Resources and Reading


New Verse Novel Sites

For Those Who Know

Devour Books

Verse Novels

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


Cathy’s Thoughts….

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.