Author Archives: Greg R. Fishbone

Diversity Baby Needs You

weneeddiversebooks

Diversity Baby was born on April 2nd, so she’s no April Fool.

Diversity Baby knows is curious about her world and all the people in it.

Diversity Baby comes from a family of readers.

Diversity Baby’s bookshelf has plenty of space for new books.

Diversity Baby needs to experience many viewpoints.

Diversity Baby needs to know that she can be a hero.

Diversity Baby needs to know that everyone can be a hero.

Diversity Baby was about one month old when the BEA’s annual BookCon announced its lineup of featured authors, all of the same race and gender, and the Internet exploded with calls for change.

Diversity Baby doesn’t know about Tumblr, Twitter, or trending hashtags, but she would have been proud of the effort that many thousands of people expended to bring more voices to the books she will grow up with.

Diversity Baby also didn’t attend the annual New England Society of Book Writers and Illustrators conference that happened during the weekend of the #weneeddiversebooks campaign.

Diversity Baby would have heard, from editors at the conference, that decades of effort have been slowly turning the tide in favor of diversity.

Diversity Baby would have heard anecdotal evidence that major booksellers are no longer rejecting books with minority characters featured prominently on the cover.

Diversity Baby would have heard that the marketing departments, the last holdouts at many major publishing houses, have finally come around.

Diversity Baby would have heard that diverse books are now being seen as a big plus within the industry, and that editors are searching for new and original voices.

Diversity Baby will be about two months old when BookCon happens, now including a new panel of diverse authors from the #weneeddiversebooks movement–including Grace Lin, Matt de la Peña and Jacqueline Woodson.

Diversity Baby needs diverse books.

Diversity Baby needs diverse voices.

Every baby is a Diversity Baby.

Greg R. Fishbone is the proud father of Diversity Baby and her big sister, Diversity Girl. Greg writes galactic fiction for young readers and has a new webcomic at http://gfishbone.com/septina

Happy Pi Day!

I’ve decided there’s not enough math in my life.

As an author, I deal in words, artwork, character development, and plotlines–but I’m rarely if ever called on to solve a quadratic equation. Perhaps once a year, when I hit that one line item on the income tax form where you have to solve for x2+3x-7 and put the result in Box 32, and even then I use a program that does the heavy lifting for me.

It wasn’t always that way, though. Back in elementary school, I loved math. I loved math even more than I loved writing stories. I gave myself bonus questions to solve because it was such a disappointment when my homework assignments ended. Math and I were best buds until 7th grade, when math, completely unprovoked, suddenly started to punch me in the face on a regular basis. Algebra. Geometry. Trig. Calculus. Math jabbed me with blow after blow until I gave up the fight and enrolled in law school, where math is statutorily barred from the building.

But every once in a while, I miss my old friendship with math. Especially at this time of year. March 14th–3.14–is also known as Pi Day, when the date resembles history’s most famous transcendental number.

I’d love to review all the dozens of pi-themed novels on my bookshelf, but the closest thing I have is Yann Martel’s The Life of Pi, and that book doesn’t actually contain much math, unless you count Pi’s calculation of a safe circumference around a waterlogged tiger. Likewise, Number the Stars by Lois Lowry and The Devil’s Arithmetic by Jane Yolen both have a lot less math (and more Nazis) than you would imagine from their titles.

Instead, celebrate Pi Day by checking out the middle grade “Do the Math” series by Wendy Lichtman. For older readers there are math-focused YA characters in John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines, younger readers will enjoy Jon Scieszka’s Math Curse, and adults can bake pies with a circumference-to-radius ratio of 3.14159 (hint: think round). If you have any additional suggestions, please leave them in the comments.

I like pumpkin.

I’m frankly surprised that more authors haven’t turned to math for inspiration. For example, consider the fact that pi is non-terminating and non-repeating. That means it never ends and never repeats itself. If we could make a book accomplish that same feat, it would literally be impossible to put down. Ever.

If you can’t get enough of this year’s Pi Day festivities, you can start preparing for Tau Day–named for a constant with the value of roughly 6.28–coming up on June 28th. And get excited for 2015, just one year away, when we will celebrate 3/14/15 9:26:54, both AM and PM, the only two moments in an entire century represented by pi’s first ten digits.

Have a Mixed-Up Middle Grade Halloween!

Hopefully you caught Jonathan Rosen’s suggestions for Halloween reads. And now that you’re in a suitably spooky mood, get ready for the big night itself with a midgrade-inspired costume.  Here are a few ideas to bring good books to life.

Pippi Longstocking from Astrid Lindgren

Astrid Lindgren’s quirky strong-girl is a good antidote to the annual glut of superhero costumes, as she could totally take Spiderman in an arm-wrestling match. The most important thing being about Pippi is getting the socks right, I mean wrong, I mean mismatched. Otherwise folks will be calling you Wendy and trying to order hamburgers from you.

Fab Pippi Longstocking Costume #literary #costumes #halloween

Harry Potter from the series by J.K. Rowling

Expecto Patronum! What could be easier than a drawn-on scar, some round-rimmed glasses, a magic wand, and a Gryffindor scarf? Put them together and bang, your a wizard, Harry!

Harry Potter Costume- so cute! #literary #costumes #halloween

Frodo Baggins from “The Lord of the Rings” series by J.R.R. Tolkein

Not a costume for trick-or-treating in, unless your hairy bare hobbit feet are exceptionally sturdy, but a definite standout at an indoor party. Ring-Pops may be fine for the dwarves, elves, and humans, but Frodo has one to rule them all, and in darkness bind them.

LORD OF THE RINGS | hobbit costume #literary #costumes #halloween

Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

May the tricks and treats be ever in your favor! As an added bonus, the hungrier you look, the more candy you will receive.

Katniss Everdeen -  #literary #costumes #halloween

Alice from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

This one is big. Or small. Or both.

Awesome Alice-in-Wonderland! #literary #costumes #halloween

An Oompa-Loompa from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

The green-haired kid in white coveralls is very cute, and the dad’s got a wild-eyed look appropriate to Willy Wonka, but wow–it takes a lot of daring to dress as a giant chocolate bar on Halloween night.

klt:works

Whatever costume you or your little readers wear, stay safe out there!

Have any other literary costume plans or ideas? Let us know in the comments!