Here I Am!

Contributed to CBC Diversity by Brian Pinkney

When I was ten years old, my mom and dad made me my very own art studio. Actually, the “studio” was a walk-in closet that my parents converted so that I could have a place to call my own. It was the perfect spot for expressing my creativity without interruptions. (As one of four children, finding time to myself wasn’t always easy.)

As a budding artist, I wanted to grow up to become a children’s book creator, just like my father, illustrator Jerry Pinkney. Watching Dad, I was very fortunate to see books in which black children were front-and-center. Seeing Dad’s characters showed me, me. And it established a simple truth ― black kids in books were beautiful and could be rendered abundantly.

Following in Dad’s footsteps, I spent hours in my little workspace drawing all kinds of pictures. I also read lots of books, and dreamed big. Looking back, I realize now that my junior studio was a kind of retreat where I could pore over the pages of picture books. These books and their illustrations had an impact on how I perceived myself as an African American kid.

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Diversity Group Announces Walter Dean Myers Award and Grants

weneeddiversebooks:

We are thrilled to announce that we are launching a new award/grant initiative named after the late, great Walter Dean Myers: 

The Walter Dean Myers Award, which WNDB representatives have already nicknamed The Walter, will recognize published authors from diverse backgrounds who celebrate diversity in their writing and “[allow] children to see themselves reflected back” in those works

Read more about the initiative and check out our snazzy new logo in our exclusive to PW!

A huge congratulations! We love this new initiative!

Diversity 101: Asians as the Model Minority

Contributed to CBC Diversity by Janet Wong

When we look at the spectrum of racial stereotypes, Asians seem to have it good: We’re supposedly smart, hard-working, and obedient. We never complain. Families stick together. We don’t rock the boat (especially the fresher off the boat that we are).

What’s the Problem?

As far as stereotypes go, we’re pretty lucky. Some would say blessed. Who wouldn’t want to be prejudged as all those positive things?

For starters:

  • the amazing Japanese child who is dismissed as “just the typical Asian whiz kid”;
  • the B student who is considered an “embarrassment” to his Chinese parents;
  • the Korean teen who “brings shame” by getting a tattoo;
  • the Asian family of divorce.

The problem with all stereotypes—racial, cultural, gender, whatever—is that they interfere with your ability to be seen as you. You want to play football, but the Model Minority Stereotype (MMS) says: “Try the marching band.” You want to be a hip-hop star, but the MMS says: “Math and science.” Or maybe you need help, but are unable to reach out. The MMS says: “Asians are quiet. She’s perfectly fine.”

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At-Risk Summer documents author e.E. Charlton-Trujillo’s travels across the country workshopping with at-risk youth during the unique Fat Angie book tour.

At-Risk Summer also features the following award-winning authors:

A.S. King, Meg Medina, Kathy Erskine, Ellen Hopkins, Matt de la Peña, Laurie Halse Anderson, Pat Zieltow Miller and Michelle Embree

Want to bring At-Risk Summer to your community? Reach out to atrisksummer@gmail.com.

ALSC/Candlewick Press "Light the Way" Grant

The ALSC/Candlewick Press “Light the Way: Outreach to the Underserved” Grant was formed in honor of author Kate DiCamillo—Newbery Medalist, Geisel Honoree, and current National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature—and the themes found within her books.

The award consists of a $3,000 grant to assist a library in conducting exemplary outreach to underserved populations through a new program or an expansion of work already being done.

diversityinya:

Last week author Lisa Yee revealed the full cover for her upcoming YA novel, The Kidney Hypotheticalwhich is coming March 31, 2015, from Arthur A. Levine Books. Here’s the description:

Higgs Boson Bing has seven days left before his perfect high school career is completed. Then it’s on to Harvard to fulfill the fantasy portrait of success that he and his parents have cultivated for the past four years. Four years of academic achievement. Four years of debate championships. Two years of dating the most popular girl in school. But of course this shining picture is painted over cracks, some of them deep and painful. And for Higgs it’s about to come apart.

We can’t wait!

Inclusive Minds to Host Diversity Event: ‘A Place at the Table’

Inclusive Minds, a collective devoted to diversity in children’s books, will host a speed-dating style event for authors, illustrators and members of the industry to discuss ways of implementing diversity initiatives. The event, ’A Place at the Table,’ will be held on January 28, 2015, and is supported by past and present Children’s Laureates.

The concept for ‘A Place at the Table’ was inspired by CBC Diversity’s successful speed-dating style event held in May 2014, which brought together educators, librarians, authors, illustrators, publishers, agents, and others in the industry to connect over their shared mission: “to promote and develop books that more adequately reflect the demographics and realities of the world in which we live.”