Interview with Moni Ritchie Hadley

I had the pleasure of speaking with Moni Ritchie Hadley about her book THE STAR FESTIVAL.

Best flavor of shaved ice?

Blue raspberry. That is my daughter’s favorite too. My mom likes it all!

Can you share some good advice you heard recently?

This is more of a quote rather than advice, but I really like these words! 
“Normalization creates culture, and culture drives our choices, which leads to more normalization.” -Seth Godin.
This quote pertained to marketing, but it makes me think about how we as authors can create books that will normalize the diversity in our country.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

Two sixteen-year-old dogs, three kittens, and one cat keep me pretty busy! I also like to walk, swim, camp, study illustration techniques, listen to podcasts and audiobooks, binge-watch good shows with my family, and chat with mom about her life.

Now let’s talk about The Star Festival. It’s a beautiful book that contains Japanese tradition and folklore. Can you tell us a little more about it?

I love the origins of the Tanabata Matsuri, also known as the Star Festival. I wanted to include that story. So in a sense, the book has a story within a story.

Two lovers, Orihime and Hikoboshi, were married and began to neglect their heavenly duties. So, the Emporer of the heavens, Orihime’s father, forbade them to see each other, except for the one time of year celebrated as the Tanabata Matsuri, the evening of the seventh.

Was this a book that required a lot of research before you began to write?

I attended many Japanese festivals as a child but didn’t know why we were celebrating. I also couldn’t remember the distinctions between festivals. So I researched extensively online, looked through old family photos, had many conversations with my mom, and fact-checked current practices with my cousins in Japan.

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