Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist…

As proud members of the CBC Diversity Committee, we—Wendy Lamb and Dan Ehrenhaft—volunteered back in March to write a blog post, scheduled for this week. It was to be about unacknowledged, unconscious racism in YA. Our idea at the time was to make the blog post funny. Well, maybe not funny, but lighthearted. Sort of in the vein of the song “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” from Avenue Q. We wanted to laugh at the truth as a conversation starter.

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That’s the future. Right now is no time for a joke.

What’s going on in our country is deadly, and dead serious. 

We love this song, but this is no time to relax.

The Dear Book Publishers series is a showcase of letters written by 5th graders from Dothan Brook School. These students were tasked with looking at the diversity in their school library’s picture book collection along with the race of children... High-res

The Dear Book Publishers series is a showcase of letters written by 5th graders from Dothan Brook School. These students were tasked with looking at the diversity in their school library’s picture book collection along with the race of children featured on Kindergarten Second Step cards. Reacting to what they had learned, the students wrote letters to book publishers, the Vermont Agency of Education, the school principal, and the district superintendent. During the month of August, CBC Diversity will showcase all of the letters created by the Dothan Brook School’s 5th grade class.

The Dear Book Publishers series is a showcase of letters written by 5th graders from Dothan Brook School. These students were tasked with looking at the diversity in their school library’s picture book collection along with the race of children featured on Kindergarten Second Step cards. Reacting to what they had learned, the students wrote letters to book publishers, the Vermont Agency of Education, the school principal, and the district superintendent. During the month of August, CBC Diversity will showcase all of the letters created by the Dothan Brook School’s 5th grade class.

The Dear Book Publishers series is a showcase of letters written by 5th graders from Dothan Brook School. These students were tasked with looking at the diversity in their school library’s picture book collection along with the race of children featured on Kindergarten Second Step cards. Reacting to what they had learned, the students wrote letters to book publishers, the Vermont Agency of Education, the school principal, and the district superintendent. During the month of August, CBC Diversity will showcase all of the letters created by the Dothan Brook School’s 5th grade class.

The Dear Book Publishers series is a showcase of letters written by 5th graders from Dothan Brook School. These students were tasked with looking at the diversity in their school library’s picture book collection along with the race of children featured on Kindergarten Second Step cards. Reacting to what they had learned, the students wrote letters to book publishers, the Vermont Agency of Education, the school principal, and the district superintendent. During the month of August, CBC Diversity will showcase all of the letters created by the Dothan Brook School’s 5th grade class.

The Dear Book Publishers series is a showcase of letters written by 5th graders from Dothan Brook School. These students were tasked with looking at the diversity in their school library’s picture book collection along with the race of children... High-res

The Dear Book Publishers series is a showcase of letters written by 5th graders from Dothan Brook School. These students were tasked with looking at the diversity in their school library’s picture book collection along with the race of children featured on Kindergarten Second Step cards. Reacting to what they had learned, the students wrote letters to book publishers, the Vermont Agency of Education, the school principal, and the district superintendent. During the month of August, CBC Diversity will showcase all of the letters created by the Dothan Brook School’s 5th grade class.

The Dear Book Publishers series is a showcase of letters written by 5th graders from Dothan Brook School. These students were tasked with looking at the diversity in their school library’s picture book collection along with the race of children... High-res

The Dear Book Publishers series is a showcase of letters written by 5th graders from Dothan Brook School. These students were tasked with looking at the diversity in their school library’s picture book collection along with the race of children featured on Kindergarten Second Step cards. Reacting to what they had learned, the students wrote letters to book publishers, the Vermont Agency of Education, the school principal, and the district superintendent. During the month of August, CBC Diversity will showcase all of the letters created by the Dothan Brook School’s 5th grade class.

The Dear Book Publishers series is a showcase of letters written by 5th graders from Dothan Brook School. These students were tasked with looking at the diversity in their school library’s picture book collection along with the race of children... High-res

The Dear Book Publishers series is a showcase of letters written by 5th graders from Dothan Brook School. These students were tasked with looking at the diversity in their school library’s picture book collection along with the race of children featured on Kindergarten Second Step cards. Reacting to what they had learned, the students wrote letters to book publishers, the Vermont Agency of Education, the school principal, and the district superintendent. During the month of August, CBC Diversity will showcase all of the letters created by the Dothan Brook School’s 5th grade class.

Are We Really Ready For Unstoppable Characters Of Color?

Contributed to CBC Diversity by Award-winning author Sharon G. Flake

I love this business.  I’ve been in it for over sixteen years.  I have written nine novels for young readers, most of which feature strong, straight-ahead African American girl protagonists.

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When my first novel, The Skin I’m In was published in 1997, it was hailed for the distinct voice and spot-on insight of its main character, Maleeka Madison, who is being bullied in the novel and confronted with issues of colorism. In Begging for Change, my main character Raspberry Hill is a girl who knows what she wants and needs and goes for it by using her wits as well as her entrepreneurial skills. In Pinned, my most recent novel, Autumn is a teenager who exhibits her strength as the team’s star wrestler, despite her struggles in school. Autumn is strong, bold, courageous and open-minded. I receive letters from kids who want to be just like Maleeka, Raspberry, and Autumn – kids who are outspoken, resilient, creative, and aspire to become strong women once they’re grown.

But it seems that smart, outspoken, straight-ahead African American girls in books are still frowned upon by gatekeepers and those who serve up books to kids. In my latest novel, Unstoppable Octobia May, which will publish this fall, ten-year-old Octobia is sent to live in her aunt Shuma’s boarding house where she is given the gift of freedom. Freedom to dream, imagine, explore, question and walk the planet whole and complete.

Read more

The Dear Book Publishers series is a showcase of letters written by 5th graders from Dothan Brook School. These students were tasked with looking at the diversity in their school library’s picture book collection along with the race of children... High-res

The Dear Book Publishers series is a showcase of letters written by 5th graders from Dothan Brook School. These students were tasked with looking at the diversity in their school library’s picture book collection along with the race of children featured on Kindergarten Second Step cards. Reacting to what they had learned, the students wrote letters to book publishers, the Vermont Agency of Education, the school principal, and the district superintendent. During the month of August, CBC Diversity will showcase all of the letters created by the Dothan Brook School’s 5th grade class.