Guest Blogger

Collaborate and Listen: Adam Gidwitz and Hena Khan

Another early morning for ALSC Institute 2022. Adam Gidwitz and Hena Khan opened the day talking about their collaboration in authoring the latest installment of the Unicorn Rescue Society with healthy doses of humor and humility.

The Secret of the Himalayas is the sixth installment of the Unicorn Rescue Society series started by Gidwitz and the fourth featuring a co-author. The third book of the series, Sasquatch and the Muckleshoot, was Gidwitz’s first author collaboration with Joseph Bruchac. During this first collaboration, Gidwitz wanted to include information about the Residential Schools of 19th and 20th century and sent his thoughts to Bruchac. To which Bruchac responded with his cultural knowledge for edits and accuracy. Gidwitz mentioned that in the collaborative process he prizes authenticity over accuracy. Yes, he wants the information presented to be factual, but also a reader from that culture should read the work and feel at home.

Gidwitz and Khan first had a chance meeting on a bus which sparked a conversation of fantastical creatures and a bond was formed that led to their eventual collaboration. They treated us to a reading from The Secret of the Himalayas and pulled back the curtain on their collaborative process from idea to outline to completed prose. The novel has our protagonists arriving in the Tor Ghar district of northern Pakistan along the Himalayan Mountains where they believe they will finally find a unicorn. They follow a Watcher up the mountain to finally see what they believe will be a unicorn.

Hena Khan, Anne Price, Adam, Gidwitz
Left to Right: Hena Khan, Anne Price, Adam Gidwitz
Used with permission

Guest contributor Anne Price (she/her/hers) is the Children’s Librarian for the North Platte Public Library in Nebraska and a member of the ALSC Public Awareness and Advocacy Committee.  For the last 7 years, she’s worked in youth services in public libraries in Wyoming and New Mexico. She is looking forward to connecting with other Children’s Librarians and learning more about making children’s services more inclusive.

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

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