When my Merit Press editor Jackie Mitchard e-mailed me the cover of NO SURRENDER SOLDIER, without hesitation I e-mailed back, “I love it!” What I loved about the cover is the perspective. I don’t know who is the illustrator of my cover, but he or she understood both the duel perspective—two alternate Read More
READ LIKE A WRITER, a teaching blog
On December 7, 1941, Hawaii was not the only U.S. territory to be attacked. Hours after Japanese pilots attacked Pearl Harbor, Oahu, on Dec. 7/Dec. 8 (Asian side of International Dateline), 1941, Japanese forces attacked Guam and the Philippines, which were also United States possessions like Hawaii. (Simultaneously the Japanese attacked British colonies Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaya.) Within days Japan occupied Guam and the Philippines.
WHY SHOULD AMERICANS CARE?
My intent in this brief overview is not to debate the merits or evils of colonialism. Historically it happened. There is no turning back the clock with 20-20 hindsight. The facts are that the U.S. government acquired and U.S. military protected and governed Hawaii, Guam, and the Philippines at the end of the Spanish-American war in 1898-9. (For more information on exact political status in 1941 see Guampedia
for Guam, University of Alberta for the Philippines, U.S. Dept. of State for Hawaii.
During the occupation of Guam and the Philippines, many Japanese soldiers committed atrocities against the people. Even if these two islands had not been U.S. possessions for about 42 years, it’s impossible for us as a free people to stand back and not intervene when defenseless people are raped, tortured, enslaved, and murdered. Our burden to liberate the Guamanians and Filipinos was doubly so because of the nearly half a century of colonialism that caused them to be defenseless and dependent on U.S. military protection.
U.S. Marines liberated Guam July 4, 1944. U.S. military invaded the Philippines Oct. 1944. The Philippines is much larger and very rugged mountainous terrain so the battles were long and fierce. Germany surrendered May 7, 1945. Japan surrendered August 14, 1945. The Philippines became an independent nation after WWII ended. After WWII Japan lay down its weapons and the U.S. military took over its military bases. To this day the U.S. continues to provide military protection for post-war Japan, which re-directed its energies into economic development, technology, and political stability.
HOW I LEARNED TO CARE
I graduated from the University of Hawaii journalism school in 1985. Several of my professors were former war correspondents from WWII through Vietnam. When I was a reporter for the Pacific Daily News (Gannett), based on Guam, I covered political status issues such as Commonwealth hearings in Guam’s quest for self-determination and U.S.-Philippine military base negotiations. (Guam is still a U.S. Territory. Read Guampedia for political status history. The Philippines did not renew agreements for the U.S. military to use base facilities so the U.S. military only acts in an advisory capacity to Filipino military forces.)
On a personal level, I loved Guam, the Philippines, and Japan, where I also lived. My children were educated in Hawaii, Japan, and Guam and studied the history, culture, and language of these Pacific Islands. Most of all, I loved the people.
It was out of my newfound understanding of WWII history in the Pacific that I researched and wrote the novel NO SURRENDER SOLDIER. It was out of my love for the people of all these islands that I created sympathetic realistic characters in Kiko Chargalauf, a 15-year-old Chamorro boy, and his family; Kiko’s best friend, Tomas Tanaka, and his family; and even Isamu Seto, the WWII Japanese soldier modeled after the real “no surrender soldier” Shoichi Yokoi. It is my hope that this novel will raise awareness of the history and political status of these lovely Pacific islands and people. So when you remember Pearl Harbor, you will also remember Guam, the Philippines, and Japan.
[Note: This brief general primer is not intended for use as a scholarly source.] Read More
FOOD SHORTAGES & RISKY BEHAVIOR
By Karen Bass
Close your eyes and imagine your perfect feast, think about those succulent dishes, steam wafting up to tease you with their delicious smells. Now pretend you’re imagining that feast when you haven’t had enough to eat for months. Anticipation becomes torture. Your stomach clenches in Read More
This is the third blog article in a series about the importance of food in YA literature.
SACRIFICE, COMMUNION, & FELLOWSHIP
In NO SURRENDER SOLDIER (Merit Press, Jan. 2014) food is significant both literally and symbolically. In Guam, 98 percent of people are Roman Catholic. As a result, Guamanians host huge fiestas, many celebrating villages’ patron saints. Read More
GOURMET YA LIT, Part II
This is the second blog article in a series about food in young adult literature in celebration of Thanksgiving in Canada (Oct. 14) and the U.S. (Nov. 28). In today’s article I have asked Beth Fehlbaum to talk about food in BIG FAT DISASTER, Merit Press, March 2014. I’ll Read More
In celebration of Thanksgiving, the annual big pig-out feast, in Canada (Oct. 14) and the U.S. (Nov. 28) I’m running a series of articles about food in young adult (YA) literature. In today’s article I’ve asked Kim Askew & Amy Helmes, co-authors of ANYONE BUT YOU (Merit Press, Jan. 18, 2014) and Suzanne Kamata, author of GADGET GIRL: THE ART OF BEING INVISIBLE (GemmaMedia, 2013) to tell you why food is important, and prevalent, in their stories. (*Ed. note: The authors wrote the articles but I edited their articles into third person.)
ANYONE BUT YOU is a retelling of Romeo and Juliet in Chicago Italian restaurants. Mmm…pizza, anyone? To get a taste of how cleverly creative Kamata plays with food and cooking utensils, here’s a quote from GADGET GIRL: “Luckily, Gadget Girl has brought along her crème brȗlée torch. She’s been planning on using it to make a surprise dessert for Chaz’s victory dinner, but she whips it out early to melt the golem.”
Warning: You might want to wear a bib in case you drool while reading.
ANYONE BUT YOU by Kim Askew & Amy Helmes
The inspiration for Askew and Helmes’ third Twisted Lit novel, ANYONE BUT YOU, was the Montague and Capulet animosity in Romeo and Juliet. Why did the families despise each other in the first place? The authors’ re-imagined saga revolves around a bitter rivalry between two family-owned Italian restaurants in Chicago, and the mystery of how their feud began. Naturally, Askew and Helmes were influenced by the ongoing debate over who makes the best Chicago deep-dish pies: Gino’s East? Giordano’s? Lou Malnati’s? Pizzeria Uno? (Uh...they’re opting not to weigh in with a verdict on that, lest any diehards out there come after them with pizza-cutters!) The star-crossed lovers, Roman and Gigi, find forbidden love against the backdrop of homemade pasta and pizza dough. Going back in time—1933, to be exact—to explore the imagined history of their families’ epic impasse gave the authors an opportunity to tell the fascinating history of pizza in America. The dish wasn’t always standard fare in the States, but like the works of Shakespeare, it’s become a classic readers would be quite reluctant to live without.
By Christine Kohler
This article is cross-posted on Uncommon YA as part of its “Behind the Scenes in Publishing/One Thing That Sold My Book” series. I interviewed Jacquelyn Mitchard, the editor who acquired my debut novel NO SURRENDER SOLDIER, tbr January 18, 2014, by Merit Press (Adams Media/ F+W Media).
CK: Merit Press is a relatively Read More
"War is a terrible thing, and many return with wounds invisible to the eye." -- Terry Pratchett, DODGER (HarperCollins, 2012)
This is true of all my characters in NO SURRENDER SOLDIER. The after-effects of war on people's lives are like contracting a genetic disease, even passing it down to future generations.
PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY ARTICLE
Men Read More