Resources and Reading
New Verse Novel Sites
A few favourite YA Verse Novels
Keesha’s House by Helen Frost
The Fattening Hut by Pat Lowery Collins
Learning to Swim by Ann Turner
Fishtailing by Wendy Phillips
By the River by Steven Herrick
Sold by Patricia McCormick
A few favourite Middle Grade Verse Novels
Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
Love That Dog by Sharon Creech
May B. by Caroline Starr Rose
Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson
Eddie’s War by Carol Fisher Saller
South Asian Fiction
Books about Sikhs and the 1984 Delhi Riots
The Sikhs by Patwant Singh
When a Tree Shook Delhi by Manoj Mitta & H.S. Phoolka
Bitter Harvest by Maloy Krishna Dhar
Kala November translated by Saroj Vasishth
Novels set in India in 1984
Can You Hear the Nightbird Call? by Anita Rau Badami
Under the Moonlit Sky by Nav. K Gill
A Feast For Lambs by Jessi Thind
Books That Explore Indian Culture
Secret Keeper by Mitali Perkins
Climbing the Stairs by Padma Venkatraman
Keeping Corner by Kashmira Sheth
Saraswati’s Way bu Monika Schroder
Reading About Immigrant Identity
The Latte Rebellion by Sarah Jamila Stevenson
Cathy’s Interviews & Postings
Sites & Blogs Cathy Follows
YA Blog Reviews
Please see the Review section of this website
Why is Karma written in verse?
Partly accident: the original, raw material was stream-of-consciousness writing and when I lifted sections from the first draft they resembled lines of poetry. Partly language: when I realized that the story would be a dramatic journey for Maya I thought that her emotion could be contained in short tight phrases and strong imagery. Partly structure: sometimes diaries are filled with random thoughts, glimpses, brief confessions, outbursts, so I hoped verse might accurately convey the sense of urgency and tension that I wanted — First Novels Club
Was it always your intention to shine a light on the brutality?
I knew at the beginning of the writing process that I would set Maya’s story in Delhi during the riots that followed Indira Gandhi’s murder. But even I was astonished at the brutality that came to light in my research. As a testament to those who suffered so cruelly I decided to let the harsh details stand. India is intense and complicated and I wanted Karma to illustrate this reality as well as my deep affection for the country. — Wicked Awesome Books
Did you find that writing in verse came easily?
I found writing Karma in verse very enjoyable Ė Iím not sure thatís the same thing as easy, though. Each of the over 300 poems was edited many many times until they achieved the rhythm and content I was after. I hoped that the short lines of prose, dialogue, imagery, and confessions would offer a glimpse into the thinking of two teenagers. — Escape Through the Pages
Why did you decide to write a novel about the Indian culture?
India is a passionate, complex, often corrupt, yet interesting country with a long history and an exciting future. The nation does not fall easily into labels: it is multi-cultural; it is forward thinking and frighteningly backward; it is rich in literature, art, architecture, and myth; it is religiously significant and layered. And it is a thrilling culture. Once you’ve visited, it beckons again. — That Hapa Chick
What is the inspiration for writing Karma?
Travelling through India in 1984 affected me. It changed me. I thought by writing this story I would honour the Sikh people and honour India. — Kevin from Canada
What did you learn from writing Karma?
Karma taught me that writing a book is an intense labor of love that will not yield to a prescribed time frame. This is the single thing I am absolutely certain of when it comes to writing. Love for characters drives the narrative. Love of words drives the prose. Love of story finds the ending. Love of truth makes it all matter. But ideas about Time must be relinquished. — Hunger Mountain
Non-Profit Literacy Organizations in India
Ashanka Foundation India Literacy Project - a US-based non-profit dedicated to spreading the cause of literacy in India.
Azim Premji Foundation - promoting educational initiatives in Karnataka.
Ekal Vidyalaya - working in rural and tribal areas managing non-formal one-teacher schools.
Friends of TREAD - working in partnership with TREAD India Trust, in areas of child education and development in rural Orissa.
Katha - devoted to publishing, workshops, cooperative centres, non-formal education centres and pro-poor activities in India.
Literacy for Everyone (LIFE) Charitable Trust - working to educate the underprivileged children in India.
Rural Education and Literacy (REAL) - US-based non-profit dedicated to supporting the literacy and basic education of underserved youth in India.
Tamilnadu Village Outreach - working to establish and run free tuition schools in the state of Tamilnadu.