Today it's my pleasure to welcome Cynthea Liu back--for her middle-grade debut! I adored this book and couldn't wait to pass it along to my 4th grade daughter. She's reading it right now and loving it just as much as I knew she would. Here's what Cynthea has to say:
PARIS PAN TAKES THE DARE does address the issue of beauty somewhat through Robin's character. In a society where tan-ness is good and fairness is almost considered sickly, I'm sure Robin had many insecurities about herself. And its not just the lightness of her skin either- for her, it was her hair, her outfits... Basically everything about her was ridiculed. She was different, and people like Mayo, made sure she knew it!
Personally, growing up, I always thought I was okay to look at, despite the braces and the insecurities about my flat nose. But oh, how differences can make a difference! I coveted those big eyes my peers had. Gorgeous eyes in all different colors. Large, voluminous eyes that can see into your soul! I even tried to draw in bigger eyes in my yearbook photos when I was in jr. high. (And I was shading in the sides of my nose to make it look less flat, too!) EEK!
It just goes to show a simple insecurity can be such a big deal when you're younger. To the point that you'll try to doctor your pictures with a ballpoint pen.
But I am happy to declare that I am no longer drawing in bigger eyes for myself. (I just look paranoid that way!) And I did give Robin an ending that shows that Robin's character IS about character, and not all of those stupid things kids AND adults spend way too much time thinking about.
About Paris Pan Takes the Dare
Twelve-year-old Paris Pan's life is a mess. She's just moved to a tiny town in Nowheresville, Oklahoma; her family life is a comical disaster; her new friends are more like frenemies; and the boy she has a crush on is a dork. Things couldn't possibly get worse, until she discovers that a girl mysteriously died years ago while taking a seventh-grade rite of passage–the Dare– right near Paris's new house. So when Paris starts hearing strange noises coming from the creepy run-down shed in her backyard, she thinks they could be a message from the ghost of a girl. But while she has no plans to make contact with the great beyond, her two new friends have other thoughts. Everyone who's anyone takes the Dare, and now it's Paris's turn. Buy the book here!
About Cynthea Liu
Cynthea spent her formative years in Oklahoma and Texas where she was a Whiz Quiz member, an Academic Decathloner, and a spelling bee champion. (Yes, she was very popular.) After attending college on the East coast, she worked at a corporate job where she mastered PowerPoint and racked up thousands of frequent flyer miles. Eventually, she traded in her suit for sweats to do the fun stuff–writing for children. In addition to PARIS PAN TAKES THE DARE and THE GREAT CALL OF CHINA (buy it here), Cynthea's nonfiction book WRITING FOR CHILDREN AND TEENS: A CRASH COURSE (how to write, revise, and publish your kid's or teen book with children's book publishers) is available in paperback here. Find out more about Cynthea at http://cynthealiu.com.