Hey there word nerds!
Today I have the pleasure of hosting Anne Sibley O’Brien on the show!
Anne is a children’s book writer and illustrator who has created thirty-seven books, some of which she has written, some she’s illustrated, and some for which she has done both. Her focus is on diverse children and cultures and this passion comes from being raised in South Korea as the daughter of medical missionaries.
The most recent books she has written and illustrated are the companion picture books, I’m New Here and the just-published Someone New. These books look at the story of three just-arrived immigrant children both from the perspective of those children themselves and from the point of view of their new classmates.
As the daughter of immigrants who has spent her life straddling two very different cultures, these books had a powerful impact on me. And I’m not the only one. Both titles have received starred reviews from Kirkus, and I’m New Here has gotten numerous accolades including being named a Kirkus Review’s Best Book of the Year.
In addition to all her amazing work as a writer (as if that weren’t already enough) Anne is also the cofounder of I’m Your Neighbor Books, an online searchable database of children’s literature that shines a spotlight on the contemporary immigrant experience.
Listen in to hear me and Anne chat about these amazing picture books, the modern immigrant experience, and how to open up the world to children (and everyone else) through books.
In this episode Anne and I discuss:
- Showing the experience of immigrant children from both sides.
- Mirror books, window books, and why we need to read both.
- How to represent a culture that is not your own authentically in your writing.
- Developing empathy in children through diverse books.
- An inside look at I’m Your Neighbor Books, what it is and how to take part.
Plus, Anne’s #1 tip for writers.
About Anne Sibley O’Brien
Anne Sibley O’Brien is a children’s book writer and illustrator who has created thirty-seven books, some she wrote, some she illustrated, and some she wrote and illustrated. Her focus on diverse children and cultures is a direct result of having been raised in South Korea as the daughter of medical missionaries.
Her first novel for young readers, In the Shadow of the Sun (2017), a political escape thriller set in North Korea, is a Junior Library Guild Selection, a Bank Street College Best Book of the Year, a CBC/NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People, and an International Literacy Association Teachers’ Choice.
The most recent books Anne wrote as well as illustrated are the companion picture books, I’m New Here (2015) and the just-published Someone New (2018), about three just-arrived immigrant children and their classmates. Both titles received starred reviews from Kirkus, and I’m New Here is a Kirkus Review’s Best Book of the Year, a CBC/NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People, and a Bank Street College Best Children’s Book of the Year.
To connect with Anne check out her website at www.AnneSibleyOBrien.com.
And to learn more about I’m Your Neighbor Books, check out www.imyourneighborbooks.org.
I’m New Here
Three new students are immigrants from Guatemala, Korea, and Somalia and have trouble speaking, writing, and sharing ideas in English in their new American elementary school. Through self-determination and with encouragement from their peers and teachers, the students learn to feel confident and comfortable in their new school without losing a sense of their home country, language, and identity.
In this companion story to I’m New Here, three elementary schoolers—who aren’t new—begin to understand and embrace three immigrant students.
In I’m New Here, readers meet three recent immigrants trying to adjust to a new country and school. In Someone New, the same story is told from the perspective of the three American students who welcome the newcomers. An honest and heartwarming look at diversity, inclusion, and friendship.
If you decide to check out either I’m New Here, Someone New, or both we hope you’ll do so via these Amazon affiliate links, where if you choose to purchase via the link DIY MFA gets a referral fee at no cost to you. As always, thank you for supporting DIY MFA!
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Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome!