South Sudanese American rapper OD Bonny opened our launch event for The Good Braider on a blustery night in Maine. Then he stunned us with a new song he has written to tell the story of Viola, the heroine of the novel. OD is still working on the song and is creating a book trailer with scenes from Juba and Portland. Here’s a sneak preview of OD singing A Girl From Juba.The cover song of his new album, Kwo I Lobo Tek stays in my mind. The Portland Phoenix called it “an infectious pop-hip-hop carousel ride.” “Kwo I Lobo Tek” is Acholi, meaning roughly, life is a hard journey. But the song feels like hope.
Anne Sibley O’Brien’s book about a family from Cambodia was just published by Charlesbridge. Annie, Kirsten Cappy, and I are presenting a symposium at the International Reading Association Conference in April. Our topic – New Neighbors: Using Children’s and YA Books as a Bridge Between Cultures. I have spent hours journeying through Annie’s blog: Coloring Between the Lines: Reflections on Race, Culture, and Children’s Books. Chicago, here we come!