In this post, we feature multi-award-winning author Nisi Shawl. You can hear them speak about their debut novel for youth, Speculation, and try their “invitation to imagine” activity. You’ll also find other resources to explore. Thanks for joining us, and let us know what you think in the comments below!
- Written by Nisi Shawl
- Published by Tu Books, an imprint of Lee & Low Books
- Release date: February 14, 2023
After Winna’s little sister breaks her glasses, Winna’s grandfather gives her an old-timey pair of spectacles that belonged to her great-aunt Estelle. The specs are silver with tiny stars, and best of all, they’re magic: when Winna makes a wish, the spectacles grant it. After Winna wishes that she could see ghosts, she meets ancestors who draw her into a complex mystery with high stakes: if she can find a missing relative, she can lift a curse that threatens her entire family. This beautifully written historical fantasy by an award-winning science fiction author will leave readers viewing their own family roots with new eyes.
From Speculation, by Nisi Shawl.
“Magic was real. Grown-ups and high-school kids said there was no such thing, but Winna knew they were wrong. “Click here to view a longer preview of Speculation, by Nisi Shawl.
Listen to Nisi Shawl talking with TeachingBooks about creating Speculation. You can click the player below or experience the recording on TeachingBooks, where you can read along as you listen, and also translate the text to another language.
- Listen to author Nisi Shawl pronounce their name.
- Explore TeachingBooks’ collection of activities and resources for Speculation.
Invitation to Imagine
TeachingBooks asks each author or illustrator on our Virtual Book Tour to share a writing prompt, a drawing exercise, or just an interesting question to spark curiosity and creativity. Enjoy the following activity contributed by Nisi Shawl.
Imagination Activity with Nisi Shawl
Have you ever conducted an interview with an imaginary person? That’s what you’re going to do now. First, figure out who you’re interviewing. You can pick anyone, as long as they’re not real: a character in a book, movie, game, or comic, maybe. I do this sometimes with a character I’m creating, and you can, too. Or you can pick a superhero like Wonder Woman, or a legend like John Henry. If you have trouble deciding who to interview, have a friend or teacher decide for you. Second, come up with the questions you’ll be asking. Try to ask questions with longer answers than just “Yes,” or “No.” Here are a few of my favorites: What are you afraid of? What’s your favorite thing to eat? Who is your secret crush? What’s the most fun thing you’ve ever done? What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done? How do you feel about money? Third, write or type your questions out, leaving space between them for answers. Fourth (and this is the fun part), pretend that you are the character—Sponge Bob or Tinkerbell or whoever—and write the answers you imagine they would write to those questions. Enjoy!
Finish This Sentence . . . with Nisi Shawl
As part of our Virtual Book Tour, TeachingBooks asks authors and illustrators to complete short sentence prompts. Enjoy Nisi Shawl’s responses.
“You may not know that I can…”
You may not know that I can make a whistle out of an acorn cap. My friend Dale Anderson showed me how to do this when I was a teenager–though he used half a walnut shell. But the principle is the same: you put your thumbs together over the acorn cap or the walnut shell in a certain way and you blow hard on your knuckles. It’s really loud! When I meet someone else who can do the same trick they’re immediately my friend.
To wrap up this Virtual Book Tour, we thank Nisi Shawl for signing a book for all of us.
More Connections to Nisi Shawl and Speculation
- Discover books like Speculation on TeachingBooks.
- Lee & Low’s page about Speculation, written by Nisi Shawl.
- Buy Speculation, written by Nisi Shawl.
Explore all of the titles featured in the TeachingBooks Virtual Book Tour: one link with author interviews, lesson plans, activities, and more!
All text and images are courtesy of Nisi Shawl and Lee & Low and may not be used without expressed written consent.