Tag Archive for 'diversity'

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we need diverse books

We need diverse books because the only book character that looked like me when I was a kid was Claudia Kishi.

We need diverse books because the only book character that looked like me when I was a kid was Claudia Kishi, who admittedly is awesome.

Happy May Day, everyone!

Today is the first of three days of online campaigning for more diverse books! It seems appropriate to begin this on May 1, because May Day has become known in the U.S. as a day for promoting change. “Mayday” is also an internationally recognized distress signal, and we do need help. Mayday. Mayday. Mayday.

The call for diversity in books means we want to see books written by and about people of all races, genders, abilities, sexual orientations, cultures, religions, shapes, sizes, and more. Traditionally, diversity has been underrepresented in publishing, because supposedly diverse books don’t sell. It’s hard to sell what isn’t there or is hidden. We need to change that too, so we not only need to see more diverse books, but we need to buy and promote them too.

#WeNeedDiverseBooks has been trending for the past couple of days on Twitter, and we hope it continues to generate interest, along with the other phases of the campaign. Today, check out http://weneeddiversebooks.tumblr.com and share and submit photos telling everyone “We need diverse books because…”

Visit Facebook for more info on the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign and find out how to spread the word and get involved. And follow along on Twitter and Tumblr from May 1-3. Thank you!

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Diversity in YA

Photo by I.W. Gregorio

Photo by I.W. Gregorio

Today, I was honored to speak to some amazing teen writers and readers at the Little Flower Teen Writers Festival about the importance of diversity and how to approach writing from perspectives other than their own. I promised to post some links to read more about this topic, and I hope these are useful to anyone interested in reading and writing more diverse books, even without the context of my presentation.

Art by Tina Kugler/ tinakuglerstudio.com

Art by Tina Kugler/ tinakuglerstudio.com

Read More About It

Writing the Other: A Practical Approach by Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward, Conversation Pieces vol. 8, Aqueduct Press, 2005

Blogs:

Diversity in YAhttp://diversityinya.tumblr.com/

Rich in Color: Reading and Reviewing Diverse YA Bookshttp://richincolor.com/

Articles & Data:

2013 Statistics, Cooperative Children’s BookCenter, University of Wisconsin  – http://ccbc.education.wisc.edu/books/pcstats.asp

Diversity in 2013 YA Best Sellers
http://www.diversityinya.com/2014/04/diversity-in-2013-new-york-times-young-adult-bestsellers/

Kid Lit’s Primary Color: White –
http://shelf-life.ew.com/2014/04/15/kid-lits-primary-color-white-report/

Diversity is Not Enough: Race, Power, Publishing –
http://www.buzzfeed.com/danieljoseolder/diversity-is-not-enough

Want More Diversity in Your YA? Here’s How You Can Help –
http://diversityinya.tumblr.com/post/82690608453/want-more-diversity-in-your-ya-heres-how-you-can-help

We Are Still Not Doing Enough for Diversity in Kidlit –
http://elloecho.blogspot.com/2014/04/we-are-still-not-doing-enough-for.html

Where’s the African-American Harry Potter or the Mexican Katniss? –
http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/09/living/young-adult-books-diversity-identity/index.html

We Need Bigger Megaphones for Diversity in Kid Lit –
http://bookriot.com/2014/04/15/need-bigger-megaphones-diversity-kid-lit/

Why Hasn’t the Number of Multicultural Books Increased in Eighteen Years? –
http://blog.leeandlow.com/2013/06/17/why-hasnt-the-number-of-multicultural-books-increased-in-eighteen-years/

Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is –
http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/05/15/straight-white-male-the-lowest-difficulty-setting-there-is/

Why We Need Diversity in YA Fiction, Plus Book Recommendations
http://cherylrainfield.com/blog/index.php/2012/11/04/why-we-need-diversity-in-ya-fiction/

My Take on Diversity in Children’s Books While Growing Up:
http://diversityinya.tumblr.com/post/51072209934/guest-post-by-andre-norton-award-winner-e-c-meyer

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my neighbor totoro toronto

At the beginning of November, I went to Canada for a couple of events in Toronto, Ontario. The original reason for my trip was to attend the World Fantasy Convention, which supposedly was in Toronto but was really in Richmond Hills, inconveniently located “near” Toronto Pearson International Airport and various downtown restaurants. False advertising, much?

But I actually skipped most of the first two days of the con, as I also wanted to spend time with close friends in the area, who showed me interesting sites like the National Air Force Museum of Canada and made sure I sampled as much of the local cuisine as possible. No complaints!

Photo by Al Bogdan

World Fantasy is one of my favorite conventions, though I don’t get to attend every year; once I got there, it was great to catch up with many authors, editors, and friends in the SFF community, though there’s never enough time to see everyone. Two highlights of World Fantasy for me were the mass autographing session on Friday night—where some people actually turned up to talk to me and get their copies of Fair Coin and Quantum Coin signed!—and a panel on diversity in young adult fiction, my one official program for the con.

Photo by Al Bogdan

I’m still a little nervous on panels, even though all I’m doing is expressing my opinion on various topics (which I often do without any prompting), but it went really well, thanks to my fellow panelists (Cindy Williams Chima, Cheryl Rainfield, Megan Crewe, and Kathleen Sullivan), as well as a terrific audience–the intelligent, well-read, and passionate audience you hope for at events like this. Everyone contributed to a lively and respectful discussion of the importance of representing protagonists of different cultures, abilities, genders, and sexual orientations in young adult fiction. Cheryl wrote a detailed summary of the panel along with some book recommendations collected from panelists and readers in the audience. So yeah, I think I did all right on this one, and some people were kind enough to tell me so afterward.

Some Altered Fluid: (Clockwise) Mercurio D. Rivera, Rajan Khanna, E.C. Myers, K. Tempest Bradford, Matthew Kressel, Alaya Dawn Johnson. (Photo by Chris Cevasco)

Of course, there were many other memorable moments at WFC: an impromptu fiction reading by members of my writing group, Altered Fluid, in the soda room of the con suite (really); breakfast dim sum; a 3am expedition to get hot pot and tea; hallway conversations about Sleep No More; hanging out at the hotel bar with friends from Clarion West; the Clarion West party (featuring the class of 2012’s anthem, “Ready to Launch”); and every stolen moment with folks in the dealer room, halls, parties, and hotel rooms. And as always, it was great to meet online friends in person for the first time and make a lot of new friends at the con.

Photo by Joanne Levy

However, one of my favorite moments in Toronto didn’t occur at the con at all: a reading and signing at !ndigo Yorkdale. This event was as amazing as the circumstances that brought it about; Ross Armstrong, one of the booksellers at Yorkdale, decided to participate in the company’s “CEO 100” challenge by handselling 100 copies of Fair Coin. And he succeeded!

What. (Photo by Jessie Cammack)

When I found out about it, I was flattered, impressed, and grateful, so I knew I had to visit the store while I was in town to thank the staff in person. I was honored to be invited there for an event–especially considering the guests they usually attract, authors like James Dashner, Cassandra Clare, and Libba Bray–and fortunately everyone’s schedules worked out to make it happen on relatively short notice. One of the best parts of being a published author is meeting teens who enjoyed Fair Coin, not to mention adult readers, parents, and booksellers. It was the perfect note to end my “book tour” on!

So if you happen to be in or around Toronto, Ontario, you can pick up signed copies of Fair Coin and Quantum Coin at !ndigo Yorkdale–the only book store offering them in all of Canada, which is a pretty big country. If you do stop by, say hi to Ross for me.

Ross and me. (Photo by Jessie Cammack)

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