Walking a Bridge between Two Worlds: An Interview with Nancy Bo Flood
An excerpt from the CBC Diversity blog post on October 5, 2016:
Nancy Bo Flood, author of more than fifteen books, sat down with her editor, Yolanda Scott, to discuss Soldier Sister, Fly Home, out from Charlesbridge in August 2016.
YS: You often mention “walking a bridge between two worlds or cultures,” and you’ve said that’s what Tess does in the Soldier Sister, Fly Home. What do you mean?
NBF: Soldier Sister, Fly Home is about walking the bridge between two worlds, Navajo and Anglo, and also the bridge between three generations: one’s own, one’s parents’, and one’s grandparents’. The two sisters, Tess and Gaby, are bi-racial. They walk several bridges daily, between different cultures and different generations. Many of us do this, to different degrees and at different times in our lives.
. . .
YS: You and I were talking about your book, and you told me about a time that Tim Tingle, Choctaw, said that one can never really know another culture, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from sharing their perspective. Can you say more about what you think he meant and how you’ve incorporated this notion into writing your book?
NBF: “Let us meet on the bridge.” This idea was central in a talk given by Tim Tingle, Choctaw, several years ago at the Tucson Book Festival. Tim spoke about writing and sharing stories and emphasized that “One can never ‘know’ another culture, just as one can never completely understand the experiences of another generation. But that should not stop us from sharing our perspective.”
I also think that sharing one’s perspective is important and valid. That’s how we learn from each other and how we begin to care about others. I believe that although cultures differ, the human heart does not. As children or adults, students or parents, we share common struggles, yearnings, joys, and sorrows. Participating, listening, sharing heartaches as well as stories is how we come to know each other. So over the years as I taught at Diné (Navajo) College, I learned as I comforted fussy babies, helped grind corn for a girl’s coming-of-age ceremony, sat in rodeo stands as mothers watched their youngsters race around barrels or cling to the backs of bucking bulls. And then as mothers we talked. We shared from the heart. I sat with students after class as they worried about discrimination, being bullied, about frustrations with parents and grandparents. I listened. I did my best to share what I heard.
To read more of this discussion, please visit: http://www.cbcdiversity.com/post/151438543403/walking-a-bridge-between-two-worlds-an-interview
As a fish-brain surgeon or a rodeo poem wrangler, Nancy Bo Flood has always loved stories. She strongly believes that words—in poetry or prose—help heal our hearts and give us new eyes to see the world. Nancy was first a research psychologist studying brain development at the University of Minnesota and London University before following her passion: writing for children.
Yolanda Scott is associate publisher and editorial director at Charlesbridge, where she has edited nearly 200 books since beginning her career in 1995. She is a co-founder of Children’s Books Boston, sits on the board of directors of the Children’s Book Council, and is a former member of the CBC Diversity Committee.
- Cindy Ritter