Tag Archives: books

The disproportionally white publishing industry matters because agents and editors stand between writers and readers. Anika Noni Rose put it perfectly in Vanity Fair this month: “There are so many writers of color out there, and often what they get when they bring their books to their editors, they say, ‘We don’t relate to the character.’ Well it’s not for you to relate to! And why can’t you expand yourself so you can relate to the humanity of a character as opposed to the color of what they are?”

Diversity Is Not Enough: Race, Power, Publishing

(via queering the game of life)

We writers – and especially writers for children, but all writers – have an obligation to our readers: it’s the obligation to write true things, especially important when we are creating tales of people who do not exist in places that never were – to understand that truth is not in what happens but what it tells us about who we are. Fiction is the lie that tells the truth, after all. We have an obligation not to bore our readers, but to make them need to turn the pages. One of the best cures for a reluctant reader, after all, is a tale they cannot stop themselves from reading. And while we must tell our readers true things and give them weapons and give them armour and pass on whatever wisdom we have gleaned from our short stay on this green world, we have an obligation not to preach, not to lecture, not to force predigested morals and messages down our readers’ throats like adult birds feeding their babies pre-masticated maggots; and we have an obligation never, ever, under any circumstances, to write anything for children that we would not want to read ourselves.

We have an obligation to understand and to acknowledge that as writers for children we are doing important work, because if we mess it up and write dull books that turn children away from reading and from books, we ‘ve lessened our own future and diminished theirs.

We all – adults and children, writers and readers – have an obligation to daydream. We have an obligation to imagine. It is easy to pretend that nobody can change anything, that we are in a world in which society is huge and the individual is less than nothing: an atom in a wall, a grain of rice in a rice field. But the truth is, individuals change their world over and over, individuals make the future, and they do it by imagining that things can be different.

Neil Gaiman, Why our future depends on libraries, reading, and daydreaming

(via the dopest ethiopienne)

It was hard to feel the right emotions at the right times. They didn’t come at all when you set a place for them, and they sacked when you weren’t ready, when you were just innocently flossing your teeth, for example, or eating a bowl of cereal.

Ann Brashares, The Last Summer (Of You and Me)

(via solo amor)

I read this book when I was a tween. #stillrelevant

There are pleasures to be had from books beyond being lightly entertained. There is the pleasure of being challenged; the pleasure of feeling one’s range and capacities expanding; the pleasure of entering into an unfamiliar world, and being lead into empathy with a consciousness very different from one’s own; the pleasure of knowing what others have already thought it worth knowing, and entering a larger conversation.

Rebecca Mead on the pleasures of reading to impress yourself

(via KEW)

If we understand that children often form the basis of countless social skills through what they read — abilities to empathize, to imagine others’ complex inner worlds, and to problem solve — what are we doing by denying Black children literary representation of themselves coming to grips with the world around them? Black children, like all humans trying to navigate a world that presents more questions than answers, need blueprints. To move through the various obstacles that will inevitably litter their paths in a world that systematically devalues Blackness, Black children need examples of what it might look like to navigate uncharted waters and succeed.

Hannah Giorgis at The Frisky, THE SOAPBOX: BLACK NERDS, ESCAPISM, & WHY WE NEED MORE DIVERSE BOOKS

(via the dopest ethiopienne)

Books transmit values. They explore our common humanity. What is the message when some children are not represented in those books? Where are the future white personnel managers going to get their ideas of people of color? Where are the future white loan officers and future white politicians going to get their knowledge of people of color? Where are black children going to get a sense of who they are and what they can be?

And what are the books that are being published about blacks? Joe Morton, the actor who starred in “The Brother From Another Planet,” has said that all but a few motion pictures being made about blacks are about blacks as victims. In them, we are always struggling to overcome either slavery or racism. Book publishing is little better. Black history is usually depicted as folklore about slavery, and then a fast-forward to the civil rights movement. Then I’m told that black children, and boys in particular, don’t read. Small wonder.

There is work to be done.

Walter Dean Myers, “Where Are the People of Color in Children’s Books?” (New York Times)