Nita is a long-time reader of children’s and young adult books, starting from shortly after learning to read at the age of three with Dr. Seuss’ Hop on Pop and graduating to short chapter books by kindergarten, including one about a boy and a dinosaur and masking tape. (Anyone know the name of the book? Comment please!) In addition to reading everything that caught her fancy at the local library, she ordered tons of books from the Scholastic book order at school and received many more as gifts for birthdays and Christmases, including Brian Jacques’ Redwall series and Michael Crichton, both for the birthday at the end of fifth grade.
Spending many summers as a child in Taiwan, where her parents are from, before the proliferation of the Internet, she would finish the books she brought with her within a week, leaving her to the mercy of the foreign bookstores in the nearest city. She boughtGreat Expectations and Les Miserables one summer, since they were two of the few books she had heard of that sounded interesting (she had read David Copperfield at school in sixth grade right before, and the unabridged Hugo novel looked long enough to keep her busy for another few weeks). Even though she did not understand much of either story at the time, she decided that the exposure to the classics helped her later when she had to read them in high school and college. In retrospect.
With a five-years younger sister, she continued reading children’s books well past the age when she might have felt embarrassed about being interested in them without a good reason. Instead, she ordered the first Harry Potter book when it first showed up on her sister’s book order as a high schooler — before it became a world-wide bestseller.
Along the way, she inherited boxes of fantasy and science fiction books from her flute teacher as she left for college, with recommendations for which ones to read first. As an English major at Yale University, she pretended interest in other genres, finishing with a senior seminar in Victorian literature and art, but she kept coming back to her comfort genre of young adult fantasy.
She began writing after graduating from college (when she was no longer required to do so), writing her first novel, Frog Pond, for National Novel Writing Month in 2005. She has since written five other 50,000 word novels, just for fun. This helped her when she had less access to English books in her years living in Okayama, Japan, where she taught English and studied Japanese.
Now she is back in the States, teaching English to (mostly) native English-speaking children again, and loving her job. Recently, she forayed back to the public library to find books for her students, and found to her delight that a crop of new young adult books had sprung up since her last visit to the genre, inspiring her to start this blog as a reader and an educator. Despite going back to reading children’s literature for this job, her degree in English Literature does not go to waste. Working with her high school students, she is able to appreciate having to memorize the Prologue to Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales in Middle English in her first college English class and reading most of Shakespeare’s plays at least once.
Although she speaks Mandarin Chinese and Taiwanese conversationally with her parents, Japanese is now her second language of choice, so there may be Japanese translations and books depending on what she is currently reading. When not reading or writing (or working and doing both), she spends her free time training for half-marathons and doing freelance translation work. You can find a resume and more about her on her website. She lives in Los Angeles.