Books, Writing

Continue #WeNeedDiverseBooks Campaign

 

Cute photo for a serious matter.

www.navdeepsinghdhillon.com
http://www.navdeepsinghdhillon.com

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. 

Father and child-Minorities are more than stereotypes #WNDB
Father and child-Minorities are more than stereotypes #WNDB

inhabit the soul

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:

Multicultural, Diverse Books, Stories, #WNDB
Multicultural, Diverse Books, Stories, #WNDB

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. 

 

 

Books, Latino Literature, Parenting

10 Reasons for Kids To Read Multicultural Books

Reading the World
Reading the World

Now that Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Book Friday is over I can get back to the Multicultural Middle Grade and YA books I promised to list (just in time for Cyber Monday).

But first, let’s discuss the term Multicultural Literature.

A single book can be a mirror for some readers and a window for others”
—Rudine Sims Bishop, Ginny Moore Kruse

MC Lit is written by and about people of color. MC books are not only for “minorities” but for all people. The value you receive, or give, when buying MC books are many. 

  1. MC Lit reflects the diversity that already exists in society and your community.
  2. Presents people of different ethnicities which provides a more realistic picture to a child or teen.
  3. Readers gain an understanding of other cultures which enhance our interactions with others and can help kids develop empathy towards their peers.
  4. MC Lit opens the world to others by stimulating conversations about traditions, heritage, food and language. One of my favorites in this area is Gary Soto’s holiday classic :

    Too Many Tamales
    Too Many Tamales.
  5. Stories with a cultural backdrop (especially Picture Books) often use words in other languages with an English equivalent
  6. MC Lit can heighten a child’s global awareness especially when the books include historical or geographic details. 
  7. When kids grow up exposed to diverse cultures, people, and places they become more open to exploring.
  8. MC Lit can take us on global trips which enrich our experiences and understanding.
  9. Educator  Jaclyn DeForge, M.S states:
  • Students should have the opportunity to be exposed to both classic and contemporary literature as well as  nonfiction texts.
  • All students should have the opportunity to see themselves reflected back, as well as to be exposed to cultures and experiences that may differ from their own, in the literature and nonfiction texts we study.
  1. 10. For children from mainstream culture, multicultural books assist in teaching understanding which leads to cultural sensitivity. For children who are culturally diverse, the use of multicultural books assists in building a positive self-concept.

MC Books Every Teen Should Know” comes from the School of Education-University of Wisconsin.

Lee and Low (formerly Children’s Book Press) is dedicated to multicultural literature for kids and teens.

For award winning books on African American, American Indian, Middle Eastern literature please see this list.

Happy shopping.

 

A book is a gift you can open again and again-Garrison Keillor