Cute photo for a serious matter.
After BookCon, a major NY event for readers, listed their author’s lineup: 31 white males with one cat (Grumpy Cat), an article “Readers Deserve Better Than BookCon,” made the headlines.
The article inspired a grassroots effort, #WeNeedDiverseBooks (#WNDB), to call attention to the continuing lack of diversity in children’s and young adult literature. I can identify with this effort.
Nothing I read in my first 18 years, and I was/am a prolific reader, reflected my own experiences, setting, or ethnicity. I found a couple when I was in college but those were Mexican or South American authors, all male.
A few years later, I discovered Sandra Cisneros, and everything changed for me. That’s when I believed that my experiences had value and that they mattered.
The #WNDB campaign, initiated by a group of 22 authors, bloggers, and publisher Lew and Low, hoped to “raise [their] voices into a roar that can’t be ignored”. The NY Times, CNN, Guardian, Huffington Post, among others, picked up this issue.
The social media campaign was launched on May 1-3, 2014. On Thursday, the campaigners set up the Tumblr We Need Diverse Books website – asking readers to take a photo holding a sign that says “We need diverse books because … ”
There are some thought provoking, inspiring, words from kids to adults.
On Friday, a Twitter chat about the issue and why it matters using the hashtag #WeNeedDiverseBooks stimulated lots of conversation.
There were over 107,000 tweets and retweets during the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign.
On Saturday, the “Diversify Your Shelves initiative encouraged people to buy diverse books and take photos of them.
Today, Patrick Flores-Scott, author and public school teacher, wrote, “Let’s All Make the #WeNeedDIverseBooks An Ongoing Movement.” His suggestions,
“Members of The Movement need to request diverse books at their bookstores and libraries… post reviews on Amazon and Goodreads and library websites…advise book bloggers and to follow and support blogs like this one. We need to give diverse books as birthday presents and to talk about our favorites on the bus, at work, in line at the bookstore…”
He makes several good points that anyone can take to enrich our life and those we care about.
The biggest reason we need to continue the #WNDB campaign is to change these statistics:
And to make this happen:
Finally, we need to cultivate globally knowledgeable, compassionate, literary children and adults.
For a great list of children and YA books, go to independent publisher, Lew and Low’s book list.
#WeNeedDiverseBooks facts and figures are compiled here.