Hello, dear readers!
Gloria and I have been sitting on this news since January, crossing our fingers and hoping that the contract negotiations would go smoothly and swiftly... and YES! Now we can officially announce that...
STAR IN THE FOREST (ESTRELLA EN EL BOSQUE) has been optioned to be a feature film!!!!!!!!!!!!
Back in January, I was thrilled to find a beautiful, heartfelt email from indie producer Dana Friedman in my inbox. She eloquently talked about how she and her daughter connected with the book thanks to a recommendation from the school librarian (YAY, librarians!) After reading it, Dana couldn't get it out of her mind, and envisioned it as a feature film for the whole family! And now that the deal is sealed, she can get started!
Gloria and I feel enormously lucky that STAR is in such good hands with Dana. She's the owner of Kaleidoscope Media, and her most recent film, Learning to Drive (Patricia Clarkson and Ben Kingsley), sensitively portrayed immigration issues in the context of a meaningful and moving cross-cultural friendship, with wonderful touches of humor. She cares deeply about the heartbreaks and challenges that immigrant families have been going through, and we all feel that the time is right to bring this story to the big screen.
Gloria Garcia Diaz has been involved in STAR since the first sparks of inspiration. She was invaluable throughout the whole process.... and we were beyond thrilled when Scholastic en Espanol published her lovely translation of STAR a couple years ago!
Gloria is not only a close, longtime friend, but also my writing partner, collaborator, and former ESL student (I taught English to adult immigrants for many years while I was writing my first books). As a Mexican immigrant trying to make a good life with her husband and daughter, Gloria has been deeply shaken by the increasing anti-immigrant sentiment in our federal government.
But the good news is: for the development of the film, Gloria will be a cultural consultant! This means she will help the script-writers and film-makers get every detail right regarding the life of immigrant families in these scary and sad times. We're over the moon that she will have this role!
If you haven't read STAR IN THE FOREST, you can read more about it here, and you can read about the Spanish version here. (Or you could just read the book-- it's relatively short and would probably just take you an hour or so to finish!) It's for ages 8 and up-- it's a great family read-aloud, and a perfect starting point to discuss immigration issues with kids. Inspired by both a true story and southern Mexican folklore, it tells the experiences of a Mexican immigrant family in Colorado through the eyes of an eleven-year-old girl whose dad has just been deported. She's determined to reunite her family (with the help of a lovable stray dog, a zany new friend, and a bit of magic...)
While Gloria and I are starry-eyed and hopeful, we do know that there's no guarantee the development process will bear fruit in the form of a movie... but we feel that people's hearts are wide open to a story like this one, and we welcome any good wishes and energy you can send STAR'S way!
Heaps of love,