That’s what I thought, too, as I walked through the streets of Cambodia. And this picture is cheating just a tiny bit because Lanie’s story really starts in Indonesia. I spent all of April 2008 doing author visits to international schools in Indonesia and Cambodia. While I was there I got an email from the editor I’d worked with at American Girl when I wrote SABA: UNDER THE HYENA’S FOOT for the “Girls of Many Lands” series.
International schools are fascinating places, each one different. The one in Cambodia was stuffed with young readers and writers whose parents are involved in nonprofit work, and all over the school I saw projects where the students are figuring out their own ways to help struggling Cambodian families. I saw lots of kids who spend their family life on the streets of Phnom Penh…eating, napping, playing, sleeping outside. What a contrast to so many American kids who seem to live almost entirely inside. All of that was bubbling in my brain as I waited for the chance to get back to the U.S. and meet with the American Girl team in Madison to see what they were thinking about for the girl of the year 2010.
Every writer hears this command: write about what you know about. Bubble, bubble, bubble.