KUCI 88.9fm

KUCI 88.9fm
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Monday, April 24, 2023

GOOD DIFFERENT by Meg Eden Kuyatt (Ages 8-12) is an extraordinary novel-in-verse about a neurodivergent girl who comes to understand and celebrate her difference from a promising new voice in children’s literature.



Inspired by Meg's own experience living on the spectrum and largely “passing” as neurotypical, GOOD DIFFERENT is an extraordinary novel-in-verse about a neurodivergent girl who comes to understand and celebrate her difference.


“This is like the next "Wonder." Written by a young woman with autism, "Good Different" is a prose poem about what it means to own your neurodiversity. It examines how these undercurrents affect life, school, friendships and family, and how to turn pain into prose. Kuyatt is gifted and her parents' lifelong insistence that her neurodivergent features were her superpowers has propelled her to keep writing and sharing, advocating and illuminating, and building a community of thinkers. This story will make any neurodivergent person feel less alone but will also be a balm for all families who contend with this on a daily basis. Short and sweet, eye-opening and original, "Good Different" should be required reading, especially at schools.”


GOOD MORNING AMERICA
recommends GOOD DIFFERENT by Meg Eden Kuyatt on a list of “13 Books to Spring Into Reading” curated by Zibby Owens!

An extraordinary novel-in-verse about a neurodivergent girl who comes to understand and celebrate her difference, for fans of Starfish and Counting by 7’s.


MEG EDEN KUYATT

“Relatable, profound and beautifully heartfelt. I loved it.”

—Elle McNicoll, author of the Schneider Family Book Award Honor-winning A Kind of Spark

Inspired by the author’s experience living on the spectrum as someone who largely “passes” in society as neurotypical, GOOD DIFFERENT by Meg Eden Kuyatt (On sale April 4, 2023 | Ages 8-12 | Scholastic Press) is an extraordinary novel-in-verse about a neurodivergent girl who comes to understand and celebrate her difference from a promising new voice in children’s literature. A poignant and much-needed addition to books about the autism experience, GOOD DIFFERENT will appeal to fans of Starfish and A Kind of Spark and leave a lasting impression on all its readers.

Selah knows her rules for being normal. She always, always sticks to them. This means keeping her feelings locked tightly inside, despite the way they build up inside her as each school day goes on, so that she has to run to the bathroom and hide in the stall until she can calm down. So that she has to tear off her normal-person mask the second she gets home from school, and listen to her favorite pop song on repeat, trying to recharge. Selah feels like a dragon stuck in a world of humans, but she knows how to hide it. Until the day she explodes and hits a fellow student.

Selah's friends pull away from her, her school threatens expulsion, and her comfortable, familiar world starts to crumble. But as Selah starts to figure out more about who she is, she comes to understand that different doesn’t mean damaged. Can she get her school to understand that, too, before it’s too late?

MEG EDEN KUYATT is a neurodivergent author and college-level creative writing instructor. She is a 2020 Pitch Wars mentee, and the author of poetry books. When she isn’t writing, she’s probably playing Fire Emblem. If she could be a Pok√©mon, she’d be Charizard. Find her online at www.megedenbooks.com or on Instagram at @meden_author.

Talking Points from Meg Eden Kuyatt (GOOD DIFFERENT)

“Gifted and talented” kids may just be another term for neurodivergent…and may be a title that’s causing more damage than good.

Meg can expand on feedback she received as a “gifted and talented kid” that was meant to be encouraging but instead, instilled in her the expectation that everything she does must be extraordinary and the repercussions this had when she hit adulthood.

The Complicated Politics of Passing as Neurotypical—and Writing as Autistic

Meg can expand on feedback received about her work of masking/passing autistic characters and how they have been invalidated by readers because they do not meet their limited understanding of what it means to be autistic.

Surviving as a Neurodivergent Person: The Ableism in Everyday Life

Meg can expand on ableism in workplace expectations, of what it means to be a “team player,” and how 9-5 isn’t really sustainable for neurodivergent folks, which is supported by unemployment statistics.



“High-functioning” (and other problems with how we talk about autism)

Meg can expand on the ableism in how we talk about autism: Asperger’s, “high-functioning”, the puzzle piece, etc.

Monday, April 3, 2023

Monday 4/3 9am LIVE on KUCI - NATURAL BEAUTY, the debut novel by Ling Ling Huang

NATURAL BEAUTY, the debut novel by Ling Ling Huang, is a gorgeously written, razor-sharp book, which follows an unnamed narrator into an elite, beauty-obsessed world where perfection comes at a staggering cost. Lush, sensual, and bitingly funny, NATURAL BEAUTY examines questions of consumerism, self-worth, race, and identity while eviscerating the beauty and wellness industry. Huang mines her personal experience as a professional musician, child of immigrants, and former wellness store employee for a book that brilliantly weaves together satirical, horror, and thriller elements. NATURAL BEAUTY has been optioned for a TV series to be produced by Crazy Rich Asians star Constance Wu and Yellowjackets executive producer Drew Comins.



ABOUT THE BOOK
Shifting between the past and present, the narrator recalls her childhood as a piano prodigy and daughter of Chinese immigrants while attempting to make sense of her present life as the newest employee of Holistik—a high-end wellness store in New York City known for its remarkable, ethically-sourced products and extravagant procedures. She begins working at the mysterious store to pay for her parents’ care after an accident leaves them debilitated, but it soon becomes clear that there is more to Holistik, and its exceptionally attractive employees, than meets the eye.

As she falls deeper into the world of Holistik, learning of increasingly absurd treatments—remoras that suck out cheap Botox, eyelash extensions made of spider silk, emotional support ducklings bred to imprint on their owners—she also becomes close with Helen, the stunning niece of the store’s owner. Their relationship blossoms in surprising ways, as they both ingest and absorb all manner of beautifying products. Day by day, the narrator grows both more suspicious of and entrenched in the world of Holistik.

INTERVIEW TOPICS FOR LING LING HUANG’S NATURAL BEAUTY

· How Ling Ling’s time working in a high-end NYC wellness store inspired the narrative

· America’s obsession with Eurocentric beauty standards, and the fear that the beauty industry relies on

· How the privileged often use methodologies that certain cultures use to survive as trends (or why appropriation is problematic)

· Writing women’s bodies as sites of horror, surveillance, and intrusion

· The importance of family and heritage, especially in relation to assimilation

· The joys and challenges of shifting from one art form (music) to another (writing)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Ling Ling Huang is a writer and violinist. She plays with several ensembles including the Music Kitchen, Washington Heights Chamber Orchestra, Urban Playground Chamber Orchestra, Shattered Glass, and Experiential Orchestra, with whom she won a Grammy award in 2021. Natural Beauty is her first novel.



linglinghuang.com / Instagram: @violingsquared