Another excerpt from Ash by Malinda Lo
Excerpt from Ash by Malinda Lo. For more, head to her website.
Aisling’s mother died at midsummer. She had fallen sick so suddenly that some of the villagers wondered if the fairies had come and taken her, for she was still young and beautiful. She was buried three days later beneath the hawthorn tree behind the house, just as twilight was darkening the sky.
Maire Solanya, the village greenwitch, came that evening to perform the old rituals over the grave. She stood at the foot of the mound of black soil, a thin old woman with white hair bound in a braid that reached her hips, her face a finely drawn map of lines. Aisling and her father stood across from each other on either side of the grave, and at the head of it, resting on the simple headstone, was the burning candle. Aisling’s father had lit it shortly after Elinor died, and it would burn all night, sheltered by the curving glass around it. The gravestone was a plain piece of slate carved with her name: Elinor. Grass and tree roots would grow up around it as the months and years passed, until it would seem as if it had always been there.
Maire Solanya said in her low, clear voice, “From life to life, from breath to breath, we remember Elinor.” She held a round loaf of bread in her hands, and she tore off a small piece and ate it, chewing deliberately, before handing the loaf to Aisling’s father. He pulled off his own piece, then passed it to his daughter. It was still warm, and it smelled like her mother’s kitchen after baking. But it hadn’t come from her mother’s hands, and that realization made a hard lump rise in her throat. The bread was tasteless.
#diverse kids lit
#Real Kids/ Good Books Review
Ash (2009) by Malinda Lo.
I had the wonderful opportunity to hear Malinda Lo talk about her writing during her Diversity Tour earlier this year and I’ve been eyeing my autographed copy of Ash since then, waiting until I had a chunk of time to dive into it. I can finally report that I munched it down in just a couple of days.
Malinda Lo has taken the Cinderella story and created her book from the spaces left untold and unexamined in the classic narrative. The main characters circle around in a complicated love triangle involving fairies, both beautiful and dangerous, royal balls, and a mysterious Huntress thrown in for good measure.
If you’ve heard anything about Ash before now, you’ve probably heard that it’s a queer re-telling of Cinderella. And that it is. But more than that, Malinda Lo has created a vivid world where Ash becomes an active agent in her own life. In Ash she’s not a beautiful servant girl waiting for someone else to save her from a life of toil. In Ash, she is the one who makes the choice to save herself— choosing to be with the girl of her dreams.
Now that’s my kind of fairy tale!
Donor Offspring Characters in Young Adult Fiction →
“if a donor offspring teenager came into [the] library asking for a book on this subject, finding such a title would not be easy because a Library of Congress subject heading for ‘donor offspring’ does not exist. Imagine being a donor offspring teenager seeking information on the subject and being told that the subject, at least according to the cataloguers, does not exist.”
Luckily Patricia Mendell and Patricia Sarles have compiled a great annotated resource to find books that donor teens can see themselves in.
Side Note: I definitely do not love the term “offspring.” There’s got to be another term out there. I’ll keep looking.
#diverse kids lit
#Real Kids/ Good Books Review
Street Love (2006) by Walter Dean Myers.
I love this re-tellling of the Romeo and Juliet story. Young Damien Battle plays basketball and has worked hard in school. He’s set to go to a four year university when he meets Junice. Junice is trying to raise her little sister because her mother is locked up. Both are living with their grandmother who is being swallowed by Alzheimer’s so their social worker is threatening to split them up and put them in foster homes. Below is a little taste for you.
Here we see a busy school yard
Black, brown, and tan forms
Painting the illusion of music
With their bodies, ball-dancing between the
White lines of the court.
Young Damien Battle, comfortable in stride and gesture
Wearing his seventeen years easily around broad
Shoulders, saunters at the unhurried pace of
Hero knowing that the space that
Opens before him is his due.
"I am not drawn to the pulpit—it is the podium that inspires me. And from my podium I write up, not down, to readers. I write about, although obviously not exclusively for, black teenagers. And contrary to what appears to be conventional wisdom, I see no problem evoking both T.S. Eliot and Missy Elliot, lacrosse and basketball, buggin’ out and Sturm und Drang, pumpkin soup and BBQ spareribs, and generally whipping up a rich unibrow mix of do-rags, private schools, collard greens, blazers, hoodies, Bill Clinton, rap music, Basquiat, ya mama jokes, Harlem redstones, violin adagios, housing projects, three-story Colonials, baggy jeans, Dostoyevsky, graffiti, and flaming calla lilies."
Janet McDonald (1954-2007) author of Brother Hood, Spellbound and others.
Diversity in YA Fiction Tour →
Come out and meet fabulous writers bringing diversity to YA and middle grade fiction including Malinda Lo, Cindy Pon and lots of other amazing local authors like Guadelupe Garcia McCall, Nnedi Okorafor, Francisco X. Stork, David Levithan, Rita Williams-Garcia, Jacqueline Woodson and more.
5/7: SF, CA @ Main Library
5/9: Austin, TX @ BookPeople
5/10: Chicago, IL @ Barbara’s Books
5/12: Cambridge, MA @ Main Library
5/13: NY, NY @ LGBTQ Community Center
5/14: NY, NY @ Books of Wonder