Talk About A Power Lunch

Seventeen students from King Middle School in Portland, Maine traveled with two teachers and their fabulous librarian, Kelley McDaniel, to lunch with me today at a Burmese restaurant in Boston.  What a memory! I love my job.

My first stop was my ever-generous publisher Charlesbridge, where Donna Spurlock was waiting with books to give to the kids.

YoMa ("mountain") Burmese restaurant is owned by a Shan man who came to Boston in 1993 after receiving political asylum for his role in the 8/8/88 protests. Delicious food and gracious service.

The amazing Kelley McDaniel—a poster child for why we need school librarians—coordinated the entire event, including the signed bamboo stick they gave me as a gift.

Much to my amazement, three of the students were newly-arrived Karenni who came from a refugee camp like the one where my novel is set. They didn't speak much English, but they dressed up for the visit, and even mustered shy smiles for this photo. Find out more about Karenni refugees here.

Kelley had read aloud an ARC of my book, Bamboo People (and engaged them in some brilliant discussion questions), but the students were excited to get their own signed copies. And yes, that's my hero, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi watching us from the wall.