Andrea Davis Pinkney has written many books for children and young adults, including The Red Pencil, winner of the 2015 Children's Africana Book Award, and Rhythm Ride.
From her Q & A with Deborah Kalb:
Q: Your book The Red Pencil takes place in Darfur. Why did you decide to set the book there, and how did you research the recent history of Sudan and Darfur?--Marshal Zeringue
A: In the year 2003-2004, Darfur and the crisis in Sudan was everywhere in the news. My own children were in middle school at that time. I asked them, Do you know what’s going on in Darfur? They sort of knew. I thought, How do middle schoolers make sense of the complexities of war, and a crisis like that? They need to know.
The other piece was that as an author I visit schools all over the globe—practically every state, and on the continent of Africa. People were saying, You’ve got to tell this story, and I was saying, I agree.
Aside from the specifics of Sudan and Darfur is the larger question: How do any of us make sense of any war?
The research came in many forms, first through my school visits here and abroad, talking to students about war, Sudan and Darfur.
It was one of those things where intention and longing meet up---people from Sudan and Darfur started entering my orbit. I...[read on]