Orchards is Thompson’s debut novel for young adults and is written in verse. It tells the story of Kana Goldberg, a half-Jewish, half-Japanese American teenager who, after a classmate’s unexpected death, is sent to her family’s farm in Japan to reflect on her participation in the events that led up to the classmate’s suicide.
Orchards has been receiving rave reviews since its release this past Spring (read PaperTigers’ review here) and is included on the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) Best Fiction for Young Adults Nominations list.
“Writing for Young Adults” with author Perpi Alipon-Tiongson and publisher RayVi Sunico;
“The Many Forms of the Novel”, in which she spoke about writing in verse and read an excerpt from Orchards; and
“The Stranger Experience” on writing away from home, cross-cultural experiences, and the multi-faceted immigration experience, with Gemma Nemenzo and Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Diaz. The immigrant’s experience plays a vital role in Junot’s work and I have to share this amazing quote from him that I found on Tarie Sabido’s blog Asia in the Heart, World on the Mind:
“You guys know about vampires? … You know, vampires have no reflections in a mirror? There’s this idea that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. And what I’ve always thought isn’t that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. It’s that if you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves. And growing up, I felt like a monster in some ways. I didn’t see myself reflected at all. I was like, Yo, is something wrong with me? That the whole society seems to think that people like me don’t exist? And part of what inspired me, was this deep desire that before I died, I would make a couple of mirrors. That I would make some mirrors so that kids like me might see themselves reflected back and might not feel so monstrous for it.” — Junot Diaz