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Author Lisa See at Oakwood School Library Tribute

Posted By Karen Young On October 27, 2009 @ 11:33 pm In School News,Schools,spotlight | 1 Comment

carole rosner90BY CAROLE ROSNER

The Oakwood School Parent Organization presented its 23rd Annual Library Tribute and Breakfast featuring best-selling author, Lisa See, on October 27 at the Beverly Garland Holiday Inn. What started as a luncheon in a backyard years ago, has evolved to a yearly literary event that’s eagerly anticipated by the school community.

Author Lisa See

Author Lisa See Photo: Courtesy Lisa See.com

Over the years, many notable authors including Maurice Sendak, Joyce Carol Oates, Jeannette Walls and Carolyn See (Lisa See’s mother),  have served as guest authors at this North Hollywood private school’s  sponsored event.

Keeping with the theme of Lisa See’s latest novel, Shanghai Girls, Beverly Garland’s Holiday Inn ballroom was beautifully decorated with red and gold accents, Chinese inspired floral centerpieces and even fortune cookies. Nine hundred elementary school books and 225 secondary school books selected by Oakwood’s four librarians were brought in for the event. Guests were encouraged to purchase these pre-selected books and dedicate them to an Oakwood student or faculty member.

Books

Nine hundred elementary school books and 225 secondary school books selected by Oakwood’s four librarians were brought in for the event. Guests were encouraged to purchase these pre-selected books and dedicate them to an Oakwood student or faculty member. Photo: Carole Rosner

“Kids love to see their names in a book,” said Elena Buckley, an Oakwood parent and co-chair of the event. “They’ll check out these books over and over again.” (If you didn’t make it to the event, you can still purchase books for the Oakwood library).

After an introduction from Assistant Headmaster Michael Mancini, Lisa See approached the podium.

“My books are all about relationships and emotions,” See explained to the eager audience. “However, this book is the closest to my heart.”

Lisa See signed copies of her latest novel, Shanghai Girls

Lisa See signed copies of her latest novel, Shanghai Girls. Photo: Carole Rosner

See writes historical fiction based on growing up in Los Angeles with Irish and Chinese parents. She has a rich and fascinating personal history with L.A. including a Chinese great grandfather, nicknamed “The Godfather of Chinatown,” who was the first Chinese American to own an automobile in the states, as well as family members who ran successful antique businesses originating in L.A.’s long defunct China City (a rival to Chinatown).

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“The people and places that disappear make us who we are,” See said. She does an extensive amount of research and travel for each book and revealed that she is ready to write a book when she can tell the story.  See said she has been interviewing people for over 20 years and has heard a great deal about joys and hardships. She shared that she spends about two years from start to finish on writing a book and has five people review the manuscript. Her writing includes everything she knows “up to that point in life.”  See said she is currently working on a sequel to Shanghai Girls.

Interesting tidbit — when See reads a book, she’ll read the first 20 pages and then the last 20 pages and keeps alternating front and back until she meets herself in the middle.

The happiness, pain and triumph one can experience from Lisa See’s books emphasize what Assistant Headmaster Mancini so eloquently said in his introduction, “This event supports the power of stories.”

Carole Rosner is a native Valley Girl who has lived in Studio City for the past 11 years. She is a strong supporter of her local public schools and an active volunteer in her neighborhood. Some of her favorite things to do in Studio City are to celebrate 4th of July at CBS Radford, walk along Ventura Blvd. and browse through the racks at Crossroads Trading Company.

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