws on indigenous history and ideology to create a rich "underworld" that exists right in plain view of contemporary America, in which battles and intrigue rage between warring clans--one seeking ultimate domination, the other fighting to prevent it. Ancient wisdom goes head-to-head with old animosities in this tension-laden cat-and-mouse game where the stakes are nothing less than the future of a lineage whose roots run deep in the sacred healing traditions of the Earth."

--Andi Marquette, author of Land of Entrapment and State of Denial


In a world where magic has become no more than childish fantasy or cinematic illusion, secret towns exists beyond the sight and understanding of mundane humanity.
Green Grove is such a town.

Sky Hawthorn is a single mother struggling to support herself and her blind son, on nothing more than a waitress’ salary and hardheaded determination.

Meg has spent years watching Sky stumble through one doomed relationship after another with the wrong men, never daring to reveal the secret love she has for Sky

When a lawyer arrives to tell Sky that an aunt she’s never known has left her a manor house in a place she’s never heard of, her family’s life is turned upside down and Sky is left with a big choice to make.

At that moment, with that single decision, the three of their lives change forever.

Hidden away in northern Wisconsin, inaccessible to anyone without magic in their blood, Green Grove’s secrets prove to be big ones. There’s a dark underbelly to the friendly town called the Sect, and they want Sky’s home and the magical place called Sacru Teren, a place her family is bound by ancestry to protect.

With the arrival of Roger Thompson, a charming local doctor that seems determined to sweep Sky off her feet, Meg is left with little but jealousy and doubt. Will the handsome doctor steal away their chance to be happy together, or will visions of Sky’s past and the dark secret that past holds change everything?

Trailer for The Shadow Speaker by Nnedi Okafor

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