[I]t’s a huge challenge for a mainstream publisher to sell the extraordinary diverse books we publish. Often I read eloquent articles by booksellers, teachers, and librarians, bemoaning the lack of diverse books. And while I do agree that there ought to be more, I can’t help but look back with chagrin on the many beautiful, original, well-reviewed books I’ve published in this vein which have languished. Discoverability, an issue for so many books, seems to be that much more of a hurdle when it comes to diverse books.
I do think one of the problems is that some schools, libraries, and bookstores will only stock diverse titles if they have a population of that particular race or ethnicity – they might not think they need titles about Latinos or Arabs or African Americans if theirs is, say, a largely white or Asian clientele. This is quite frustrating for me as a publisher, and terribly limiting for those poor kids who are shut out from so many books that could open their eyes to a much wider range of experiences. —
Donna Bray, Co-Publisher of Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Children’s Books, in an interview with CBC Diversity
Click through for many more insights on the challenges and joys of publishing diverse books!
Sci-Fi, Mysticism and Tragedy Reign at American Indian Youth Literature Awards
Mysticism, science fiction and tragedy mark the 2014 American Indian Youth Literature Awards from the American Indian Library Association, with Tomson Highway, Joseph Bruchac and Tim Tingle all winning honors this year.
Over at Book Riot, I created this time line to black historical fiction in YA lit (with some middle grade lit, with explanation as to why at the link).
There is so much worth thinking about here, beyond just what is out there and available.
Super interesting and useful!
The Black person is essentially taught what to think in this system because it is the mentality of the servant. The servant is told what to do. The master is taught how to think. Much of your education will be learning and memorizing what other people have developed, and regurgitating it on exams. Learning enough just to carry out the orders of others but not to challenge the power of others. We see this in almost any textbook you can open in this system of education. — Dr. Amos N. Wilson (via disciplesofmalcolm)
(Source: youtube.com, via kenobi-wan-obi)
Black History in YA Fiction: A Time Line from Bookriot
pan-ismycopilot asked: Hi there! I'm looking for YA series (sci-fi/fantasy preferred, but I will reject no genre) featuring WOC protagonists. Any suggestions?
hi! i’m so sorry it’s taken us so long to get to your question :( but yes! HERE IS A LIST:
- ellen oh’s prophecy series
- kate elliot’s cold magic trilogy
- the summer prince by alaya dawson
- fire and bitterblue by kristin cashore (part of the graceling trilogy)
- vessel by sarah beth durst
- eon by alison goodman
- zara the windseeker by nnedi okorafor (in fact her entire blacklist!!)
- finnikin of the rock by melina marchetta (and the accompanying titles!!)
- the dust girl by sarah zettel
- huntress and ash by malinda lo
- Dawn by Octavia Butler
- Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord
- Wind Follower by Carole McDonnell
- Mindscape by Andrea Hairston
- Racing the Dark by Alaya Dawn Johnson
- Dragon Sword and Wind Child by Noriko Ogiwara
- The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi
- Salt Fish Girl by Larissa Lai
- Half World by Hiromi Goto
- Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon
- Guardian of the Spirit by Nahoko Uehashi
- Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
- The Iron King by Julie Kawaga
- Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
- Hammer of Witches by Shana Mlawski
- Ico: Castle in the Mist by Miyuki Miyabe
- Orleans by Sherri L. Smith
- The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin
- Filter House (short stories) by Nisi Shawl
- Huntress by Malinda Lo
- Legend by Marie Lu
- Signal Red by Rimi B. Chatterjee
- The Conch Bearer by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
- The Island of Eternal Love by Daína Chaviano
- My Soul to Keep by Tananarive Due
- Cast in Shadow by Michelle Sagara
- Ascension by Kara Dalkey
i hope this is helpful! and i’m sorry it’s taken so long for me to get back to you :)
The Summer Prince is by Alaya Dawn Johnson, just to make it a little easier to find. :) The Killing Moon (and all of N.K. Jemisin’s books) are published for adults, not YA, but I’m sure they have teen appeal, and Filter House is also published for adults.
Here are a few more:
- Tankborn series by Karen Sandler
- Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac
- The Unnaturalists by Tiffany Trent
- Into the Wise Dark by Neesha Meminger
- Soul Enchilada by David Macinnis Gill
- The Changeover by Margaret Mahy
- Posess by Gretchen McNeil
- Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor
- The Chaos by Nalo Hopkinson
- Living Violet by Jaime Reed
Hundreds of kids showed up for the African American Children's Book Fair, and that makes us happy -
"I’m on a picture walk right now," said a young girl at the African American Children’s Book Fair Saturday afternoon as she paged through a book with a jaguar on the front. "That’s where I just look at the pictures to see what book has the best ones."
Judging by the cover aside, she was one of hundreds of African American kids lining up around the block — literally, the line to get in extended nearly a complete block out the door of the Community College of Philadelphia’s gym down 17th Street — to meet authors and buy books that are for them and about them.
C.J. Farley, author of Gameworld, a YA fantasy novel due out on Feb. 4, said his book aims to give kids a different take on fantasy — one in which people of color are actually there.
"I love The Hobbit, I love Narnia, but when I see the movies and when I see no people of color as the heroes, I think to myself, ‘Are we fantasized out of existence? Is it a fantasy not to see us?’ I want to show [black children] as the heroes of their own stories,” he said.
Pam Tuck, author of As Fast as Words Could Fly, a historical fiction picture book about school desegregation, and Marion T. Lane, author of Patriots of African Descent in the Revolutionary War, also a historical fiction, both called the book fair “empowering” for the children there.
"They are able to read books that they can relate to," Tuck said. "The authors and illustrators that they see, they too can become one of those."
Millicent Bland, who brought her children to the fair for the first time, said it was overwhelming to see how many books — from romance fiction for teens to Gabrielle Douglas’ second memoir — had a focus on people of color.
"It’s encouraging," she said. "As an African-American parent, I want our children to explore authors just like them."
The little girl on the picture walk (there was hardly a moment to catch her name) did add, after breathlessly declaring how much she “loved to read,” that she would be spreading the literacy love around.
"I’m gonna go buy this book for my sister, bye!" she yelled as she ran away.
For more, check out theafricanamericanchildrensbookproject.org.