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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: diversity, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 545
1. Diversity Baseline Survey Update: #BigFiveSignOn and Survey Deadline

Exciting things have happened with the Diversity Baseline Survey since our last update!

The Diversity Baseline Survey gathers statistics on publishing staff and reviewers in four major categories:

1) Gender
2) Race/ethnicity
3) Sexual Orientation
4) Disability

These categories will be further broken down by department. The goal is to have all major review journals and publishers—from small, to mid-size, to large— participate in this project. If we are serious about trying to address the lack of diversity in the publishing world, this is the very first step we need to take. Sharing our numbers as an industry will not only clue us in to important patterns that may be missing, it will also show that we are committed to change.

Since our last update, several new publishers have joined the survey, including Bloomsbury, Lerner Publishing, Chronicle Books and Abrams. More small publishers have joined, including Clean Reads, Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C., and Owlkids Books. Macmillan, one of the “big five” publishers, has also joined. You can see the full list here.

All in all, almost 30 publishers and 8 major review journals will be administering the survey. This is huge.

WHY bigfivesignon

This week, a supporter created the hashtag #BigFiveSignOn to encourage more publishers to join the survey, including the rest of the “big five” publishers (HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, and Hachette), in advance of the mid-September deadline. We were thrilled to see the hashtag trending on Monday! Check out some great media coverage of the campaign from around the web:

Diversity Matters: Lee & Low Push for Diversity in the Publishing World” at BookRiot
Diversity Survey Deadline Nears” at Publishers Weekly
“Why I’m Asking that the #BigFiveSignOn” at SC Write
“The Page is a Mirror…Or Is It?” at Jamie Ayres’ blog
“Why #Bigfivesignon? #WNDB” at Coloring Between the Lines

Over at Change.org, our petition encouraging publishers to join the survey is now at almost 1,900 signatures. Have you signed yet?

The deadline for joining the survey is September 15, 2015. Help us encourage remaining publishers to join by spreading the word on social media using hashtag #bigfivesignon and by signing the petition!

Read our previous update on the Diversity Baseline Survey.

Learn about why we are asking publishers to join our Diversity Baseline Survey.

Sign the Petition.

1 Comments on Diversity Baseline Survey Update: #BigFiveSignOn and Survey Deadline, last added: 9/4/2015
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2. Interview (Part 3) With Ashley Hope Pérez, Author of OUT OF DARKNESS

Happy Monday! We're back again today with the final installment in our interview with the wonderfully articulate and interesting Ashley Hope Pérez, who has stopped by on her blog tour for her forthcoming novel Out of Darkness. The story is based on... Read the rest of this post

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3. Interview (Part 2) With Ashley Hope Pérez, Author of OUT OF DARKNESS

Welcome back to our conversation with author Ashley Hope Pérez, author of the forthcoming YA historical novel OUT OF DARKNESS, which is based on real-life events of the March 1937 gas leak which caused a massive explosion and killed almost 300... Read the rest of this post

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4. Interview (Part 1) with Ashley Hope Perez, Author of OUT OF DARKNESS

Welcome to Part 1 of our 3-part interview (we just couldn't stop chatting!) with Ashley Hope Perez, author of the forthcoming YA historical novel Out of Darkness, which is based on real-life events (and which we reviewed here).Not only was this a... Read the rest of this post

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5. The Opposite of Colorblind: Why it’s essential to talk to children about race

diversity102-logoIn this post, Tu Books Publisher Stacy Whitman discusses why avoiding discussions of race with young people can do more harm than good.

Many African American parents already know what “the talk” is. It’s not the talk that many white parents might expect—we’re not talking about the birds and the bees. No, this “talk” is the one where black parents have to sit with their children and discuss how they might be perceived by the world around them: particularly police, but also teachers, neighbors, and friends who are not from their racial background.

Though the burden often falls on parents of color alone to discuss these issues with their children, in reality all parents should address race with their kids in a conscious and meaningful way. Communities are also seeking ways to address interpersonal racial issues, Why It's Essential to Talk to Children About Raceparticularly in schools. Having the tools to know how to discuss racial matters is essential for children from all backgrounds. 

Research has shown that the “colorblind” approach—teaching children that it is racist to acknowledge racial and ethnic differences—is doing no one any favors, and in fact can reinforce racist attitudes and assumptions, and especially reify systemic racism. “Black children know irrefutably that they’re black by the time they’re about 6 years old and probably earlier,” one article noted in our research. Do white children know they’re white? If not, how do they think of themselves?

At Lee & Low, we’ve always believed that even the youngest readers have the capacity to understand and appreciate difference—that’s why many of our children’s books address issues like racism and discrimination. But you don’t have to take our word for it: many experts, educators, and academics have done work on this topic as well and their recommendations can help point parents and teachers in the right direction.

“Young children are hard-wired in their brains to notice difference and to categorize it. So it is vital during early childhood to put some context around making sense of differences,” said Shannon Nagy, preschool director in 2011 at Lincoln Park Cooperative Nursery School in Chicago.

Studies have also shown that not addressing difference does not make children colorblind—it only encourages them to absorb the implicit racial messages of American society. Children learn that race is a category even when parents try to teach them not to recognize race. Much like children learn to perform regional accents even when their parents are from another location, children learn Young children are hard-wired to notice difference.how the larger society around them views race, via inference and transductive reasoning. “In other words, children pick upon the ways in which whiteness is normalized and privileged in U.S. society.”

Teaching children to be “colorblind” has led children (and adults) to believe that it’s rude or racist to even point out racial differences—even kids of color. This makes it exponentially harder to have frank discussions about racial issues when they need to be had.

“Nonwhite parents are about three times more likely to discuss race than white parents,” said a 2007 study. “It’s the children whose parents do directly address race — and directly means far more than vaguely declaring everyone to be equal — who are less likely to make assumptions about people based on the color of our skin.”

One study even had white parents dropping out of the project when the researchers asked them to discuss racial attitudes with their children, even when they went into the study knowing that it was intended to measure children’s racial attitudes.

Many argue that “the talk” should happen far more often than once, and that parents shouldn’t bear the sole burden to teach their kids about race—that it is a community-wide issue.

Erin Winkler provides several ways for parents and teachers to address the biases that children might pick up, including discussing The Talk should happen far more often than oncethe issue in an age-appropriate way, with accurate information that doesn’t shame or silence children for having questions. They also suggest encouraging complex thinking and taking children’s questions and biased statements seriously—“When children are taught to pay attention to multiple attributes of a person at once (e.g., not just race), reduced levels of bias are shown,” the author notes, and suggests that the most important thing parents and teachers can do is to give children information that empowers them to be anti-racist.

One New York City-area school asked, “Can racism be stopped in the third grade?” They began a “racial affinity program,” in which elementary-age kids were sorted by racial groups for discussions of questions that “might seem impolite otherwise,” and to then come together as a school community to discuss these questions and experiences in a way that fosters greater communication. Parents and students are mixed on whether this program succeeded, with Asian students noting that the discussions of race still focused on the dichotomy of black and white, and some parents uncomfortable with the idea of discussing race at all. The administration notes, however, that many of their students of color needed this program—mandatory for all students—to combat microaggressions between students.

Allie Jane Bruce, the librarian at Bank Street School in New York City, has been discussing race, biases, and stereotypes with the students in her school for three years, using children’s book covers as a launching point. “I’m constantly delighted by the new discoveries kids make, and by the wisdom and insight already present in 11- and 12-year-olds,” Bruce noted in her most recent series of blog posts about the curriculum, which she has named “Loudness in the Library.” She notes especially that kids at this age tend to feel very uncomfortable with discussing race at first. “The fact that race-related conversations are so very fraught is a huge part of the problem. We must be able to communicate in order to solve problems that exist at interpersonal, institutional, and societal levels. If kids in 6th grade already have the inclination to stay silent in conversations on race, how much stronger will that inclination be in adults? And if we can’t talk about race and racism, how will things ever get better?”

Parents, what does “the talk” look like in your home? Teachers and librarians, how do you approach discussions about race with your students and patrons?

Stacy WhitmanStacy Whitman is Editorial Director and Publisher of Tu Books, an imprint of LEE & LOW BOOKS that publishes diverse science fiction and fantasy for middle grade and young adult readers.

1 Comments on The Opposite of Colorblind: Why it’s essential to talk to children about race, last added: 8/28/2015
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6. Flame Con announces 2016 return: twice as long, new location

2016 Flame Con will be held for TWO days this time. And that's not all: they're moving to a bigger location too

1 Comments on Flame Con announces 2016 return: twice as long, new location, last added: 8/26/2015
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7. Ms. Marvel wins Hugo Award amid controversy

The Hugo Awards, honoring the best in science fiction, were presented this weekend surrounded by a nebula of controversy. Amy Wallace has a lengthy write-up at Wired explaining everything, but the short version is… Well, there is no short version. The award nominations, which are open to attendees and supporters of the annual WorldCon, became […]

5 Comments on Ms. Marvel wins Hugo Award amid controversy, last added: 8/25/2015
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8. How a Writing Contest for Students is Changing the Immigration Narrative

LEE & LOW BOOKS has two writing contests for unpublished authors of color: the New Voices Award, for picture book manuscripts, and the New Visions Award, for middle grade and young adult manuscripts. Both contests, which are now open for submissions aim to recognize the diverse voices and talent among new authors of color who might otherwise remain under the radar of mainstream publishing.

In this guest post, we wanted to highlight another groundbreaking writing contest that’s bringing attention to marginalized voices and fostering a love of writing in students: the Celebrate America Writing Contest run by the American Immigration Council. Coming into its 19th year, the Celebrate America Writing Contest for fifth graders has been bringing attention to the contributions of immigrants in America through the eyes and pens of our youngest writers.

In this guest post, Claire Tesh, Senior Manager of Education at the American Immigration Council, discusses the mission of the Celebrate America Writing Contest and how it has helped to shape the immigration narrative.claire tesh

It is impossible to escape the negative vitriol and hateful rhetoric around the issue of immigration that dominates the headlines, talk radio, popular culture, and in some cases the dinner table. In an effort to educate children and communities about the value of immigration to our society The American Immigration Council teams up with schools and community groups to provide young people the resources and information necessary to think critically about immigration from both a historical and contemporary perspective, while working collaboratively and learning about themselves and their communities.

The American Immigration Council developed “Celebrate America,” an annual national creative writing contest for fifth graders, because they are at the age where they are discovering their place in the world both locally and globally. They are also finding their own voice, opinions and ideas through writing, creating and sharing.   Students at this age start making sense of current events; they have a better working knowledge of basic history, and have a sense of global awareness.

Thousands of Entries

“Celebrate America” began 19 years ago with just a couple dozen entries. Today it has grown to over 5,000 entries annually! Since 1997 a total of close to 75,000 students have participated in two dozen cities, in nearly 750 schools and community centers across the nation.

As the lead on the contest since 2006, I have read thousands of entries and have attended numerous events featuring the writers. It is difficult to pick just one example, but in 2008 the winning entry America is a Refuge really showed how much a 10-12 year old can comprehend about the issue. That year, the winner, Cameron Busby, explained to a reporter from the Tucson Citizen that “I want to be a horror writer when I grow up,” and in order to tell the story of America being a place people come to be safe and thrive, he used bits and pieces of some of his classmate’s true horror stories of their own or their family member’s immigration journeys. This excerpt shows the young writer’s entry and how he made sense of injustice and how America has always been a nation symbolic as a beacon for hope:

A small child holds out a hoping

hand,

a crumb of bread,

or even a penny just to be fed

Hoping America is a refuge. A 

child weeps over her mother’s 

lifeless body,

the tears streaming down her

face

Praying America is a refuge.

Part of the reason why it’s a popular contest is because it fits neatly with the fifth grade curriculum and it is easy for teachers to implement by offering timely lessons and expository learning opportunities from classroom visits by experts to interactive web-based games. The contest is unique in that it allows for any written work that captures the essence of why the writer is proud that America is a nation of immigrants and students can express themselves through narrative, descriptive, expository, or persuasive writings, poetry, and other forms of written expressions. The teaching and learning opportunities the contest brings to both the classroom and the community has made it very popular and most teachers who participate do so year after year.In the Classroom

Monica Chun, a teacher from Seattle who has participated in the contest for several years and whose student, Erin Stark, was a national winner in 2013, starts the assignment by asking students to ask their relatives at home a question: “Who was the first person in our family to come to America?” No matter what ethnicity or how recent or distant a family’s arrival be, every student is going to have a unique answer to this question.

Involving the Community

”Celebrate America” encourages youth, families and surrounding communities to evaluate and appreciate the effects of immigration in their own lives. The unique contest includes the following components:

  • Immigration attorneys or trained volunteers visit classrooms, whether in person or virtually. The visitors give short presentations about the history of American immigration and the contributions immigrants have made over the years;
  • Teachers complement the contest by implementing lessons about immigration, social justice and diversity into their curriculum;
  • The American Immigration Council provides classrooms with innovative, relevant, and interactive lessons and resources;
  • Communities organize events, naturalization ceremonies and other celebrations to showcase the local winners;
  • The winning entry from each locale is sent to the national office and judged by well-known journalists, immigration judges and award winning authors;
  • The winning entry is read into the Congressional record, a flag is flown over the Capitol in the winner’s honor and the winner reads their entry at a 700+ person event that celebrates immigration; and
  • In the submissions the youth voice brings hope that there will be solutions to the immigration debate.

The American Immigration Council believes that teachers, parents, and students are essential to building a collective movement toward a better future: in our classrooms, in our schools, and in the larger society.   With the community’s engagement, educators, parents and students can help bridge this divide and approach the issue of immigration with intelligence and empathy.

american immigration council

Contest Impact

The contest has an impact not only in the schools and communities that participate, but also in the halls of Congress. Each year when the winning entry is read into the Congressional Record, it is rewarding to know that our leaders are hearing words of wisdom from a young person who has big ideas and who has chosen to use their voice to invite others to learn about immigration and to celebrate America’s diversity.

When the winning entries are read to new citizens at naturalization ceremonies or at dinner galas in communities of all sizes, almost every attendee has tears in their eyes because the young readers are speaking from their hearts and they represent the future. Each and every year the young writers continue to surprise us with the depth and empathy in their writings whether it is their common sense solutions to an immigration system or the story of their own immigrant background. Any writer, no matter how old and how experienced, should look at these entries to get a sense for authentic voice and various styles of writing. The thousands of students who submit to the contest get recognized in their communities and the affect is exponential because students start in the classroom and their voice continues to be shared within their schools, within their communities and beyond.

The students participating in “Celebrate America” are America’s future citizens, voters, educators and activists and it is truly an honor to shape the contest so that it provides some of the tools to think critically about immigration and to learn to explore the economic and moral effects of immigration policy as they engage in the public debates. But, today as we try to navigate the complicated maze that is immigration law and policy, it is through their incredible choice of words, that they are our guides, our teachers, and our voices of reason.

For further information on eligibility and submission process:

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9. TURNING PAGES: HUNTER, by MERCEDES LACKEY

I started my late teen entry into fantasy reading with girls who heard telepathic dragons and Heralds who rode blue-eyed telepathic horses. They whole telepathic animal thing quickly got to be a bit much, but I have to admit that I loved those books... Read the rest of this post

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10. Diversifying Your Back-to-School Reading

In this guest post from the Lee & Low archives, professor Katie Cunningham discusses ways to diversify Common Core recommended texts. As we gather resources to begin the new school year, Katie’s post is a good reminder that each year offers a fresh opportunity to look at the books we use with new eyes to see if they are serving us, and serving our students.

We live in an increasingly diverse society. Nowhere is this more evident than in classrooms, in both urban and suburban schools.  Nationally, our classrooms are almost 45% non-White and the trend toward greater diversity is expected to continue. Our classrooms reflect this trend, but our classroom libraries do not. The New York Times found that despite making up about nearly a quarter of the nation’s public school enrollment, young Latino readers seldom see themselves in books. Those of us in schools working with children from minority backgrounds know this to be true as we scan our bookshelves and find protagonists that are overwhelmingly white and living in suburban, privileged settings. The Cooperative Children’s Book Center found that in 2011, only 6% of children’s books featured characters from African American, American Indian, Asian Pacific/ Asian Pacific American, or Latino backgrounds.

Toni Morrison said, “National literature reflects what is on the national mind.” More than ever, we have a responsibility to reflect national population trends through our literature selections. As of 2011, teachers are being directed to the Common Core State Standards and its corresponding Appendix B: Text Exemplars and Performance Tasks, which has suggested texts for read-alouds and independent reading for students at grade level bands K-12.

While not required reading, there remains confusion among teachers and administrators about how to approach the list. As you scan the suggestions, you’ll quickly find a return to traditional texts like Black Stallion in fourth grade and Little Women in sixth through eighth grade. I’m of the opinion that reading traditional texts like the Preamble and Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” (also in Appendix B) can give students cultural capital needed to be successful within the educational system.

Yet, while we can turn to the Standards for suggestions, we need to turn to the children in our own classrooms and ask ourselves whether they see themselves represented in books. Not only a responsibility, this is a moral imperative. We need to ensure a balance between traditional texts and books that offer contemporary portrayals of life and youth today, that reflect the lived experiences of the students in our classrooms.

The Uncommon Corps has started a campaign to better Appendix B and has a running Better B list worthy of checking out to hear what’s on the national mind. Teachers searching for a solution can also consider classic and contemporary multicultural pairings such as those below, especially when searching for titles that represent childhood. If we keep questioning what’s accepted as our national literature for children, we will rightfully start to see books that provide mirrors for every child in every class.

Classic and Contemporary Multicultural Pairings

CLASSIC: Henry and Mudge by Cynthia Rylant

CONTEMPORARY: Auntie Yang’s Great Soybean Picnic by Ginnie Lo; Elizabeti’s Doll by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen; Loose Tooth by Margaret Yatsevitch Phinney; Bird by Zetta Elliott

Bird cover

CLASSIC: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

CONTEMPORARY: Angel’s Kite by Alberto Bianco; Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

Summer of the Mariposas cover

CLASSIC: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

CONTEMPORARY: Alicia Afterimage by Lulu Delacre; Cat Girl’s Day Off by Kimberly Pauley

Cat-Girl-Cover FINAL

CLASSIC: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

CONTEMPORARY: Galaxy Games: The Challengers by Greg Fishbone; Chess Rumble by G. Neri; Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty by G. Neri

GalaxyGamesKatie CunninghamABOUT KATIE CUNNINGHAM: Guest blogger Katie Cunningham is an Assistant Professor at Manhattanville College. Her teaching and scholarship centers around children’s literature, critical literacy, and supporting teachers to make their classrooms joyful and purposeful. Katie has presented at numerous national conferences and is the editor of The Language and Literacy Spectrum, New York Reading Association’s literacy journal.

 

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11. I Want to Marry This Book \\ THE MARVELS by Brian Selznick

Review by Paola THE MARVELSby Brian SelznickHardcover: 640 pagesPublisher: Scholastic Press (September 15, 2015)Goodreads | Amazon Two seemingly unrelated stories--one in words, the other in pictures--come together. The illustrated story begins in 1766 with Billy Marvel, the lone survivor of a shipwreck, and charts the adventures of his family of actors over five generations. The prose

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12. Two Authors Share What “Voice” Means To Them

New Voices Award sealThis year marks our sixteenth annual New Voices Award, Lee & Low’s writing contest for unpublished writers of color.

In this blog series, past New Voices winners gather to give advice for aspiring writers. This month, we’re talking about what “voice” means to an author.

When discussing the various elements of writing craft, “voice” seems to be the most difficult to pin down. You can’t plot it on a chart or even clearly define what the word means, and yet it is one of the most important elements of a story. Editors (and readers) are always looking for strong, distinct voices. It is an invisible string that echoes throughout a story and pulls the reader in. And when an author or character’s voice is nonexistent or inconsistent, it is the first thing we notice.

Voice builds trust between the author, characters, and readers. To develop a strong voice that will ring true, an author needs to understand both the story and him/herself as a writer. What is the tone of the story? Who are your characters? If a key feature—gender, age, cultural background—of the main character changes, would the voice change? It should! There are many ways to approach “voice,” and below, Linda Boyden and Paula Yoo share their techniques.

Linda Boyden, author of The Blue Roses, New Voices Winner 2000New Voices Winners (1)

The Blue Roses was my first published book. I had written many picture book manuscripts prior to it, most of which are still gathering dust and mold, but now I see how that process was vital for me to evolve as a writer. I developed the voice of this main character, Rosalie, by experimenting.
I wrote many versions of the book. I considered writing it inthird person, having one of the adult
characters do the narrating for about a nano-second; in my heart I knew this was Rosalie’s story and no one else’s, but that didn’t stop me from more experimenting. I tried having her voice be that of a child, but Papa’s death would have been too harsh an experience for a child to deal with objectively. Instead, Rosalie narrates as her adult self, after having had enough time to smooth the edges of her loss. So experiment until you understand the heart of your character; that’s where you’ll find their true voice. 

Paula Yoo, author of Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds, New Voices Winner 2005

For me, voice comes out of nowhere. I can’t predict when I will find the “voice” of my story. Voice is not only the way my main character narrates the story (his/her style of speaking, their point of view, their personality) but also in the tone of the entire story (humorous, tragic, touching). Sometimes I find my “voice” AFTER I do a ton of research and preparation, such as figuring out the story beats and plot twists and the character’s emotional journey/arc. Sometimes the voice finds ME first—I’ll just start writing a story from the point of view of a character that has taken over me because he/she has something important and unique to say. Ultimately, I think “voice” for me comes from my heart. What moves me emotionally when I write? What about a story or character makes me laugh or cry? For me, “Voice” is the heart of my story—what emotions do I want to bring out in not only in my readers but also in myself? You can write a book that has the most original and surprising plot, the most compelling and fascinating characters, and a unique setting. But if there is no EMOTION, then that book falls flat. That’s where “Voice” comes in—“Voice” determines the emotion behind the story. I wish I could give a more specific answer with facts and evidence, but when it comes to writing from the heart, there is no formula.

 

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13. New Shoes, by Susan Lynn Meyer | Book Review

Set in the 1950s during the infamous days of Jim Crow, New Shoes is a story of an African American girl who comes up with a brilliant idea to remedy the far-too-often degrading experience of buying shoes, especially for back-to-school.

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14. Interview: Monica Brown on Her New Book Maya’s Blanket

monica brown

Out this September from the Children’s Book Press imprint of LEE & LOW, Maya’s Blanket/La manta de Maya puts a child-focused Latino spin on the traditional Yiddish folk song “Hob Ikh Mir a Mantl” (“I Had a Little Coat”) about a piece of fabric that is made into smaller and smaller items. We interviewed author Monica Brown about how she’s been inspired by the book.

1.     What inspired you to write a children’s book based on the Yiddish folk song “Hob Ikh Mira Mantl”? 

I’ve always loved the idea song, which is as much about creativity as it is about recycling and creating something from nothing. The song has inspired several books, in fact, and still inspires me. I often draw on my cultural heritage for inspiration, and Maya’s Blanket/La manta de Maya is no exception, paying homage to different aspects of my Jewish and Latina identity. It celebrates the two languages I speak, side by side on the page, along with a history of multigenerational storytelling passed down from both sides of my family.

I love the message of the song–that an object can be transformed again and again, and ultimately into something intangible and lasting through effort, creativity, and imagination. I like the idea that we can extend the life of things we love—with our own two hands or our imagination.

2.     Did you have a favorite lullaby that your parents sang to you growing up? What about a lullaby that you sang to your daughters?

My mom sang me wonderful songs in Spanish. As a child I loved in particular Tengo una muñeca vestida de azul, which translates into I have a doll dressed in blue. When her granddaughter and namesake Isabella was born, my mother, Isabel Maria, made up a special song for her. It started with this line “Isabelita, Chiquita bonita de mi Corazon” and ended with “Corazon de melon!”  It was a silly sweet line, but I’ve forgotten the lines in between, and now my mother is gone.

As a child, my only babysitters I knew were my tías and my Nana, my paternal grandmother, who taught me to embroider and sew.  I stayed overnight at my Nana’s often and when I did, “the sandman” would visit us at night. For those who don’t know, the Sandman myth, which originates in Europe, is of a character who sprinkles sand on children’s eyes, bringing them happy dreams. My Scottish and Italian Nana would be sure the sandman visited each night. If I behaved just okay during the day the sandman would sprinkle regular sand on my forehead to help me fall asleep. If I was good, I would get silver sand, and if I was very, very good, I would get gold sand sprinkled on my forehead. I could feel the different types of sand as my Nana’s hands smoothed across my forehead, hair, and closed eyes.maya's blanket

3. Do you have an object today that’s your “Maya’s blanket,” i.e. that you are continually finding new uses for and don’t want to part with?

As an adult I have more of a subject than an object, and it is the subject of childhood memory. I think I became a children’s writer so I can go back and be in that moment of childhood innocence to remember what it feels like to be comforted by a beloved grandmother or my mother, to remember those minutes and hours, forever gone, of days spend with my Nana, who patiently taught me to embroider, and to sew and stitch or my mother, who shared story after story of her childhood in Northern Peru, and her dreams and her art.

I’ve never used an electric sewing machine, but thanks to my Nana I’ve still managed to stitch and mend and sew my daughter’s things—even a Halloween costume or two with those basic stitches my grandmother taught. I have my Nana’s sewing basket still, just as I am surrounded by my mother’s paintings each time I pick up a pen or open up my computer to write.

5. MAYA’S BLANKET provides an important message about recycling! Do you have any tips on how people can be more eco-friendly?

As a teacher, I always think the place to begin with is education and The Environmental Protection Agency has a website with lots of resources for children, parents, and especially teachers: http://www2.epa.gov/students. I also love that the Sierra Club has a student coalition for high school and college students that trains and connects young environmental activists: http://www.sierraclub.org/youth. Finally, well, I want to give a shout out to my fellow writers by highlighting Authors for Earth Day: http://www.authorsforearthday.org, a group that supports conservation through literacy.

It is my hope that children and the adults in their lives can become more aware and conscious of the challenges using our natural resources responsibly, and looking to for more creative solutions to persistent problems.

About the Book:

Maya's Blanket CoverMaya’s Blanket/ La Manta de Maya
by Monica Brown, illustrated by David Diaz
Out September 2015
Ages 5-9 ~ 32 pp. ~ bilingual
Learn more about the book here.

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15. Monday Review: OUT OF DARKNESS by Ashley Hope Pérez

Summary: Ashley Hope Pérez's latest novel comes out on September 1. I tell you this so you can brace yourself. Out Of Darkness is historical fiction of the most wrenching kind: based on a real-life tragedy, with plenty of collective guilt to go... Read the rest of this post

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16. 10 Recent & Upcoming Picture Books Featuring Everyday Diversity

I first heard the term “everyday diversity” from Anna Haase Krueger. Everyday diversity books feature diverse characters doing everyday activities and in everyday situations. My favorite example to give people unfamiliar with the term is The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. The focus of the story is that Peter is enjoying the newly fallen snow and not that Peter is African-American.

[There are many more titles that are worthy of inclusion on a recent publications list and I’ve left several other booklists at the bottom of this post for further reading. This is by no means a comprehensive list — I know that there are titles and resources missing. A few of the books on this list feature large diverse casts without a main diverse character.]

15 Things Not to Do With a Baby by Margaret McAllister
An older sister welcomes a new sibling by learning all the things not to do with a baby — lose it in the garden, snuggle with an octopus — and all the things you can do with a baby. This story is perfect to share one-on-one with children expecting new siblings, but would also work in a preschool storytime setting. Expect lots of laughter.

Fire Engine No. 9 by Mike Austin
This book is absolutely perfect for toddler storytimes, full of sound effects to make and colorful illustrations. Firefighters are varied in skin tones (although I don’t remember any female firefighters) and the book is engaging for all involved. Bonus points for a vertical spread down the firepole.

[Photo courtesy of the author, taken at ALA Annual.]

[Photo courtesy of the author, taken at ALA Annual.]

It’s Tough to Lose Your Balloon by Jarrett Krosoczka
A picture book version of the saying “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade”. A reassuring title featuring lots of diversity and everyday kid stresses. Also, make sure to watch the adorable YouTube trailer where kids narrate Krsoczka’s pages: YouTube.

Juna’s Jar by Jane Bahk
After Juna’s best friend Hector moves away without saying goodbye, she turns to the kimchi jars that they used to collect treasures in to find comfort. What she finds is more adventures and maybe even a chance to come to terms with Hector’s disappearance.

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña
CJ and his nana travel through their neighborhood every Sunday. CJ questions why they always have to take the bus and why he doesn’t have the latest gadget and Nana thoughtfully answers his questions. A great trip through an urban environment with a variety of colors, sizes, shapes, and status.

[Photo courtesy of the author, taken at ALA Midwinter.]

[Photo courtesy of the author, taken at ALA Midwinter.]

Music Class Today! by David Weinstein
One little boy is hesitant to join his more rambunctious classmates at music class. Lots of different skin tones are present in this fabulous book which will feel familiar for storytime librarians. An excellent read-aloud for large groups and one of my favorites of this year.

One Family by George Shannon
So much diversity is packed into this simple counting text. A great read for a storytime setting but also wonderful for one-on-one sharing to allow children to appreciate the details in each page spread. The last lines of the book are resonate and will (hopefully) remind children that we are all one family.

[Photo courtesy of the author, taken at ALA Annual.]

[Photo courtesy of the author, taken at ALA Annual.]

Say Hello! by Linda Davick
My new favorite toddler storytime book. Lots of children with a variety of skin and hair colors show how they say hello to each other in a rhyming text. The big vibrant colors and basic illustrations make this book ideal for sharing with a large group.

The Smallest Girl In the Smallest Grade by Justin Roberts
Best suited for an older crowd or a classroom read, this title is great because it includes a diverse classroom setting and also talks about size diversity. As a short person (5’2″), I’m always happy to see my height reflected in novels and stories. I know from experience that short kids feel the same way! Noteworthy: This book is written by children’s music superstar Justin Roberts.

Stella Brings the Family by Miriam A. Schiffer
This is the book that slightly toes the everyday diversity line, but it’s so wonderful that I had to include it. Stella has two dads and isn’t sure who to bring for her class’s Mother’s Day celebration. She finds a unique solution to the problem after talking with her classmates about what kinds of things moms do. The last few pages reflect a variety of family situations perfect for making kids of all families feel accepted.


[Book covers from SWAN Libraries catalog, an Illinois library consortium.]

[Book covers from SWAN Libraries catalog, an Illinois library consortium.]

(Ten bonus older favorites: The Babies on the Bus by Karen Katz, Counting Ovejas by Sarah Weeks, Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler, I Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison, Lola at the Library by Anna McQuinn, Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match by Monica Brown, My Nose Your Nose by Melanie Walsh, Peekaboo Morning by Rachel Isadora, Round is a Mooncake by Roseanne Thong, Say Hello! by Rachel Isadora)


Additional Booklists:
Best Picture Books of 2014 That Celebrate Diversity, Kirkus Reviews.
Culturally Diverse Books Selected by SLJ’s Review Editors.
A Diverse Book List for the Under-Five Set by Lisa G. Knopp, published by School Library Journal.
Picture Books About Diversity and Acceptance, Storytime Standouts.
Multicultural Books, What We Do All Day.

ALA Awards:
Coretta Scott King Book Awards
Pura Belpre Award
Schneider Family Book Award
Stonewall Book Award

Resources:
ALA’s Día (Diversity In Action)
School Library Journal’s Resources for Diversity
Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Diversity Resources
We Need Diverse Books & School Library Journal Booktalking Kit
We Need Diverse Books & We Need Diverse Books Guide to Where to Find Diverse Books


So, which books or resources did I miss? Tell me in the comments!


Katie Salo is an Early Literacy Librarian at Indian Prairie Public Library in Darien, IL and is writing this post for the Public Awareness Committee. You can reach her at simplykatie(at)gmail(dot)com or at Storytime Katie.

The post 10 Recent & Upcoming Picture Books Featuring Everyday Diversity appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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17. HELP WANTED: Sales charts, reviews

Once again, The Beat is looking for a sales chart analyst to take over the monthly Indie Sales charts. Kate Reynolds has done yeoman service but she's moving on to other frontiers and vistas. (Including hopefully some more writing for The Beat.)

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18. The Other Side of Quiet – An Intern’s Perspective

intern

Kandace Coston is LEE & LOW’s summer intern. She is one of five recipients of the We Need Diverse Books Internship Program inaugural grant. She graduated from Barnard College where she majored in music and took every creative literature class possible. In her free time, Kandace pursues her other interests, which include American Sign Language, handmade jewelry, and composing cinematic adventures!

Intimate. Calm. Inviting. That’s the atmosphere of the LEE & LOW BOOKS office in New York City. Twelve floors removed from the noisy hustle and heat of the city streets, this diverse books publisher’s office is a small levitating oasis.

I first noticed the Quiet during my interview in late May for the summer internship position in Marketing and Publicity. I stepped off the elevator, opened the door slowly (in compliance with the instructional sign), and instantly noticed the cool and calm. Initially I found the Quiet unnerving like the eerie silence in a horror movie that cues a tragic event. But the inviting display of bright books put my nervously pounding heart at ease. They make children’s books. I thought to myself. They make magic. I gazed at the sunny, shiny titles and was instantly relaxed.

intern deskOne month later I started my internship excited to be a small part of the magic LEE & LOW BOOKS creates. I was also excited to step over onto the other side of the Quiet. Now that I was an official member of this exclusive team I was sure my ears would tune into the buzz of the office like a radio tuning into a tricky channel. What I found instead was an immense Quiet accompanied only by the hum of a distant printer and the occasional disembodied sneeze. By July I’d surrendered. My ears stopped scanning for transmissions within the white noise that is the office’s Quiet.

As I ceased my mission for sound, I began my mission of getting to know the office. I made appointments with personnel in various departments to learn how the largest publisher of diverse books in the country operates. Everyone I reached out to was more than happy to oblige me which I was grateful for but not surprised by; the office is incredibly friendly and welcoming.

With each interview I learned new facts about children’s books and the publishing industry:

  • Children’s books take over a year to create.
  • Marketing a book entails intensely creative work.
  • The difference between dystopian and post-apocalyptic.
  • How to spell apocalyptic.

With each interview I also noticed a recurrence: every person I spoke to is excited about the work they do here. Their faces lit up as they eloquently, passionately, and patiently explained to me how they contribute to the LEE & LOW BOOKS message. Each person brings pride and a distinct expertise to their work that makes them invaluable. Many people in my life are not content with the way they earn a living. It seems the team at LEE & LOW has that life conundrum figured out. I found everyone’s enthusiasm refreshing and encouraging.

summer intern

Nowadays when I enter the office I’m not caught off guard by the Quiet. Instead I’ve realized that within the Quiet is progress. The diligent staff members of Lee & Low Books are busy bettering the world through children’s literature. In this intimate oasis of an office the Quiet is a sound; the sound of focus and fulfillment.

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19. 8 Books to Celebrate International Friendship Day

August 2nd - also known as International Friendship Day- is almost here. (I know, summer is going by WAY too fast).

In honor of International Friendship Day, break out your half of your friendship heart necklace and take some time to remind others how much they mean to you.  If you’re unable to make plans to enjoy each other’s company, a simple gesture, such as a card or hand-written letter, will certainly make them feel loved.

Better yet, say it with a book! Reading books about friendship gives Internationalyou an opportunity to talk about the characteristics of a good friend, and seeing others from diverse backgrounds sharing and being kind to each other positively affects how children will interact and treat others.

Here are 8 books that celebrate friendship and some fun activities to make International Friendship Day a memorable one.

The Hula-Hoopin’ Queen

Juna’s Jar

Up the Learning Tree

David’s Drawings

First Come the Zebra

The Can Man

Rainbow Joe and Me

The Legend of Freedom Hill

  1. Make a Friendship Card

One of the simplest and most appreciated gestures is to make someone a card to let them know you’re thinking of them. Receiving anything heartfelt in the mail is a rare and welcomed occurrence these days.

  1. Make Friendship Bracelets

You don’t need to go to summer camp to make these! They make great gifts and they’re also fun to make.

  1. Do a Random Act of Kindness

International Friendship Day isn’t just about your closest friends. Reach out and be a friend to others.

  1. Write a friendly letter

Whether it be a close or new friend-near or far- taking the time to write a letter shows how much you care.

veronicabioVeronica has a degree from Mount Saint Mary College and joined LEE & LOW in the fall of 2014. She has a background in education and holds a New York State childhood education (1-6) and students with disabilities (1-6) certification. When she’s not wandering around New York City, you can find her hiking with her dog Milo in her hometown in the Hudson Valley, NY.

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20. Top Ten Tuesday #17: Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

This week's top ten topic is books that celebrate diversity.  I don't think my choices could be called  books that celebrate diversity, but they certainly put a spotlight on the way World War II impacted diverse people in different way.   I chosen 11 books that had a real impact on me as a reader when I read them.

1- Mare's War by Tanita Davis

This is one of the first books I read when I began this blog and I liked it so much I bought a copy for my niece.  Mare and her granddaughters are taking a trip to a family reunion during summer vacation.  The girls are bored and unhappy, wanting to stay home with their friends instead.  As they drive along, Mare begins to tell them about her time in the Women's Army Corp or WACS in WWII.  Because Davis wove in so many historical facts about Mare's, the 6888th Central Postal Battalion, the readers learns a lot about what like was like for the women in this African American, all-female unit, the only one to serve overseas. (YA)


2- Climbing the Stairs by Padma Venkatraman

When I reviewed this book, I wrote that I knew almost nothing about the role India played in WWII.  In 1941, Vidya, 15, wants nothing more than to join Gandhi's Freedom Fighters.  Seeing a Freedom Fighters demonstration, Veda rushes to join it, but it results in her father being beaten by a British policeman, leaving him brain damages. Vidya keeps the details of what happened to herself, until her brother announces he is going to join the voluntary British India Army.  How could he fight for and defend the people who destroyed her beloved father's lie.  There is a lot of information in Vidya's story about Indian traditions and religion.  (YA)


3- The Grand Mosque of Paris: A Story of How Muslims Rescured Jews during the Holocaust by Karen Gray Ruelle

The Grand Mosque had been given to the Islamic community in Paris in gratitude to the Muslims who fought in WWI.  In 1940, after France was invaded by the Nazis and began rounding up Jews for deportation, the members of the Grand Mosque, many of whom were in the French Resistance already, realized they had the means to help the French Jews and began sneaking them in the mosque until they had what they needed to escape.   (Picture Book for older Readers)


4- When My Name Was Keoko by Linda Sue Park

Although Korea had been occupied by the Japanese since 1910, once World War II began, things began to get even harder for the Korean people.  In this story about the Kim family, the reader learns through the alternating narration of Sun-hee, 10, and her older brother, Tai-yul, 13, how much of their culture was sacrificed including their Korean names and forcing them to accept Japanese culture and language.  Outwardly, the family accepts the Japanese demands, but at home the hold tightly to their Korean culture.  As they begin to lose the war, the Japanese take it out on the Korean people, but despite everything, small acts of defiance abound as the Koreans desperately hold on to their real identity. (MG)


5- Chinese Cinderella and the Secret Dragon Society by Adeline Yen Mah 

This speculative fiction novel about an unwanted daughter, Ye Xian, who is thrown out of her home by her father when she is disrespectful to her stepmother.  Ye Xian is taken in by Grandma Wu, and soon becomes an expert at kung fu and part of the Secret Dragon Society that helps the oppressed.  China has been under Japanese occupation since 1937 and now, in 1942, they have a different kind of mission.  Ye Xian and the other members of the society must try to save 5 downed American fliers before the Japanese find them.  This part of the story is actually based in reality, as is the cruel way the Chinese people were treated by the Japanese occupiers.  Though fantasy, there's lots of Chinese culture and tradition to be learned about.  (MG)

6- No Surrender Soldier by Christine Kohler

The main character in this novel is a 15 year old Charmorro boy, Kiko, living in Guam in 1972 and an elderly Japanese soldier, Seto, who has been living in hiding since WWII and doesn't know the war is over.  This is an odd coming of age story for both Kiki and Seto, who was only a young man when he went into hiding from the Americans on Guam.  There is quite a bit of information about Charmorro customs and traditions, and is it very interesting to see how Seto lived in his underground cave, concealing his presence for so many years. (YA)




7- Blue by Joyce Moyer Hostetter

Until the vaccine was discovered, there were outbreaks of polio all the time.  During WWII, even the President suffered with it.  In September1944, with her father in Europe fighting, Ann Fay Honeycutt, 13, is also diagnosed with polio. The novel follows her treatment and her friendship with an African American girl she meets in the hospital.  Catawba County, NC was particularly hard hit by polio and Ann Fay's story nicely documents what was done about it.  Since there are so few cases of polio these days, it is interesting to read about how clothes and favorite toys were burned, swimming wasn't allowed, and how a makeshift hospital was constructed to handle all the cases there.  (MG)



8- Code Talkers: A Novel About the Navajo Marines of World War II by Joseph Bruchac

This is a historical fiction novel that tells about how the Navajo language and the Navajos who spoke it were used to send unbreakable coded messages during WWII and helped with the war.  But more than that, it is the story of what life was life for Native Americans within their family and when they were sent to an "Indian School" to be educated and where practicing their native culture and traditions could result in severe punishments.  This is the kind of novel that can make your blood boil when you read about how Native Americans were treated.   And even though they became real American heroes, it wasn't until 2000 that what they contributed to the war was acknowledged. (MG?YA)



9- Eyes of the Emperor by Graham Salisbury

This is one of the most disturbing books I've read.  Eddy Okubo, a Japanese American living in Hawaii, is only 16, but lies about his age and joins the army,  Seven weeks later, Pearl Harbor is attacked and from then on Eddy and the other Japanese American soldiers are treated like grunts.  When a Swiss emigre convinces President Roosevelt that he can train dogs to sniff out the Japanese, Eddy and 24 other soldiers of Japanese descent, are sent to Cat Island, MS where they serve as "hate bait" in the dogs training sessions.  This is, sadly, based in reality.  This is an interesting look at the kind of xenophobia that resulted after Pearl Harbor. (YA)



9a- Dash by Kirby Larson

When it was decided that Japanese Americans were to be put into internment camps for the duration of the war, they all lost everything they had worked for - homes, businesses, cars, cherished mementos from family in Japan.  For Mitsi, 11, it meant losing her best friends and her dog.  Later, at the internment camp, families are forced to live in dusty, smelly horse stalls, and later to dusty barracks in the middle of nowhere.   It's hard to believe now that this country could treat its citizens and its legal immigrants in such an appalling manner (well, actually, and I'm ashamed to say this, but maybe it isn't, after all). (MG)






10- T4 by Anne Clare LaZotte

This novel-in-free-verse is about a deaf girl, Paula Becker, who is 13 and living in Nazi Germany when the Nazis pass a law that allows them the euthanize disabled people, including children, to help create a master race that is free of any disability and also eliminate the cost of caring for them.  T4 is the name give to the program.  In desperation, Paula is taken to a safe haven where she learns sign language, but when the Nazis come to search the house, Paula must be taken to another safe haven.  T4 killings stopped in 1941 but Paula's life and other's with disabilities weren't safe until the end of the war. (MG)


It was interesting to go back and see what books I've read that I applied the keyword Diversity to.  One thing I noticed is that I have no reviews of LGTBQ books.  Any recommendations, besides Postcards from No Man's Land by Aidan Chambers?  I would appreciate any suggestions.

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21. New Black Lightning Archive: DC, Tony Isabella Reconcile

Black Lightning 4“Dogs and cats, living together!” – that’s what immediately popped into my mind yesterday when I read Tony Isabella praising DC on Facebook for how it was treating him in regard to Black Lightning.I’ve never seen the original contract between DC and Isabella in regard to Black Lightning so I have nothing to say of substance in regard to the property’s legal status, but as anyone who has followed Tony’s online writing over the years can tell you, Isabella’s statements about DC’s treatment of him and his landmark creation have not exactly been complimentary. That changed, however, yesterday, when Isabella called attention to an Amazon listing of the April 2016 release of Black Lightning, volume 1, the first of what could be a series of collections featuring DC’s first African-American superhero to star in an an eponymous book.

According to Isabella, the rapprochement is the result of outreach by Dan Didio and Geoff Johns, and Isabella is confident that DC will treat him fairly in regard to the payment of royalties. He also raised the possibility of doing more work for DC given sufficient reader demand; the prospect of Isabella working with, say, the creators of the revived Milestone line on a multi-generational crossover is particularly intriguing, given certain thematic resonances with Milestone’s nuanced reflections on creative identity.

To say that Isabella’s announcement is the most unexpected Facebook post of the year is an understatement — it’s one of the most dramatic turnarounds I’ve seen in decades of reading about comics-related disputes, and kudos to all involved for bringing about what I hope will be a truly lasting peace in our time.

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22. Send Us Rainbow Book Suggestions!

Red: A Crayon's StoryThe Rainbow Book List Committee, a committee of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT) of the American Library Association, is seeking suggestions from the field for the 2016 Rainbow Book List. Suggestions from the field will be accepted through September 30, 2015.

So what is the committee looking for? Excellent books for children birth through age 18 that reflect the LGBTQ experience for young people.

The Rainbow Book List Committee members are currently reading over 100 titles (and any that you suggest) and nominating the best of the best for inclusion on the list. The committee will meet at Midwinter to discuss all nominated titles and select those that will make the final list.

You can follow along with committee activities at the blog and see what titles have already been nominated. We would love to know about any great LGBTQ books for kids and teens that you’ve read that have been published since July 1, 2014! For more information about the Rainbow Book List Committee click here.

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23. Happy National Respect for Parents Day!

That’s right, August 1st is National Respect for Parents Day. And while I’m not sure what the founder intended, we can show respect for all parents and caregivers by making sure our collections include books reflecting diverse families. We can highlight these books in storytimes, other programs, and displays. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

I Love Saturdays y domingos by Alma Flor Ada

Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match/Marisol McDonald no combina by Monica Brown

Sweet Moon Baby: An Adoption Tale by Karen Henry Clark

Here Comes Hortense! by Heather Hartt-Sussman

Silas’ Seven Grandparents by Anita Horrocks

Monday is One Day by Arthur A. Levine

Spork by Kyo Maclear

The Family Book by Todd Parr

A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams

Along with offering and highlighting materials reflecting diverse families, we can remember to use inclusive language, both spoken and written. For example, when approaching an unaccompanied child in the library, we might say, “Are you with someone today?” rather than, “Are you here with Mom or Dad?” In promotional materials for our programming, we could write, “Children and caregivers are welcome,” in place of, “Children and their parents may attend.”

There are lots of ways to show respect for parents, caregivers, and families! What are some techniques you use? What are your favorite books reflecting diverse families?

Amanda Struckmeyer is a Youth Services Librarian at the Middleton (WI) Public Library. She is a member of the ALSC Services to Special Populations and Their Caregivers Committee.

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24. Nicola Yoon: Diversity In Children's Books Panel



Nicola Yoon grew up in Jamaica (the island) and Brooklyn (part of Long Island). She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband and their daughter, both of whom she loves beyond all reason. Her first novel, Everything, Everything, will be published by Random House\Delacorte Press on September 1, 2015. Follow her on Twitter @nicolayoon.



Here's the synopsis of Nicola's book:

Madeline Whittier is allergic to the outside world. So allergic, in fact, that she has never left the house in all of her seventeen years. She is content enough—until a boy with eyes the color of the Atlantic Ocean moves in next door. Their complicated romance begins over IM and grows through a wunderkammer of vignettes, illustrations, charts, and more.

Highlights of Nicola's comments:


"The job of a writer is to tell the truth. To see people as they are."

Miranda asks Nicola about having a character with a serious disease, and at the same time being of mixed heritage.

"The story is about her, she's not the sidekick."

A book about the diversity (like coming out stories) can be "incredibly important."

And, Nicola says, "a non-issue book is just as important."

"If Harry Potter were black, that would be awesome. Or if he were gay."

Nicola speaks of what happens when you have only one of a category of people.

When you have only one black or gay character, then they become representative of that category. If you have only one character who is black and they're a drug dealer, that can be problematic. But if you have ten characters who are black, it's not so troubling. Because that one character is no longer a representative of everyone who is part of that category, too.

"No one represents everyone."


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25. Varian Johnson: Diversity in Children's Books: Challenges and Solutions

Author Varian Johnson gave a great keynote earlier today, be sure you check out the recap for that, too. As a reminder, his books include The Great Greene Heist and My Life as a Rhombus.

When asked about writers needing to ask permission to write about a character of a different background or orientation, etc., Varian says asking for permission is hard, it's not like one person represents the totality of their race or disability or sex. I struggle with this a lot myself, when I'm writing a female character.

Do a lot of research, get the technical things right, interactions within the community. Growing up, I spoke one way at home, and one way out in the world, and that would be hard for someone who didn't experience my private home life to observe.

I don't expect any author to ask permission, but I do expect an author to do their research and due diligence on a subject, any subject.

Miranda Paul, the moderator, asks about the term 'casual diversity' and what the panel thinks of it.

Varian says, "Casual diversity is a horrible term, we struggled with it a lot, but I think there is something to be said for books that feature the race of a character, but race isn't the point of the story. I love the idea that there are books coming out now where people of color can be more than one thing."

He mentions Elizabeth Bluemle's post about looking for the black Ramona Quimby.

A final note of career advice from Varian: Think through who is publishing and where you and your story may fit, find your allies, they are out there.

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