Léna is also a Regional Manager for Writopia Lab whose mission is to foster joy, literacy, and critical thinking in kids and teens from all backgrounds through creative writing.

"Well, the question is, what do you want to believe? Do you want to live in a world where things are possible, or in one where they aren't?" Cin, Edges.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

In BeTWEEN Book Clubs and Open Mic Events

Oh yes, I am playing with words on this rainy morning, before I get ready to train into the city with Judy Blundell for a meta lunch with writers Rebecca Stead, Deborah Heiligman, Carolyn Mackler, Rachel Vail, Elizabeth Winthrop and Jeanne Betancourt. At Henry's - my grandmother's favorite restaurant.

(What happens at lunch, stays at lunch!)

And I am inbetween book clubs and Open Mics - last Sunday we hosted an Open Mic for my Writopia kids in Larchmont and packed The Voracious Reader to the gills, and last night we had our InBeTWEEN Book Club at the Bedford Hills Free Library, where we discussed this month's pic, A Mango Shaped Space by Wendy Mass.

Later in the month there will be another Open Mic (at the Mt. Kisco Library), and there will be the first meeting of our new book club that my friend Erika insisted we start. (Since we both, you know, like to read and stuff.) We will be reading and discussing Swamplandia (Karen Russell) with four other people. (If you want to read it too, we can start a discussion on here!)

And in February, I have been invited to one of Wetchester's longest running book clubs, comprised of TEACHERS to discuss Edges.

Our InbeTWEEN Book Club members, ranging in age from 11 to 13, (okay, I'm almost 44, but I can pretend, can't I?) all thoroughly enjoyed the book.

From Booklist: For 13-year-old Mia Winchell, the world has always been filled with a wonderful, if sometimes dizzying, sensory onslaught--numbers, letters, words, and sounds all cause her to see a distinct array of colors. She keeps her unusual condition a secret until eighth grade, but then her color visions make math and Spanish impossibly confusing, and she must go to her parents and a doctor for help. However, this is more than a docu-novel. Mass beautifully integrates information about synesthesia with Mia's coming-of-age story, which includes her break with her best friend and her grief over her grandfather's death. The episode where Mia fabricates an illness to try out acupuncture for the color visions it produces is marvelously done, showing Mia's eagerness for new experiences even as it describes a synesthete's vision.

We were all fascinated by synesthesia, and most of us wouldn't mind having that special condition ourselves! I couldn't help but see a correlation to addiction, especially in the acupuncture scene where she goes because she heard that it can enhance her experience of colors. For an adult reading this, we see Mia go on a hallucinogenic trip. The boy she meets on-line, another synesthete, hints that alcohol and kissing can enhance the colors as well.

If I were Mia, I would probably be doing anything to enhance my colors, but that's me. It would have been a very slippery slope indeed.


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