Bamboo People. It was held at the Porter Square Bookstore in Cambridge, MA, which is quite the comfy indie and easily accessible for suburbanites like myself, (despite my GPS' devious scheme to send me via the most circuitous route possible.) I have met Mitali a few times before at tweet-ups (and was even fortunate enough to snag a signed copy of the Bamboo People arc at ALA,) and I am a loyal follower of all her super-helpful and informative tweets. But this was the first opportunity I had to hear her talk about her writing process and influences. She described how it was a 12 year journey for her novel, which actually started life as a picture book (I immediately thought of Sid Fleischman and The Whipping Boy, which underwent a similar transformation.) She shared a moving personal story about her grandfather, which put into perspective the relationship of the two central protagonists. And she paid due homage to the influence of video games on the novel. Yes, video games. She also talked a lot about the country of Burma, where the story takes place. Before I read this book, my own knowledge of the situation in Burma--also known as Myanmar--was limited, although not completely lacking (I am an Economist reader, after all!) For anyone who is unaware of what is happening in Burma, the book will be a thought-provoking eye opener.
All in all, it was a great evening. You just can't beat sitting in a bookstore with like-minded enthusiasts, listening to an author proudly present their latest book. And since I had been following the progress of Bamboo People on-line through Mitali's numerous tweets and updates, I felt a real vested interest in the book myself. If you are in Dedham next week, and would like to meet the personable Mitali Perkins yourself, stop by the Blue Bunny Thursday August 26th.