Southern California author Tina Athaide’s middle-grade debut was the critically acclaimed novel Orange for the Sunsets (2019, Katherine Tegen). Her latest publication is picture book Meena’s Mindful Moment (2021, Page Street Kids).
CHRISTINE VAN ZANDT: Welcome to Kite Tales! Your historical fiction, middle-grade book, Orange for the Sunsets, about two friends (an Indian girl and a Ugandan boy) is set in 1972 Uganda when President Idi Amin announced all Indians with British citizenship had 90 days to leave Uganda—a story that is close to your heart. Did the span of decades help give this life-altering event perspective?
TINA ATHAIDE: Time is exactly what this story needed. The decades in between gave me a broader perspective, which allowed for the space to present two alternating points of view. When I first set out to write the story, it was in the late 1990s, and I had a singular vision—telling the story from an Asian Indian POV. Now when I look at the story, I cannot imagine it without Yesofu, the Ugandan boy. Time healed to look past the loss and pain of the Asian Indian experience so I could give a voice to the Ugandan experiences during that time, so the story had balance.