La Casa Azul Book Drive to Help Unaccompanied Minors

La Casa Azul, a NYC bookstore, is holding a summer book drive for children who are currently in deportation proceedings in the area. The bookstore is working with the Unaccompanied Latin-American Minor Project (U-LAMP) and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice/Safe Passage Project on this initiative.

Books for the drive will be accepted from Thursday July 10th - Sunday August 10, 2014.

Learn more here.

I do think that things have gotten better. Of course, as has been widely reported, if you look at the numbers of main characters of color in children’s books, the stats have stayed stagnant. But I do think that the quality of books featuring characters of color has improved (fewer stereotypical depictions, more variety), and also, if you look at the total number of diverse characters in books, I believe the numbers would be vastly improved. When I was a kid, I could probably count the number of Asian characters in the books I read on one hand. Now I see them everywhere.

Alvina Ling, founding member of the CBC Diversity Committee, in an interview with Goodreads on how she found her way into publishing, why diversity in publishing is complicated (but improving), and her newest multicultural project. Check out the whole interview here.

More than ten years ago, David Levithan’s ‘Boy Meets Boy’ was released. Since that time, many more young adult books featuring LGBTQ stories have been published. In an interview with ‘The Associated Press,’ he talks about both the community and the state of these books.

"There is constantly a need for diversity within the representations. It’s just as limiting to say there’s only one kind of gay story, just as it’s limiting to say there’s only one kind of straight one."

Read more here.

Ezra Jack Keats, “So he made a smiling snowman, and he made angels.” Final illustration for The Snowy Day, 1960. Collage and paint on board. Ezra Jack Keats Papers, de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection, McCain Library and Archives, The University of Southern Mississippi. Copyright Ezra Jack Keats Foundation.
An exhibit dedicated to the art of Ezra Jack Keats will be on display until September 7, 2014 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.
Learn more here. High-res

Ezra Jack Keats, “So he made a smiling snowman, and he made angels.” Final illustration for The Snowy Day, 1960. Collage and paint on board. Ezra Jack Keats Papers, de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection, McCain Library and Archives, The University of Southern Mississippi. Copyright Ezra Jack Keats Foundation.

An exhibit dedicated to the art of Ezra Jack Keats will be on display until September 7, 2014 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.

Learn more here.

Within just a few hours of learning of your decision, I received an email from a teen reader going into her sophomore year of high school. Which means that, if we’re doing the math, she was in exactly the age group that you’ve deemed “not yet prepared” for my novel when she read it. This student told me a little about the difficulties she’s having getting her parents to accept her sexuality, adding: “…the way you describe Cameron and her challenges, made me fall completely in love with her as well as see parts of myself in her…Your writing completely captivated me, and I hope I will be able to do that someday.”

I think it’s incredibly unfortunate that your decision to remove my book from your summer reading list may well keep a student just like this one—a student who might be too embarrassed or unsure to, on their own, pick up a novel with subject matter like mine—from choosing my book “safely” as part of a larger class assignment.

Author emily m. danforth, writing to the Cape Henlopen School Board, about their decision to remove her novel The Miseducation of Cameron Post from their summer reading list (via diversityinya)

Ellen Oh: Diverse Books are Not ‘Special Interest’

Ellen Oh, YA author of the Prophecy seriesEllen Oh, YA author of the Prophecy series, recently weighed in on the inappropriate and unfair treatment of diverse books; specifically the way that they are handled like ‘special interest’ books instead of being promoted as much as other titles.

“Diverse books shouldn’t be considered “special interest” and shelved in a separate area. If books containing minority characters are special interest, then any book with a talking animal should be separated into a ‘non-human category.’”