Ali participated in last spring's book trailer workshop which we did in conjunction with Madison Public Library and Simpson Street Free Press. Ali is a natural comedian (who aspires to host The Daily Show one day) so it wasn't surprising to us that the book he chose to read and create a trailer for was Open Mic: Riffs on Life between Cultures in Ten Voices (Candlewick, 2013). It's an anthology of funny short stories for teens by authors of color. And, not surprisingly, his trailer is hilarious.
He was so inspired by the book that he started a discussion group at his high school to talk about race in an informal after-school setting. So we arranged over spring break to bring Ali to the CCBC so he could talk to Mitali directly via Skype. Funny as they both are (and imagine the two of them together) their discussion turned serious at one point when they talked candidly about race. And it turned downright poignant when Ali went on to tell Mitali how much her writing meant to him, saying "You are me." Talk about literature providing a mirror!
Thanks, Mitali, for being such an inspiration. And thanks, Ali, for a great book trailer and author interview. We look forward to seeing you one day on The Daily Show.