Today we are pleased to share this guest post from Librarian and Diversity Coordinator Laura Reiko Simeon on ageism in children’s literature. Welcome, Laura! Continue reading
While the number of diverse books is increasing, the number of new diverse authors entering the field remains low. Significant barriers remain for authors of color, Native authors, disabled authors, and other marginalized voices. With that in mind, we are excited to share information on this special Twitter event, #DVpit, created to showcase pitches by marginalized voices and help connect them to agents and editors. The information below is cross-posted with permission from literary agent Beth Phelan’s website. Continue reading
Over the last few years, we have seen the number of panels about diversity skyrocket. It wasn’t long ago that an all-white BookCon lineup inspired the creation of We Need Diverse Books; now, a few years later, we constantly come across conference lineups with multiple diversity-focused panels (take the upcoming YALSA Symposium for young adult librarians, as just one example). Many regional and national conferences have adopted diversity as a conference theme, and we have been invited to speak at multiple Diversity Summits, Diversity Days, and more.
This is a terrific thing. Panels are an important way to keep the focus on this topic and to educate the movers and shakers within all different industries about why diversity matters. The high number of panels focused on diversity is a good indicator that more people are thinking about these issues than ever before.
But here’s the thing about panels: just putting the word “diversity” on a panel and hoping it does the job isn’t enough. Continue reading
When asked for a list of key contacts who will support their upcoming book, many debut authors panic. “I don’t really know anyone,” they will say. But the truth is that most authors already have a large network of people at their disposal who will gladly assist in promoting their upcoming book: their friends and family. While these people probably can’t purchase a whole print run alone, a book can benefit from their support in some essential ways. Knowing the best ways to approach this group and maximize their impact is the key. Continue reading
Today we are pleased to share this guest post from Librarian and Diversity Coordinator Laura Reiko Simeon. Welcome, Laura!
On a shuttle bus at the ALA Midwinter Conference, I overheard a conversation between two librarians who had also attended the event where Journey around Our National Parks from A to Z by Martha Day Zschock (Commonwealth Editions, 2016) was showcased as an example of inclusivity, portraying as it does ethnically diverse individuals enjoying the great outdoors. I was disturbed to hear these white women chuckling over what they saw as the ridiculousness of this book’s presentation in a session about diversity. They made it clear through snorts of derision that just having pictures of children of color didn’t count as making a book diverse, and that the effort itself to show diversity in this book was just plain silly. Continue reading
At Lee & Low Books, we’ve always known that making diverse books is only half the battle. The other half is getting those books into schools, libraries, bookstores, homes, and ultimately into kids’ hands. For low-income families, purchasing just one book can seem like a luxury, and giving kids access to a full library can seem like a distant dream. Yet we know that lack of access to books contributes significantly to lower reading levels and a widening achievement gap, leaving many kids in this country behind.
Our motto is “About everyone, for everyone,” and we take that motto seriously, not just in terms of the books we publish but also in terms of access to those books. That’s why we are proud to announce that our books will be part of Open eBooks, a new initiative and e-reader app that will make thousands of popular, top-selling eBooks available free to children in need. Launched this week, the Open eBooks initiative will make it easier than ever for low-income students to get access to great books that build literacy, nourish the soul, and ignite the imagination. Continue reading
Since many of our readers are librarians and educators with a passion for diverse books, we’re reposting information on this special grant that may be of interest:
The Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature for Youth is now accepting applications for the Annual Virginia Hamilton and Arnold Adoff Creative Outreach Grants for Teachers and Librarians.
Each year, the Conference offers two grants up to $1,000 each for projects to develop new classroom or library programs that raise awareness of multicultural literature among young people; particularly, but not exclusively, through the works of Virginia Hamilton. Continue reading
Today on the blog we are honored to be able to interview Joseph McGill, Founder of the Slave Dwelling Project, which works to preserve extant slave dwellings and organizes overnight stays in them to bring attention to the history and experiences of enslaved people. Welcome, Mr. McGill! Continue reading
In this guest post, author and media literacy expert Tina L. Peterson, Ph.D., demonstrates how media literacy skills can help readers think deeply about diversity in books.
When I was a kid, I rarely paid attention to the ethnicities of characters in my favorite books. I probably assumed that, because I related to them, they were like me – white, suburban, and middle class. Despite the fact that many of my classmates and close friends were Latino and Asian, it didn’t occur to me that the characters in most books I read didn’t represent the mix of people in my life. Continue reading
Beloved poet and educator Francisco X. Alarcón passed away on January 15, 2016. Francisco was a prolific writer of poetry for children and adults. Born in California and raised in Mexico, Francisco’s poems explore his Chicano identity and celebrate the double joy of being a poet in two languages. His awards include multiple Pura Belpré Honors as well the Chicano Literary Prize and the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award. His passing is a great loss to the world of Latino literature.
We asked some of the authors and artists who knew Francisco to share their memories of him: Continue reading