Doing the Write Thing, 1969-2015: A Literary Legacy Conversation at Bank Streetitunes.apple.com
On April 6th, Kwame Alexander, Dorothy Carter
Writer-in-Residence and 2015 Newbery Medalist, and his father, Dr. E.
Curtis Alexander (GS ’70), engaged in a moderated conversation led by Leonard S. Marcus at the Bank Street College of Education.
There's a Party in Your Head and Everyone's Invited
Contributed to CBC Diversity by Melissa Grey
There are seven narrators in The Girl at Midnight – a fact I wasn’t very open with during the querying process because I was worried the number might scare off potential agents. My thinking was that by the time someone read enough of the manuscript to discover just how bonkers I went with the number of point-of-view characters, they would either be invested enough in the story or they’d already soured on it. The gamble paid off.
Because there are so many narrators, I’m often asked how I approach writing a single story with so many PoV characters. I’m not always fastidious when it comes to writing methodology but these are a few points to keep in mind when writing different perspectives (especially when they’re different from you in terms of sex, gender, race, culture, etc.).
The 10 global companies that get diversity: Studycnbc.com
You can dismiss it as public relations, but the case for diversity as a leading indicator on stock performance has been made many times already, including the outperformance of the DiversityInc Top 50 group of stocks in past years.
These 10 companies lead the way when it comes to diversity as a cultural and business aim, according to an annual ranking from DiversityInc.
Ernst & Young
Johnson & Johnson
Procter & Gamble
Read more at CNBC on how companies become leaders in creating a diverse workplace and where there is still room for improvement.
Assistant Editor at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
To tell you how I got into publishing, I could start by mentioning that my mother always had a book in her hand, and taught me to do the same—or that I spent most of my time lost in books like One Fat Summer by Robert Lipsyte.
These experiences definitely shaped me to be the kind of person who would find myself in the world of publishing but, honestly, the idea of a publishing career didn’t even pop into my mind until the day I watched Margaret Tate and Andrew Paxton (played by Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds) banter on the silver screen in The Proposal.
I remember that being a particularly difficult time for me. I’d just spent the last year working at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary while taking pre-med classes at night. Although I was proud of the idea of becoming a doctor, I wasn’t eager to go to work and class every day, but I didn’t like the idea of quitting either. Then one weekend, as I watched Margaret and Andrew throw humorous insults at each other, I noticed Margaret’s hardcopy manuscripts sprinkled across her desk. I was fascinated by the part where Andrew was trying to convince her to buy a manuscript that he loved. I remember thinking, Is this a thing? Does this career actually exist?! That night, I looked up the industry guides that my school had available, and ta da, there it was—an industry guide on publishing. Seriously…never doubt the power of media.
The CBC Partners with the unPrison Project to Build Prison-Nursery Librariescbcbooks.org
BRAND-NEW LIBRARIES TO BE CREATED IN HONOR OF MOTHER’S DAY ON MAY 10, WHICH FALLS DURING CHILDREN’S BOOK WEEK 2015
New York, NY — April 23, 2015
–In honor of Mother’s Day on Sunday, May 10, the last day of Children’s
Book Week 2015, the Children’s Book Council (CBC) is partnering with
The unPrison Project — a 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to empowering and
mentoring women in prison, while raising awareness of their families’
needs — to create brand-new libraries of books for incarcerated mothers
to read with their babies at prison nurseries in 10 states: California,
Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Nebraska, New York, South Dakota, Washington,
West Virginia, and Wyoming.
17 of the CBC’s member publishers have
joined this meaningful endeavor by donating copies of 45 hand-picked
titles for children ages 0-18 months for each library. The books will be
paired with simple interactive reading guides— fostering mother-child
dialogue and bonding — and will be hand-delivered and organized in the
nurseries by Deborah Jiang-Stein, founder of The unPrison Project and author of Prison Baby.
Jiang-Stein was born in prison to a heroin-addicted mother, and has
made it her mission to empower and mentor women and girls in prison.15
additional titles have also been donated by these publishers to stock
visiting room libraries for inmates and their older children.
In the past couple of weeks or so, there have been a couple of articles about the importance parents, librarians, and teachers have in
exposing children and young adults to diverse voices. Matt de la Pena’s
article, How We Talk (or Don’t Talk) About Diversity When We Read with Our Kids,
focused on the little ones and how when we read with our children that
instead of focusing on the “otherness” of the story, we focus on the
actual story. Next, Lee and Low, in their blog post titled, Why Do We Need Diverse Books in Non-Diverse Schools?,
went a step further discussing how diverse books need to be shared in a
non-diverse classroom to help the children become more empathetic and
open to other view points and ideas. Lastly, Sara Megibow of KT Literay,
shared her experience of helping her son’s 4th grade teacher make the
classroom library more diverse. In her blog post, Diverse Success Story,
she shares her process of how she went about donating the books to the
Read K. Imani Tennyson’s full post of her experiences as a teacher choosing the books and creating the curriculum for her students.
The [Diversity Jobs Report] reveals that, for the first time in 2015, the employment levels for diverse groups increased or remained flat across the board. This development mirrors the national employment trend for all Americans, which has consistently improved over the past year.
In addition to analyzing the employment situation for diverse Americans, the DJR discusses “unconscious bias” in the workplace and outlines best practices for addressing blindspots when recruiting, hiring and promoting diverse talent.
Looking to start a diversity committee at your own company or organization? Download the free report here for statistics and numbers to show why actively investing in diversity makes business sense.
Publicist at Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing and Saga Press
When I was looking for my first job, I’d ask as many people as I could how they got their start in publishing. I would collect stories from internship mentors, interviewers, people I met at networking events, whoever, in exchange for bright-eyed enthusiasm. As I found out, there’s no single path to publishing, but rather a network full of detours, twists, and forks that make up our small (yes, small) publishing village.
On the surface, my path seems straightforward. My junior year at Columbia, I joined my college’s alumna mentor program as I began pondering life after college. Since I specified that I was interested in publishing, I was matched with the excellent and wonderful Juliet Grames, now associate publisher of Soho Press. Juliet was invaluable to me. At her advice, I did three internships before graduating in 2010: at an agency, in children’s editorial, and in adult trade marketing. She introduced me to other people in publishing, and I lived in her spare bedroom in Harlem while job-hunting in New York.
After graduation, I laid out my plan for intense networking: interviews both informational and professional, panels, coffee dates, lunch dates, Kid Lit Drink Nights and KGB Fantastic Fiction Nights, basically anywhere I knew publishing people would be. Five months later, I began working as a publicity assistant at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
The CBC and We Need Diverse Books™ to Partner on Resources and Programming for Publishing Internship Programcbcbooks.org
New York, NY – April 14, 2015 – The Children’s Book
Council (CBC), the non-profit trade association for children’s book
publishers in North America, and grassroots nonprofit We Need Diverse
Books™ (WNDB) today announced their partnership on educational
programming and resources for interns selected for the WNDB Internship
Program, launching this summer.
The program is designed to open
up the children’s book publishing industry to talented job-seekers from
diverse backgrounds, providing them with an invaluable opportunity to
learn about the industry through professional guidance and hands-on
As part of this effort towards creating a more diverse
children’s book publishing industry, the CBC will offer WNDB Publishing
Exclusive educational opportunities, including a luncheon with the CBC Diversity Committee, comprised of children’s book editors and publicists at top publishing houses
Inclusion in the CBC Early Career Committee’s summer event, connecting the interns with publishing staffers in their first 5 years in the industry
Invitation to a CBC Forum, a CBC-member event which provides information and discussion on current publishing trends and issues
Invitation to a CBC Diversity Panel,
a CBC-member opportunity which brings together voices within and
outside of children’s publishing to communicate the challenges they face
in selling and promoting diverse books, and to work together to develop
Tip sheets for getting jobs in the publishing industry and making the most of their internships
CBC-member exclusive multimedia content, including videos and recordings of educational programming
to the CBC Early Career Committee’s ECC Newsletter, featuring
interviews with mid-level publishing staffers, industry job moves, &
member-exclusive news, opportunities, and invitations
Access to Diversity in the News, the CBC’s monthly newsletter rounding-up relevant news in children’s books and diversity
Children’s Book Council has been a dedicated champion of diverse books
and voices since the launch of the CBC Diversity Initiative in 2012”
said CBC Executive Director Jon Colman. “We are excited to team up with
WNDB to further the work of creating an inclusive and representative
children’s book publishing industry.”
WNDB President Ellen Oh says
of the collaboration: “We are thrilled to be partnering with the CBC on
our pilot internship program. Not only do we need diverse books, but a
diverse and dedicated workforce.”
About the Children’s Book Council (CBC)
Children’s Book Council is the nonprofit trade association for
children’s book publishers in North America. The CBC offers children’s
publishers the opportunity to work together on issues of importance to
the industry at large, including educational programming, literacy
advocacy, and collaborations with other national organizations. Our
members span the spectrum from large international houses to smaller
independent presses. The CBC is proud to partner with other national
organizations on co-sponsored reading lists, educational programming,
and literacy initiatives. Please visit cbcbooks.org for more information.
Created in 2012, CBC Diversity
is dedicated to increasing the diversity of voices and experiences
contributing to children’s and young adult literature — encouraging
diversity of race, gender, geographical origin, sexual orientation, and
class among both the creators of and the topics addressed by children’s
literature. Learn more at cbcdiversity.com.
About We Need Diverse Books (WNDB)
We Need Diverse Books™
is a grassroots organization of children’s book lovers that advocates
essential changes in the publishing industry to produce and promote
literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people.
How we define diversity:
recognize all diverse experiences, including (but not limited to)
LGBTQIA, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities*,
and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities.
*We subscribe to a
broad definition of disability, which includes but is not limited to
physical, sensory, cognitive, intellectual, or developmental
disabilities, chronic conditions, and mental illnesses (this may also
include addiction). Furthermore, we subscribe to a social model of
disability, which presents disability as created by barriers in the
social environment, due to lack of equal access, stereotyping, and other
forms of marginalization.
# # #
The Children’s Book Council and Every Child a Reader
This post is only meant to be representative of my own personal experience—that of an editor of a small YA list at an indie press—working to sell rights at the 2015 Bologna Children’s Book Fair. It is wildly subjective, tainted by extreme bias (towards the “D” word of Diversity; capitalized for this post), and informed by very little time for reflection, spent almost exclusively stuffing my face with delicious food.
With that said…
Good Diversity News from Bologna
I found that the vibe was different in the best possible ways from 2014. For instance, whenever I discussed books involving LGBT characters, there was no mention of Diversity whatsoever. There was, however, plenty of discussion of the story, of the voice, of the surprises—the reason we all got into this business (I think/hope?) in the first place. The only time people brought up Diversity, in fact, was because of a fear of American cultural references that other markets might not understand. Some might have wondered why I was smiling when at first they essentially told me “not sure…?” But (I think/hope?) I was persuasive in convincing them to give a read, at least.
Not-So-Good Diversity News from Bologna
Everyone I met with, across the board, pretty much looked like me. (All were better groomed; most were female.) But among American and European publishers and agents, there was homogeneity reminiscent of the minions from the Despicable Me franchise, who were also present.
Lovely Encounters at Bologna
Finally, apropos only of the current political climate, I stumbled upon this booth for the first time in my six years of going to the Bologna Book Fair. The publishers from Iran were mostly there to sell rights, like I was. The two representatives at the booth—one male, one female; neither who looked like me—were lovely and gracious. They weren’t interested in acquiring YAs, though; and to be fair, I was not interested in acquiring picture books. We wished each other well and looked forward to seeing each other next year.