May 09, 2014

5 & dime friday: the gadfly edition

Happy Friday, Peeps! Man - it's been awhile since we've been cushion-diving for change around here, so today we are going to be ALL over Teh Internets. Lest you feel sad that rummaging through your couch only produces stale chip crumbs, we assure you we've got plenty of chair-change to share - and social change, which is much preferable to the usual stuff found in the couch cushions.

So...pretty much we've all heard of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks Twitter campaign. It trended from the LA Times to The Guardian in the UK to the Huffington Post and points in between. It's gotten people talking:

  • The School Library Journal put together a helpful piece on everyday diversity, which everyone can use,
  • for Latin@s in Kidlit, blogger Patrick Flores-Scott wants wants change to be "an ongoing Movement,,"
  • Author Nicole Brinkley talks about how seeing is believing - in oneself.
  • The Cooperative Children's Book Center questions the idea of "culturally generic" books - ...generic from whose point of view?
  • All Hail Princess Kavya! Don't miss The Good Men Project talking about non-token diversity in kids' storytelling -- and introducing Cake Literary, a book-packaging group I'll be watching with interest...
  • ReedPop and BookCon, who kind of kicked off the whole thing have decided that the world, at least, agrees with us, even if they don't... The World Agrees: #WeNeedDiverseBooks is the name of the Saturday, May 31 from 10-11 a.m panel which includes Ellen Oh (the Prophecy series), Aisha Saeed (Written in the Stars, 2015), Marieke Nijkamp (DiversifYA founder), Lamar Giles (Fake ID), and Mike Jung (Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities), Jacqueline Woodson (Brown Girl Dreaming), Matt de la Peña (The Living), and Grace Lin (Where the Mountain Meets the Moon). The panel will be moderated by 2015 debut author I.W. Gregorio.


That last one was a little surprise.

Teen Librarian Toolbox speaks from the front lines of the "why we need diverse books" battle - Christie's story "will give you a little headache, and hopefully from that, a lot of determination.

The world of children's lit and all other literature continued to overlap for me last week Stephanie Saulter's guest post on SF Signal: Special Needs in Strange Worlds was a stupendous piece, of which my favorite part was this:

"I don’t want my characters to serve as symbols. I want them to feel like people. I want them to feel like you, and your family, and your friends, and your enemies. And I don’t want them to feel real ‘in spite of’ their challenges. I want those challenges to be part of what makes them real.

After all, they’re part of what makes us real.

Here’s the thing about fiction. It’s one of the ways we understand the world. We tell ourselves stories to work out who we are, and to make sense of reality. Stories are incredibly powerful – and incredibly dangerous. By making things up you can tell the truth; or you can create, perpetuate and reinforce a lie. Simplistic, tokenistic ‘uses’ of disability in fiction – as though it’s a thing to be ‘used’ and not an intrinsic facet of the human condition – are a way of not telling the truth. And by not telling ourselves the truth in our stories, we make it easier to avoid the truth in our daily lives.

The truth is, every one of us is differently abled. Every single one."
Click through to read the whole piece.

More overlap: Brain Pickings' ADORABLE vintage kidlit book. Four words: AfAm Female Astronaut. Eric Barker on how story shapes our lives, Rhonda Helms talking about how it was to write FLIRT: The Story of Us from the point of view of a person of color, Lisa Yee's Rambling Rant on Race and Writing" ("I am not an Asian author. I am an author who is Asian. There is a difference.") and Betsy's call for more Spacegirls named Zita. Betsy's piece reminded me that indeed, our "little grey cells," as Poirot called them are gray, not gendered so gender equality in children's books is definitely part of diversity, too.

Yessssssssssssss! Finally, here she is, ladies and gents, the first African American central character in a 3D movie, courtesy of Adam Rex's THE TRUE MEANING OF SMEKDAY. Tip will be voiced by ...(wince) Rihanna. Well. Anyway, it was an excellent book, and despite my solid belief that movies ruin every children's lit book (with VERY few exceptions), Dreamworks usually does well, and there's potential there.

Proving that a picture book can be written on ANYTHING: Jules' review of Brother Hugo and the Bear at Kirkus made me smile. Lent, monks and picture books! As always, Eerdman’s Books is very original. Oh - and here's a late National Poetry Month link I forgot to share -- did you know that Emily Dickinson has a Twitter account? No? Joining Langston Hughes, ee cummings, Robert Frost, and a whole host of others, here's Twitter giving you a daily dose of poetry all year 'round. Dude, even Shakespeare has Twitter now, proving to me once again that I am SO behind the ball.

There are sixteen days left of the Indiegogo campaign I mentioned a couple of weeks ago for the ALTERED PERCEPTIONS anthology in support of Robison Wells. The YA lit community has raised $56,000 of the $110,000 goal. If you've not ordered a book, there's still time, and there are still a variety of ways to be involved and help. Thanks!

Finally, with a hat tip to BookRiot, this song is a Jama-jam, because it's about Her Man Colin Firth. Kinda. Presenting...The Doubleclicks:

♥Happy Weekend, all!♥

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