I am so excited to partner with Penguin Random House Canada and Puffin Canada today to share a mini-essay written by Tanya Lloyd Kyi!
Tanya Lloyd Kyi is the author of several books and her most recent is Me and Banksy – a middle grade book focusing on a protest against cameras that brings a group of children together. It’s an incredibly important story and is perfect for middle grade students!
Tanya has written several mini-essays to help promote the release of Me and Banksy. Today, she’s sharing the inspiration behind the story and why she decided to write it! I know a lot of people look for information on writing experiences or the publication process, so I really hope you enjoy her guest post!
If You’re Not Doing Anything Wrong by Tanya Lloyd Kyi
I’m terrible at arguments. As soon as I get riled, I lose all ability to form coherent sentences.
When I do manage to articulate my point of view, it’s usually two hours too late.
In 2017, I wrote a middle-grade non-fiction book called Eyes and Spies: How You’re Tracked and Why You Should Know. The book delved into all aspects of the security/privacy debate. But in real life, I still had trouble explaining privacy implications, even to my own family.
Example A: my husband signed up for a loyalty card at the pharmacy.
“You just sold them all your data in exchange for a ten percent discount,” I said.
“They can figure out everything about you. Your income level, how you vote…”
“But I can collect points,” he said. “I love free stuff.”
Example B: my teenaged daughter was sharing selfies.
“Now everyone knows where you are!” I protested.
“Exactly,” she said.
Meanwhile, at an elementary school just a few minutes from my house, parents were campaigning for cameras in the playground, to combat perceived security threats.
I had so much to say about this subject. And since I couldn’t manage to say it in real life, there was only one choice. I had to write another book.
That’s how Me and Banksy was born. My main character, Dominica, does something perfectly innocuous in a deserted corner of her school library: she flips her shirt right-side-out. But when that act is caught on camera and shared with other students, life gets wildly complicated.
Me and Banksy is more of a romp than a lecture. And I didn’t manage to squeeze in a list of reasons my husband should refuse store loyalty cards. (I may have to write a sequel.)
Hopefully, I did manage to answer the pesky question that security advocates like to pose:
“If you’re not doing anything wrong, why does it matter?”
Dominica wasn’t doing anything wrong, and it mattered. It mattered a whole lot.
The book is out now if you want to know what happens to Dom and her friends. And don’t worry … I’m much more articulate in print.
About Me and Banksy
A Banksy-style protest against cameras in classrooms brings a group of middle-grade students together. For fans of Rebecca Stead, Susin Nielsen and Gordon Korman.
Dominica’s private school is covered in cameras, and someone is hacking into them and posting embarrassing moments for the whole school to see. Like Ana picking her nose. When Dominica quickly changes her shirt from inside out in what she thinks is the privacy of a quiet corner in the library, she’s shocked — and embarrassed — to discover a video has captured this and is currently circulating amongst her schoolmates. So mortifying, especially since over the past three years, they’ve had a half-dozen school talks about social media safety.
Who has access to the school security cameras and why are they doing this? Dominica and her best friends, Holden and Saanvi, are determined to find out, and in the process start an art-based student campaign against cameras in the classroom.
About Tanya Lloyd Kyi
Tanya writes both fiction and non-fiction, often choosing topics related to science, pop culture, or social history—or a combination of the three. She enjoys combining factual research with intriguing narratives, or the life stories of interesting folks.
In her spare time, Tanya likes to run, bake, and read. Her favourite meal is breakfast, her favourite color is blue, and her favourite children’s book is A Wrinkle in Time.
Tanya grew up in Creston, B.C., and now lives in Vancouver with her husband, who claims to be the world’s only Burmese occupational therapist. She balances writing time with parenthood, caring for her daughter Julia and her son Matthew.