Well, I might have just cried a little bit at the video below.
There are a lot of good and important causes out there, but I can’t think of many nearer and dearer to my heart than the We Need Diverse Books campaign.
What began as a social media uproar due to the lack of diversity in a major publishing conference’s lineup, has morphed into a full-fledged movement for change. Major media outlets (School Library Journal), big name authors (Jacqueline Woodson, Matt de la Peña, Grace Lin, to name a few), established nonprofit First Book and publishing houses are partnering to put real effort to the idea. No longer is it an amorphous “I’ll-tweet-about-it-because-I-care-but-hey-it -won’t-really-change-anything” feeling.
Now there is a partnership with First Book to get diverse books into classrooms; now there is the Walter Dean Meyer Grant and Award program to recognize excellence in diverse books; now there are toolkits teachers and librarians can access to help promote diverse books in schools. There is a famous and sometimes overly-used quote by Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Right now, in front of me, this is happening.
THINGS ARE HAPPENING. Things are happening because writers and readers called BS on a homogenous and unrepresentative book panel, and instead of just complaining about it they decided to change things.
So they need some money (not surprisingly). If any of you were feeling really bad that you didn’t get me a birthday present, feel free to wander over to the We Need Diverse Books fundraising campaign and drop a Ben Franklin, and Andrew Jackson, or whoever the heck is on the other bills. You couldn’t invest in a better cause. (And you can be off the hook for any Xmas/Chanukah present you were thinking of getting me too).
P.S. If you don’t think I know what I’m talking about, you may want to hear what this guy John Green has to say. He know a little bit about writing for teens.