The run down on March books is below.
But the following post got the most reblogs and comments by far this month— way more than any of the individual book reviews.
- 2010: more than 90% of books for kids in the U.S. were written by white authors about white protagonists
The fact that there are more books in the U.S. that feature white protagonists is probably not a surprise to anyone. But when 40% of kids in the U.S. are kids of color and only 10% of the books published feature them, the discrepancy is definitely alarming and points to a lot of problems we need to deal with.
Folks with diverse stories to tell need to tell them and relentlessly seek agents and editors. Publishers need to relentlessly work to close the gap in their book lists. All writers and artists need to support and boost those with diverse stories to tell. And, and, and.
On Tumblr, it’d be great to see folks use a common tag so that we can all find and highlight books that feature diversity. I’ve been using #diverse kids lit, but I’m open to others that you all come up with.
- Level Up by Gene Luen Yang, art by Thien Pham (First Second, 2011)
- Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai (Harper Collins, 2011)
- Word with Wings: A Treasury of African-American Poetry and Art selected by Belinda Rochelle (Harper Collins, 2001)
- Tia Isa Wants a Car by Meg Medina, illustrated by Claudio Munoz (Candlewick, 2011)
- Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by LeUyen Pham (Hyperion, 2008)
- Monday is One Day by Arthur Levine, illustrated by Julian Hector (Scholastic, 2011)
- Grandma’s Records by Eric Velasquez (Walker and Company, 2001)
- Crouching Tiger by Ying Chang Compestine, illustrated by Yan Nascimbene (Candlewick, 2011)
If this were a map
it would be the map of the last age of her life,
not a map of choices but a map of variations
on the one great choice. It would be the map by which
she could see the end of touristic choices,
of distances blued and purpled by romance,
by which she would recognize that poetry
isn’t a revolution but a way of knowing
why it must come.
—Poetry, October 1987
Poet Adrienne Rich has died.
“Which is to say that nobody’s talented, not when it comes to prose, and if they are it wouldn’t matter. If you read a story by 100 beginning writers you would have no idea who was going to be a better writer in a year. If you encouraged one of them because they had promise, an odd sensibility, a skeptics view of their interior life, maybe even a hint of poetry as if they were listening to Pink Floyd while they wrote, then you are mistaken. A year later you would be shocked who was showing improvement. Still, nobody would be writing anything too advanced. But you might think you could see a trajectory with the ones who weren’t leaning so hard on adjectives, beginning to trust the reader. You’d still be wrong. Only after maybe five, probably ten years would you have any idea if any of them were going to write a great short story. Almost guaranteed the ones you thought had talent would be nowhere to be found, if they were writing at all, which is unlikely. Because what you thought was talent was actually promise, and promise isn’t an indicator of anything. Among the people that had spent ten years writing in their free time you might now see who has “talent”, but by then it’s a meaningless designation. They’ve already put in the time.”
-Stephen Elliott in “The Talent Myth”
Read the whole thing at The Rumpus.
Chicano!, one of the books no longer available in the classroom in Tucson, Arizona.(Courtesy Arte Publico Press)
Using a word meant to turn the infamous narco-trafficking phrase on its head, Latino activists calling themselves the librotraficantes (book traffickers) are marching their caravan of books through Texas and New Mexico to Arizona in protest of the discontinuation of the Mexican-American Studies course in Tucson and the subsequent removal of certain books.
“Every year the Cooperative Center for Children’s Books at the University of Wisconsin reports the number of books they receive from US trade and small publishers and how many are written by authors of various backgrounds. Again, in 2010, more than 90 percent of books for children and young adults in the United States were written by white authors about white protagonists. What does this mean for the almost 40 percent of US children who come from different backgrounds? How often do they see their faces reflected in picture books, read about a superhero who happens to be African-American, or a Latina who is anticipating her Quinceañera? Do Caucasian kids come to believe the whole world is like theirs?”
Important questions from the SCBWI Bulletin, March/ April 2012.