This post would have been up hours ago if I hadn’t been having Internet issues. Service just shouldn’t be so intermittent in one’s own home. I’m just sayin’
This may have been my last visit to the garden. I was surprised with a head of cabbage that I missed in previous visits and green peppers that just began to grow. I run through the photos on my phone and I’m just amazed at the growth that has taken place. This time, I didn’t even think to take any pictures. Growth happens whether we’re watching or not.
In recent years, there have been amazing blog posts that contain research relating to various facets of diversity in YA lit. Do publishers look at them? Are their decisions impacted at all by the data that is collected and analyzed? I work in a world that frowns on blogs and the information they relate as if it is all bogus forms of cheap entertainment. Knowing that, part of me wishes some of these research posts were submitted to journals, but I am so glad the information is made accessible to readers, authors, editors and publishers. Information is power. I think more impactful than where these reports are posted will be the replicated efforts that better document trends and hopefully change in the industry.
Can we try to collect these reports? Please leave a link to others in the comments.
I know there’s more! I’m sure Debbie Reese has collected figures, but I haven’t found anything…yet. Are there numbers on Latinos? Asians?
This 2008 article references a Brigham Young Study I’ll trying get a hold of this week.
The Brigham Young study analyzed the race, gender and family background of human characters in 82 Newbery-winning books through 2007. The analysis compared three periods, starting with 1922 through 1950, followed by the era in which the Civil Rights Movement gained momentum, 1951 through 1979, and concluding with the 1980 through 2007 period.
Black and Hispanic protagonists became scarcer during the past 27 years. American Indian and Asian main characters increased in number — to two each.
Latino protagonists disappeared from 1980 through 2007 and black ones fell to two from a high of five between 1951 and 1979, the study found. White main characters rose to 19 from 18 in the same period.
The last book with a Hispanic protagonist to win a Newbery Medal was “Shadow of a Bull,” by Maia Wojciechowska, in 1965. The book dealt with a young Spanish boy’s struggle to follow in the footsteps of his slain bullfighter father.
Books by authors of color and with characters of color aren’t written just for people of color. (Corollary: Books by white people aren’t written just for white people.) So, POC books and authors fight the good fight and show up anywhere and everywhere that readers can be found such as at book signings, local library events and conferences. Readers of color have to show up to.
Think about it.
If publishers and editors don’t see us at conferences and signings, their notions that we don’t read or buy books will only be re-enforced. Show up to these events, inquire about your favorite author of color. I say this out loud to remind myself why I’m going to ALAN this year and why I’m especially thankful that author Lyn Miller-Lachmann proposed a panel with her, myself, Kekla Magoon and Rene Saldana Jr. I think I saw names of three other authors of color in the program. So disappointing! I really hope to see more people of color than that in the audience.
If you’re a librarian looking for ways to get involved in ALA and make a difference, this information is for you.
Committees with openings:
- 2015 Midwinter Marketing & Local Arrangements Taskforce
- 2015 Midwinter Trends in YA Presentation Planning Taskforce
- Alex Award
- Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults
- Awards Nominating Committee
- Best Fiction for Young Adults
- Governance Nominating Committee
- Great Graphic Novels for Teens
- Morris Award
- Odyssey Award
- *Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults
- Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers
and the Committee Volunteer Form (which requires you to sign in):
YALSA has dozens of ways for its members and supporters to get involved, including many options for virtual participation. Whether you choose to volunteer to gain additional leadership opportunities, build your resume, increase exposure in the association or library community, or give back to the profession, YALSA relies on you to help support the association and make a positive difference in serving teens through libraries.
Whichever way you choose to get involved, we are committed to providing you with a meaningful experience. If you have any questions, or would like additional information, we’re happy to help! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 1-800-545-2433, ext. 4390.
And yes, dammit! There are malls in Kenya! And paved roads, car dealerships, universities, banks and yes, even book publishers! I remember when The Cold War between the US, Russia and China played out in Africa and now it’s this ‘war’ between… who is this between? Who are the players? These extremists in the East and in the West? It’s playing out all over Africa, from Mali to Kenya and to Somalia. Great people to follow from various locations across the continent to keep you aware of mostly literary and a few political occurences.
I’m thinking about mooncakes and Moon Festival while my friends in Taiwan are just getting over a massive typhoon.
Bless the people of Kenya who are mourning and grieving. Bless the people of Taiwan who should be celebrating the autumn moon festival but are suffering from a massive typhoon. Even from these tragedies, there will eventually be growth; god willing!