Have you been following the brouhaha on Twitter: #WeNeedDiverseBooks ?
This is what went down:
“Last week, BookCon announced their event’s lineup of blockbuster kid lit panelists. Jeff Kinney, James Patterson, Rick Riordan, and Lemony Snicket, four white men, will be starring as luminaries in the field for this event.
Even the invited panelists have begun raising important questions, as Rick Riordan tweeted the following:
Not surprisingly, there were many angry posts about this:
Blindingly White: BookCon, John Green, and Knowing When It’s Time to Speak Up
And BookCon responded but not in a satisfactory way despite a backlash of negative publicity:
“Recently, there’s been a groundswell of discontent over the lack of diversity in children’s literature. The issue is being picked up by news outlets like these two pieces in the NYT, CNN, EW, and many more. But while we individually care about diversity, there is still a disconnect. BEA’s Bookcon recently announced an all-white-male panel of “luminaries of children’s literature,” and when we pointed out the lack of diversity, nothing changed.” From Vamos y Leer
With your help, we can get the word out to the publishing industry.
Here’s how you can participate
On May 1st at 1pm (EST), there will be a public call for action that will spread over 3 days. We’re starting with a visual social media campaign using the hashtag #WeNeedDiverseBooks. We want people to tweet, Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, blog, and post anywhere they can to help make the hashtag go viral.
For the visual part of the campaign:
- Take a photo holding a sign that says “We need diverse books because ___________________________.” Fill in the blank with an important, poignant, funny, and/or personal reason why this campaign is important to you.
- The photo can be of you or a friend or anyone who wants to support diversity in kids’ lit. It can be a photo of the sign without you if you would prefer not to be in a picture. Be as creative as you want! Pose the sign with your favorite stuffed animal or at your favorite library. Get a bunch of friends to hold a bunch of signs.
- However you want to do it, we want to share it! There will be a Tumblr page that will host all of the photos and messages for the campaign. Please submit your visual component by May 1st to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “photo” or submit it right on our Tumblr page here and it will be posted throughout the first day.
- Starting at 1:00PM (EST) the Tumblr will start posting and it will be your job to reblog, tweet, Facebook, or share wherever you think will help get the word out.
- The intent is that from 1pm EST to 3pm EST, there will be a nonstop hashtag party to spread the word. We hope that we’ll get enough people to participate to make the hashtag trend and grab the notice of more media outlets.
- The Tumblr will continue to be active throughout the length of the campaign, and for however long we need to keep this discussion going, so we welcome everyone to keep emailing or sending in submissions even after May 1st.
On May 2nd, the second part of our campaign will roll out with a Twitter chat scheduled for 2pm (EST) using the same hashtag. Please use #WeNeedDiverseBooks at 2pm on May 2nd and share your thoughts on the issues with diversity in literature and why diversity matters to you.
On May 3rd, 2pm (EST), the third portion of our campaign will begin. There will be a Diversify Your Shelves initiative to encourage people to put their money where their mouth is and buy diverse books and take photos of them. Diversify Your Shelves is all about actively seeking out diverse literature in bookstores and libraries, and there will be some fantastic giveaways for people who participate in the campaign! More details to come!
I hope that you will take part in this in any way you can. We need to spread the word far and wide so that it will trend on Twitter. So that media outlets will pick it up as a news item. So that the organizers of BEA and every big conference and festival out there gets the message that diversity is important to everyone. We hope you will help us by being a part of this movement.
Joseph Bruchac YA GIVEAWAY
Colby Sharp of the Nerdy Book Club inspired me to purchase two copies of a beloved diversity book from an independent bookshop and do a giveaway. I choose Joseph Bruchac’s latest dystopian action-adventure page-turner, Killer of Enemies. I’m reading it now and it should be on the short list for a Printz award! If your child likes dystopian action adventure with a strong girl heroine like The Hunger Games, then please give his young adult thriller a try!
Joseph Bruchac is on MY shortlist for children’s and YA authors who deserve to be famous but probably aren’t because they are people of color. He’s written more than 120 books for kids and adults across a wide range of genres from picture books to easy chapter books to YA. And all are excellent. Why isn’t he more well known?
Please enter to win! I’ll be selecting two winners!
Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac
Years ago, seventeen-year-old Apache hunter Lozen and her family lived in a world of haves and have-nots. There were the Ones—people so augmented with technology and genetic enhancements that they were barely human—and there was everyone else who served them. Then the Cloud came, and everything changed. Tech stopped working. The world plunged back into a new steam age. The Ones’ pets—genetically engineered monsters—turned on them and are now loose in the world. Lozen was not one of the lucky ones pre-C, but fate has given her a unique set of survival skills and magical abilities.
She hunts monsters for the Ones who survived the apocalyptic events of the Cloud, which ensures the safety of her kidnapped family. But with every monster she takes down, Lozen’s powers grow, and she connects those powers to an ancient legend of her people. It soon becomes clear to Lozen that she is not just a hired gun. As the legendary Killer of Enemies was in the ancient days of the Apache people, Lozen is meant to be a more than a hunter. Lozen is meant to be a hero.
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.