"I looked at all three of them and thought, 'If they'd been born in 1800 Louisiana, people would have had one thing in mind. One thing,' " Straight told The Times in 2006, when "A Million Nightingales" was released. "Can you imagine what their lives would have been like, with their looks and their brains?"
Now, as she recounts in her column for KCET, Straight is teaching a course at
The novels Straight assigned for the class are "Wingshooters" by Nina Revoyr, about a young girl who is half-Japanese and "half-Wisconsin," as Straight writes; "American Son" by Brian Ascalon Roley, about a young man who is half-Filipino and "half-military-American"; "The Girl Who Fell From the Sky" by Heidi W. Durrow, about a young girl who is half-Danish and half-African American; and her own novel "Highwire Moon," which is about a girl who is "half-Oaxacan-Mixtec-Mexican and half-Coloradan."