“Ableism: a doctrine that falsely treats impairments as inherently and naturally horrible and blames the impairments themselves for the problems experienced by the people who have them”—–Amundson and Taira (via xuledemigod)
Have you been following the wonderful new series over at The Brown Bookshelf entitled “Making Our Own Market”, which launched the first day of Children’s Book Week 2014?
They’ve featured 11 guest posts thus far that focus on authors paving their own way, independent publishers, new packaging companies, and out of the box publicity techniques to just name a few. See how The Brown Bookshelf describes their series below and check out all of the posts on their site:
The kidlit world is currently abuzz with many loud, strong, and unified voices crying out, “WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS!” The cry has been made before, but this time there appears to be an organized activism accompanying the noise.
In that same activist spirit, we at The Brown Bookshelf reached out to a variety of experienced individuals involved in the creation of children’s books written and/or illustrated by African Americans and asked them to share the wisdom they have attained as they’ve worked to make sure these books not only make it to publication, but also reach the widest audience possible.
What’s another way to create your own market? Support independent bookstores who focus on selling and publicizing diverse books like Busboys and Poets, La Casa Azul Bookstore, and the many that can be found by state here.
What bookstores do you know that do a fabulous job of selling and promoting children’s books by and about people from different cultures?
Tell us about your debut and how you came to write it.
Bird is a story about a 12-year-old girl named Jewel who was born on the day her brother John died. Jewel’s grandfather had nicknamed John “Bird”, and Bird thought he really could fly – at five years old, he jumped off a cliff. Grandpa hasn’t spoken a word since. Jewel is mixed race – Jamaican/Mexican/White – living in rural Iowa, and on the night of her 12th birthday, the anniversary of her brother’s death, she finds a boy in the tree she climbs. And his name is John. There are a lot of different beliefs in the Jamaican and Mexican cultures about what happens when you die, and this mysterious friend certainly upsets the silence in her house.
As for how the story started: I had just finished reading Keeper by Kathi Appelt, and was sick at home from work. I had also finished my first manuscript and was fretting that I might not have another idea for another novel. Ever. I was thinking about this for hours, and finally I got so sick of myself that I said, Crystal, either you get up out of bed and write your next book, or you go to sleep because you’re sick. But you’re not going to lie in bed thinking about not writing your next book.
And then I started thinking more about Keeper, and how I loved that story; it’s about a girl who thought her mother turned into a mermaid and goes out to sea in search of her. And I thought, A girl who thinks her mother was a mermaid - that’s such a great idea – but what if… there were a boy who thought he was a bird? What would he do? And immediately I saw this little kid, arms outstretched, jumping off a cliff because he thought he could fly. I remember gasping as I saw it play out in my mind. Then the voice of the protagonist, Jewel’s voice, started speaking – like started narrating to me – and I got out of bed and wrote down what she said. That’s how I wrote the first chapter of Bird.
Finding Wonderland: #WeNeedDiverseBooks, The Panel & Musings on Diversity Discussionswritingya.blogspot.com
This panel was full of great, brilliant people with plenty to say, and really good questions… but it was way, way, way too short. There was vital and necessary conversation, but a single, hour-long panel in a tiny corner of BEA - filled to standing room only, with people turned away at the door for fire safety reasons - was simply not enough time to get into things really deeply. One thing that was said, however, was that there’d be a Diverse Books Festival sometime in 2016, in Washington D.C. Yay, right? It is to be “the first of its kind.”
Or, so they said.
Anybody else remember the University of San Francisco’s Department of Education putting on Reading The World?
What you may not know is that USF chose to get involved in this after a similar Cal State Hayward (CSUH) conference had ended after a nine year run. Beverley Hock, who had started the one day conference as a graduate student, finished it as a doctoral candidate, and her time in the area had ended. Disappointed that there was no other venue to talk about diverse children’s books, from 1998-2009, under the skilled direction of Dr. Alma Flor Ada and her education graduate students, USF started READING THE WORLD.
Diversity in Children’s-Book Reviewingkirkusreviews.com
The Kirkus roster of reviewers largely reflects the demographics of the world of children’s and teen literature: overwhelmingly white and overwhelmingly female. (There are very few segments of society in which men can legitimately cry underrepresentation; children’s literature is one of them.) Knowing that my roster does not reflect the mosaic that is the United States—nor does it come close to reflecting the mosaic that is the population of children in the United States, which the U.S. Census Bureau predicts will be minority white by 2019—I have worked to recruit reviewers of color, with some modest success.
–Kirkus’ Children’s & Teen Editor Vicky Smith
Read on to learn about Vicky’s success and matching books to reviewers that will resonate with them.