Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn by Kenard Pak (Holt Books for Young Readers, August 2016). All rights reserved. @macmillanchildrensbooks

Good Morning, City by Pat Kiernan, illustrated by Pascal Campion (Farrar, Straus and Giroux BYR/Macmillan, November 2016). All rights reserved. @macmillanchildrensbooks

Subway Ride by Heather Lynn Miller (Charlesbridge Publishing, 2011). All rights reserved. @charlesbridgebooks

Little Elliot, Big Fun by Mike Curato (Henry Holt & Co. BYR/Macmillan, August 2016). All rights reserved. @macmillanchildrensbooks

Are We There Yet? by Dan Santat (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers/Hachette, April 2016. All rights reserved. 

A Stick is an Excellent Thing: Poems Celebrating Outdoor Play by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by LeUyen Pham (Clarion Books/HMH, February 2012). All rights reserved.

One Family by George Shannon, illustrated by Blanca Gomez (Farrar, Straus and Giroux/Macmillan Children’s, May 2015). All rights reserved. @macmillankids   

Parallel Heartbeats

An It’s Complicated! — Authentic Voices guest post by author, Graham Salisbury.

image New Cover My second novel, Under the Blood-Red Sun (1994), is about the power of friendship as seen through the eyes of two young boys in Honolulu when Pearl Harbor is bombed. One is Billy, a white boy, who’d moved to Hawaii from California, and the other is his best friend, Tomi , a Japanese boy born and raised in the islands. I wrote the first draft of this novel from Billy’s point of view, figuring, well gee, I’m a white guy … I had to write it from Billy’s point of view.

But that first draft wasn’t working; the editorial letter said, in effect, “This novel has no heartbeat. Try again.”   


So … should I start over, or chuck the three hundred pages and move on to something else? That may sound like a tough decision, but it wasn’t, because I realized that my problem was really quite simple: I’d written the book from the wrong point of view. This was Tomi’s story, not Billy’s.

But could I, a Caucasian, write a novel in first person from the point of view of a young Japanese-American boy? I had an audience of young readers that would very likely believe that I actually was Tomi, and must be Japanese. If they were to ever actually see me they might feel betrayed! And what about reviewers and other adults? “The nerve!”

The CBC Diversity initiative was founded in 2012, as part of the Children’s Book Council’s commitment to promoting diverse voices in literature for young people.