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Friday, October 27, 2017

Interview with Melissa Shang: Wheeling through Middle School

Young writers are doing great things. Welcome to an interview with Melissa Shang who wrote Wheeling Through Middle School when she was 8th grade. It explores the impact of bullying on a girl in a wheelchair while it introduces a mystery. The book draws from Melissa's own experiences.

1.  What is your name and the name of your book?
My name is Melissa Shang and the name of my book is Mia Lee Is Wheeling Through Middle School.

Melissa Shang, author of Mia Lee Is Wheeling Through Middle School
2.  What is your book about? 

Mia Lee Is Wheeling Through Middle School is about a sixth grade stop-motion filmmaker in a wheelchair called Mia Lee and her experiences during her first year of middle school. In this book, Mia makes new friends, runs for Video Production Club president, and has to deal with a middle school mean girl. When Mia’s campaign posters get stolen, Mia and her friends are on a mission to figure out who stole them, and get themselves into exciting adventures along the way.

Cover for the book, Mia Lee Is Wheeling Through Middle School
3.  How did you get interested in writing?  Why did you choose to write about a middle school girl who uses a wheelchair for mobility?  
I’ve loved reading for as long as I can remember. When I was younger, I remember going to the library every week to get new books. I love how reading gives people of all ages the ability to go into a new world and experience different things while physically never having to leave the house. Through reading so much, I started gaining an appreciation for the art of writing. However, out of all the books I’ve read, I’ve never read a story starring a girl with a disability. So many people don’t know anything about disabilities and what it’s really like to have a disability because they don’t see them represented in stories. And I wanted to change that. So I wrote Mia, the main character, as someone who used a wheelchair like myself. Instead of seeing the wheelchair from the outside, readers actually get to understand Mia’s perspective from the inside.

4.  Is your book drawn from personal experience?  How much? Why?
 Most of the book was drawn from personal experience starting middle school. For example, Mia’s friends Caroline, Rory, and Daniela were based off of my friends in middle school. Caroline is based off of my best friend Cassie, who I’ve also known since first grade. Also, like Mia, I love to film stop-motion videos of my dolls and post them on Youtube, and obviously, I also have a disability. While I wanted to keep the book as true to my life as possible, I also wanted it to be interesting and entertaining. I don’t normally solve that many mysteries!

5.  What are some of the most challenging aspects of middle school?  Have you observed bullying?  What kind? Is there anything that can be done? 
While I didn’t have direct experiences of bullying in middle school, the biggest challenge in middle school is making friends while being yourself. A lot of kids in middle school get really caught up with fitting in and being popular that they forget to be true to themselves. My main advice for middle school is to be open to new experiences while not forgetting to stay true to themselves. You see this with Mia and Caroline when on the first day, Mia just wants to move on and forget all their old traditions, but Caroline isn’t willing to try new things. Having a balance of both is the way to go.

6.  Do you think that Mia Lee Is Wheeling Through Middle School is just about kids with disabilities, or is it about something else as well?  What might those things be?
 Mia Lee is Wheeling Through Middle School is definitely not only about kids with disabilities. A big part of Mia Lee is Wheeling Through Middle School is actually about friendship and the way friendship can change as you grow up. Mia and Caroline started off as best friends forever, and Caroline was really afraid of losing that. However, by the end of the book, Caroline and Mia are part of this great new group of friends and their friendship has reached this new level. I think this is something that a lot of kids go through, with or without a disability. It was just important to me to show that kids with disabilities go through it as well.

7.  Are you working on anything now?
Right now, I’m in ninth grade, and I just started high school in a completely new school district after my family moved. I’m currently focusing on adjusting to high school, making new friends, and getting good grades, but I’m always looking for ways to stand up for people with disabilities and make my voice heard.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Making Money in Mature Fields Symposium: AAPG/SIPES Fort Worth

Don't miss a packed agenda with speakers focused on sharing new knowledge and experiences in making money with mature fields.

A Joint SIPES/AAPG Symposium Sponsored by SIPES Fort Worth Chapter, October 30, 2017

Hosted by TCU Energy Institute
Dee J Kelley Alumni and Visitors Center
  • 12 30-minute Technical Sessions
  • Up to 6 Continuing Education Credits
  • Continental breakfast and box lunch
  • Morning and afternoon refreshments
  • $50 per person all inclusive
  • Tell all your friends!
Dee J Kelley Alumni & Visitors Center
2820 Stadium Dr, Fort Worth, TX

Symposium Speakers

Morning- click graphicto enlarge

Afternoon - click graphic to enlarge


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Farewell, Silver Bird Presented at Library of Congress

Karolina Kolmanic's Farewell, Silver Bird, a story of love and danger set in Slovenia during World War II, has been presented to the Library of Congress by Vladimir Kolmanic, who is a member of the Slovenian diplomatic corps in Washington, DC.

Vladimir Kolmanic

Karolina Kolmanic, Farewell, Silver Bird

To order a copy, please visit this website.

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