TODAY | October 04, 2012
>>> this morning on al's book club for kids, "vanished." 11-year-old mila dreams of becoming a musician. when her instrument disappears, she discovers the true story and long history of vanishing without a trace. and we want to welcome back our al's book club kids, jack, samara, and cindy. good to see you guys. and joining us from skype, our special guest lexi , skyping in from michigan.
>> how are you?
>> we're looking forward to your question. hold on a sec, we're going to talk to sheila . this is really kind of interesting. this is the actual instrument.
>> that's right. this is something played in southern india ?
>> yes, this comes -- this is from southern india . and it's played in south indian classical music.
>> what does it sound like?
>> well, i'm going to play it a little bit later. it's not like anything that we hear here. it's something similar to a harp.
>> it's very cool.
>> a central character in the book. let's find out what our guys thought. jack, what's your question for sheila .
>> good morning. the central plot of your story is about a vanishing musical instrument , did you play a musical instrument growing up?
>> it's a very good question, i wasn't a veena player, i was a violinist and i didn't know anything about it. but my niece plays it and the book was written for her. she inspired the main character . but this i got from india last year and it's now mine. it used to belong to my husband's family.
>> can we hear a little bit of it?
>> absolutely. i'm going to play just the opening line to a song i'm working on with my teacher.
>> wow. that sounds great.
>> thank you.
>> how long have you been working on it?
>> four months.
>> you're doing great. all right. let's check in now, what's your question?
>> your book is based on your niece who also shares the same main character as your main character . besides the name and playing the veena, what else do they have in common?
>> well, i'd like to say nothing and everything. when i first started writing the book, she was my audience, you know. i was writing it for her. and then when it was time to send it out into the world and i was working with my editor, i needed to make her fictional. so i had to give her qualities she didn't have. she's scared of playing in front of people, that's me. so there's a little bit of me and a little bit of her.
>> all right. and then finally, let's go to samara. what's your question?
>> i'm sidney.
>> i'm sorry. i'm so taken with the instrument.
>> one of the themes in your book is that it's cursed, no one can seem to hold on to it. is this based on an urban legend you heard growing up?
>> no, it was my own particular fiction. i just thought it was interesting to find different ways to explain it was gone. with was it a person or something super natural?
>> let's go to lexi . what's your question?
>> one of the things i enjoyed most about your book was learning about indian culture . when you wrote the book, was one of your goals to teach young readers about indian culture ? if so, why?
>> that's a very good question, lexi . i know when i was growing up, i loved to read adventure stories and i loved to read about girl characters who were solving mysteries, but i never saw anybody that was like me, and so i felt like this was a chance to have an indian- american girl be a detective. so, yeah, that was one of the things i hoped to do.
>> very important to do too.
>> thank you so much. let's find out how the kids rated the book on a scale of one to five stars, "vanished" gets four stars. very good. sheila , kids, lexi ,