April 01, 2009

Fresh & Bold Talks on Race in Children's Lit

"If labels aren’t used, but you know a character is nonwhite, ask yourself and your students how the author communicated that fact. Check for tired food-related clichés about “coffee-colored” skin or “almond-shaped” eyes versus fresh, bold attempts to delineate race and culture in a story."


Mitali's talking race and writing at the School Library Journal. (Please: click the link! Read the whole piece!) This article is a refreshed and updated culmination of the many brilliant conversations Mitali starts on her "fire escape," as readers and thinkers gather to talk about interactions between cultures. I'm proud as can be that the SLJ ghosted by her blog and picked up on the thought-provoking, intelligent discourse Mitali brings to the kidlitosphere. I have often wished that I had her eloquence and wit, and her ability to ask good questions. Here's to all of us finding a fresh boldness as we write across cultures in our own ways.


Happy National Poetry Month! And today, kick off April with Unnecessary Children's Book Sequels That Never Were with the notably insane Minh from Bottom Shelf Books and Saintly Spinner Farida. Garrulous MacKenzie is baaaack...

5 comments:

Ethel Rohan said...

An important post, well done. Hello! You do have wit and courage, and you do ask great questions and generate wonderful discussions, and your blog is fantastic. Keep up the great work.

Saints and Spinners said...

So much to read! And so much work to do. Thanks for mentioning the contest. I'm enjoying reading what people are sending in through the comments and email. It seems as if folks are just getting warmed up, too.

adrienne said...

Thanks for posting the link to Mitali's essay. It was really thought-provoking, and it would have been months before I got around to seeing the paper copy. (I have a stack of journals in my office THIS HIGH.)

Sara said...

I read it via the link she shared on Facebook. I was very impressed by her honesty and helpfulness.

a. fortis said...

Yes! I finally got a few minutes free to read it yesterday and it was very thoughtfully written--I loved seeing her ideas on how to discuss various books/issues in the classroom. There was a lot to think about, as someone who also struggles with how to depict race/ethnicity in my novels. Generally I have a diverse cast of characters because my stories are usually set in suburban California and reflect what I grew up with--but it's an interesting challenge to show diversity in a way that's meaningful but not gratuitous...