Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Diversity in Literature

We Need Diverse Books.

A simple statement for a basic requirement.

Growing up, I didn't put much thought into whether I saw myself in books or not. As a young, white girl, I saw representations of me left and right. I read whatever books I could get my hands on, but most of them featured white protagonists. I never gave it much thought.

Going through high school and college, I started to notice books that didn't feature white characters. When I interacted with characters who were "different" I would get excited. It was new (to me) and a fascinating shift from my normal.

For the last few years, I have become more aware of the lack of diversity in media of every kind. I now know all of the positive changes that come from featuring diverse characters. I find myself judging books for not having diverse characters. I like books less when there's only white characters. I judge every piece of media I encounter by a new set of standards.

I'm still learning. This isn't something I can wake up and go, okay I'm fully done with this now. I don't have to worry about saying non-inclusive things. That'll never happen. But now I try to pay attention to the world around me. I try to feature and emphasize books that are about readers of every facet of life.

What's your favorite diverse book? Put it in the comments!

Youth Media Awards

I'm so excited!

It's my very favorite time of the year.

Most people might think I mean a holiday, but very few people observe this particular date. Every year, the Youth Media Awards are given out. Yesterday, February 2nd, was this year's day. And every year, I get thrilled to see books I've read and loved represented, and I get excited to see books on the lists which I, somehow, hadn't heard of.

This year, there was a little bit of both. (Here are the full lists.)

My very favorite book from last year, Jandy Nelson's I'll Give You the Sun won both the Michael L. Printz award and a Stonewall honor. I'm so excited for such a great book.

But I missed The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley and You Are (Not) Small by Anna Kang and illustrated by Christopher Weyant.

Unfortunately, only so many awards can be given, so a few of my favorites got snubbed.

Any books that you thought should have made the cut? Comment!