Diversity in YA Tour

One of the best things about living in NYC is I get to go to awesome events, like the NYC stop on the Diversity in YA tour. Not only that, but there’s a picture proving I was there!

The panel, hosted by Books of Wonder, made me want to read all their books:

Matt de la Peña, Malinda Lo, Kekla Magoon, Neesha Meminger, Cindy Pon, Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, and Jacqueline Woodson, and moderated by Cheryl Klein

I didn’t take very good notes, so I can’t quote many people verbatim, but the questions were awesome and the answers were thoughtful, inspiring and often funny. Especially the lightening round when Cheryl Klein asked questions of such earth-shattering importance such as “Doughnuts or ice cream?”

Jacqueline Woodson (author of at least 30 books!) said, about mentors: “the books that I read were my mentors. Write all the time, don’t be afraid of what you are writing. Surround yourself with people who get it.”

Kekla Magoon, on editors: “Good editors help you to be better at what you want to do, not what they want you to do.”

Neesha Meminger, possibly quoting someone else (see, bad note taking): “Create art that matters.”

I’d have to say that Matt de la Peña, as the token male, was the class clown. (I mean that in a good way). Actually, everyone was pretty funny. He passed on answering “Edward or Jacob?”

Cheryl Klein’s favorite YA book, or the one she would recommend (see, ditto): Very Far Away From Anywhere Else by Ursula Le Guin (No way! A Le Guin book I haven’t read?!)

Cindy Pon’s favorite book growing up was A Little Princess, by Frances Hodgson Burnett (huh, wikipedia just told me that it was published in 1905 and had started as a serialized novel in the 1880s). I loved to sob over that book when I was a kid.

Everything Malinda Lo said was awesome, but I just finished Ash and I’m in luv (with the book y’all, Malinda is taken and so am I). I was too nervous to introduce myself beforehand, (duh) but I did go up to Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, who will be teaching the Friday humor intensive I signed up for at the NJ SCBWI Conference in June. She was excited to meet one of her future attendees.

Matt de la Peña: I Will Save You

Malinda Lo: Huntress

Kekla Magoon: Camo Girl

Neesha Meminger: Jazz in Love

Cindy Pon: Fury of the Phoenix

Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich: 8th Grade Superzero

Jacqueline Woodson: you know, I’m not sure what book she had up with her, but one of her others is After Tupac and D Foster


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