March 08, 2011

@ the Reading Tub for Share a Story, Shape a Future

Usually I'm really bad about being part of blog carnivals and the like, but I've really loved the idea of Share a Story, Shape a Future, despite it seeming to be more for the wee readers than YA. Well, I was asked, by Terry Doherty of The Reading Tub to be more than a lurker this year, and took part in a round table discussion with Terry, author Mitali Perkins, and Hannah Ehrlich of Lee and Low Books. Mitali always speaks so passionately and convincingly about issues for children of different cultures, but it was a real joy to get to chat with Hannah -- she has a new word for us to replace the shopworn "multicultural" -- diverse. Yeah, it seems an OBVIOUS one, but seriously, it works.

"To me the word diverse is just a little more inclusive: it encompasses race, culture, religion, class, etc. And I think it has a less academic tinge to it. Sometimes I see the word multicultural turning people off because the word implies that a book is an issues book, or that it should be used during Black History Month or something instead of when you’re just curled up on the couch reading for fun."

This paralleled in my brain with the latest piece on Diversity in YA -- author Cris Beam pitched I am J to her editor and had the editor complain that the transgender character had too many "issues." Being Puerto Rican was one of the issues.

Oh, dear God, may we someday get to the place where all of who we are is NOT SEEN ONLY AS A PROBLEM FOR SOMEONE ELSE.

/ranty prayer


Please do come by and see what we're chatting about, read my longwinded responses (thank you, Terry, for editing me), and add your voice @ The Reading Tub.


Anonymous said...

Tanita, the thanks is all mine ... and you did a far better job editing me than the reverse!

Thank you also for pointing out that we need to do a far better job of reaching the *ahem* older audience!!

aquafortis said...

"may we someday get to the place where all of who we are is NOT SEEN ONLY AS A PROBLEM FOR SOMEONE ELSE."


And, yay, Tanita for participating in the roundtable! I'm going to take a look right now.