Wednesday, May 04, 2016

What is Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsu reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsu, author of Somewhere Among.

Her entry begins:
I haven’t been reading much lately but when I do it’s usually picture books, middle grade novels, short stories and poetry.

I love the poetry of Naomi Shihab Nye and listen to her readings online. I find her voice, especially, comforting. She was here in Japan visiting international schools a couple of months ago and our SCBWI chapter advisor invited us to a reading and dinner afterwards. I rushed to get her 2014 middle grade novel, The Turtle of Oman, sent to my house to have for her to sign but it didn’t make it in time. I read it later and loved the details, the story, and the voice, especially. I am hoping...[read on]
About Somewhere Among, from the publisher:
A beautiful and haunting debut novel in verse about an American-Japanese girl struggling with the loneliness of being caught between two worlds when the tragedy of 9/11 strikes an ocean away.

Eleven-year-old Ema has always been of two worlds—her father’s Japanese heritage and her mother’s life in America. She’s spent summers in California for as long as she can remember, but this year she and her mother are staying with her grandparents in Japan as they await the arrival of Ema’s baby sibling. Her mother’s pregnancy has been tricky, putting everyone on edge, but Ema’s heart is singing—finally, there will be someone else who will understand what it’s like to belong and not belong at the same time.

But Ema’s good spirits are muffled by her grandmother who is cold, tightfisted, and quick to reprimand her for the slightest infraction. Then, when their stay is extended and Ema must go to a new school, her worries of not belonging grow. And when the tragedy of 9/11 strikes, Ema, her parents, and the world watch as the twin towers fall…

As Ema watches her mother grieve for her country across the ocean—threatening the safety of her pregnancy—and her beloved grandfather falls ill, she feels more helpless and hopeless than ever. And yet, surrounded by tragedy, Ema sees for the first time the tender side of her grandmother, and the reason for the penny-pinching and sternness make sense—her grandmother has been preparing so they could all survive the worst.

Dipping and soaring, Somewhere Among is the story of one girl’s search for identity, inner peace, and how she discovers that hope can indeed rise from the ashes of disaster.
Visit Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsu's website.

Writers Read: Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsu.

--Marshal Zeringue