Acclaimed Young Adult Author Ellen Oh Visits Viewpoint
On Tuesday, October 16, acclaimed author of young adult (YA) fiction Ellen Oh spoke to Viewpoint’s Middle School students in the Carlson Family Theater, followed by lunch and conversation with students in the Upper School. Ms. Oh is the editor of two anthologies of stories written by underrepresented authors, and the author of six books for young adults. Her anthology, Flying Lessons and Others Stories is part of the Sixth Grade English curriculum and the students were excited to welcome her to campus.
Ms. Oh shared her path to becoming an author and advocate for diverse literature with the students: She is Korean American and was a lawyer before she turned to writing. Inspired by the Harry Potter series and not finding anything like it featuring non-white characters, she decided to write science fiction and adventure stories featuring Asian and Asian-American protagonists. Ms. Oh is also co-founder, President, and CEO of We Need Diverse Books, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing diversity in children’s literature. She explained how the lack of diverse literature and the desire to support a diverse community of authors prompted her to help found this organization.
Sixth Grade English Teacher Cherie Boss remarked on her visit, “Viewpoint School students love to read and to get lost in literature, yet Ellen Oh reminded us how important it is for our students see themselves reflected in the pages of the books they read, and equally, how important it is for them to meet diverse characters as well. The stories she chose for Flying Lessons, each written by popular YA authors, introduce our kids to authentic characters in compelling, real life situations, and inspire empathy and compassion.”