I want to tell you a secret about my new book, We Are Not Eaten By Yaks.
It's autobiographical. It's about me.
I've never actually been thrown out of an airplane or battled an angry Yeti, but I thought of the idea while I was on a flight between Rangoon and Mumbai on the other side of the world, having my own accidental adventures. In Rangoon, the capital of Burma, thousands of red-robed monks were battling with hardened government soldiers, and I literally walked into the middle of it. There were peaceful protests and prayers and then there was chaos and violence. Within days, the government had sealed off the country, shut down the internet and scrambled all foreign television stations. No CNN. No Cartoon Network.
And I really missed it.
It's an exciting moment when a new book comes out.
As a writer you spend hours and days, months and years working on your book, hoping that you're telling the story well, hoping that once you've told it, others will care to read it, and hoping, even more, that when they read it, they will like it. Actually, you hope they will love it, they way you loved those first stories in which you could lose yourself, whether it was Jim Hawkins trying to outwit Long John Siliver in Treasure Island or Harry Potter enduring Professor Snape's withering attention or Wilbur the pig discovering the magic of writing and the power offriendship in Charlotte's Web.
But as my first novel, We Are Not Eaten By Yaks, comes out, I can't help but think of the 774 million people around the world who cannot read or write and who can't yet experience that private moment between a reader and book, when the world outside melts away and you are there with Jim or with Harry having exciting and wonderful adventures, or with that good and friendly spider, Charlotte, learning what it means to love someone so unlike yourself. I wish everyone could experience that magic. On March 9th, World Read Aloud Day is one step toward giving everyone that chance. People all over the world will share the power of stories with each other. You can too.