The relationships between this month’s readers and the authors they chose to celebrate has been interesting, hasn’t it? While many took the opportunity to celebrate books that are near and dear to their heart. Librarians Sam Bloom and Alia Jones had such a difficult time narrowing their selections because they are anti-racists who read far outside their own experiences. Others have chosen books by people who are dear to them. I really enjoyed watching Andrew Karre share from Malindo Lo’s work, to consider how well he knows the book and the author and to see him read it with almost the same excitement Malinda would have. It was a pleasure to see how quickly Andrew, a white male editor, signed up for the opportunity to celebrate Malinda, lesbian Asian American writer.
Nadia Hohn had such pride in reading from SK Ali’s work, partially because they’re both Canadian. Nadia spoke as if the two are friends, as does Carole Lindstrom when she introduces us to Debbi Michiko Florence’s work. Should it even have to be noticed that two women from diverse backgrounds can be friends?
Yes, after a day like yesterday I need to see these friendships, these doses of anti-racism so that I can breathe. So that my Asian American and Pacific Island friends can breath easy. Let’s not just breathe. Let’s read and know each other’s stories. Buy a book written by someone who doesn’t look like you. Read it. Be anti-racist.
Keep It Together, Keiko Carter by Debbi Michiko Florence (Scholastic, May 2020)
Debbi Michiko Florence is a third-generation Japanese American, born and raised in
California who now lives in Connecticut with her husband, rescue dog, bunny, and duck. Keep It Together, Keiko Carter is her debut middle grade book. A former classroom teacher and zoo educator, Debbi has spoken on panels at the National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention, the Decatur Book Festival, and the Brooklyn Book Festival; taught workshops at the Jackson Hole Writers Young Authors Writing Camp, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and other conferences; and presented at numerous schools and libraries. She is on the faculty of The Highlights Foundation.
Carole Lindstrom is Anishinabe/Metis and is tribally enrolled with the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe. She was born and raised in Nebraska and currently makes her home in Maryland. Carole has been a voracious reader and library geek ever since she was growing up in Nebraska. Girls Dance, Boys Fiddle (Pemmican Publishers, 2013), was inspired by the fiddle and its importance to her Anishinabe/Metis culture. We Are Water Protectors, (Roaring Brook Press, 2020), a picture book inspired by Standing Rock, and all Indigenous Peoples fighting for clean water.