Is it just me or did the #MeToo movement in children’s book publishing started by Anne Ursu seem to get squashed out by the greater powers that be? School Library Journal, for instance, has taken down the post about Sexual Harassment in Children’s Publishing a number of times. It’s back up now but the comments with accusations have been scrubbed.
In an effort to hold people accountable, I have done three things:
- I have preserved the School Library Journal comments of accusations on my blog: Sexual Misconduct in Children’s Book Publishing. I’ll admit that I took a controversial approach by using book jackets to identify those accused. I know that my community of readers are more likely to recognize a book cover than an author/illustrator name. In a group project such as a picture book when one party is accused but the other one is not, it seems unfair to punish the book (and possible hit to sales of said book) and the other person. My reasoning is Enron, Arthur Andersen, and Kevin Spacey’s Billionaire Boys Club movie which took in $126 at the box office; innocent people are affected when associated with something tainted.
- When I see books by those accused of sexual misconduct on social media, I leave a comment and link it to my post.
- I am working with Harvard’s Schlesinger Library to document and archive the #MeToo movement in children’s book publishing. It is available to the general public. You do not need to physically go to the Schlesinger Library to access the material. It will be preserved for posterity.
Schlesinger Library is part of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, which in turn is part of Harvard. I happened to be at Harvard for the H4A Summit, a three-day conference for Harvard Asian American Alumni. This one centered around the recent lawsuit about possible discrimination against Asian Americans during the admission process. (My take on this is that it’s possible to discriminate against Asian Americans and support Affirmative Action. They can co-exist.)
My tour of Asian Americans at Schlesinger Library did not yield many Asian American notable women — I think their archives on that is pretty meager, but I did learn about their #MeToo movement project and learned that they did NOT know about the #MeToo movement in KidLit. Well… now they do!
If you want to contribute to the #MeToo in children’s book publishing archive, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can make that introduction for you. Let us all be the change that we want to see.
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.