…because there are a whole lot of great interviews and features out there! Stop by The Brown Bookshelf to read Kekla Magoon‘s insights on compelling historical fiction. Then head over to Bookslut and read Colleen Mondor’s comprehensive consideration of the lack of diversity in children’s literature.
I have been trying for days to write an article about the lack of diversity in middle grade and young adult fiction and found myself confounded at every turn. This has been a very intense subject lately in the literary blogosphere, as readers have bounced from one discussion to another on issues of race, religion and ethnicity. From the meanderings at the School Library Journal Heavy Medal blog about the inclusion of a dark-skinned secondary character in Rebecca Stead’s Newbery-winning When You Reach Me, to multiple discoveries of covers that depict light-skinned characters who are described as dark-skinned within the text, and the depressing realization of just how few titles were nominated for the Cybils with Kids of Color, race overshadowed even the ALA award announcements. The cover issue, a very visual representation of what is wrong in publishing, brought into question just how much control authors have over the presentation of their stories, and in particular continues to be a sore spot among many readers and writers.
Then learn about the efforts of black British writer Courttia Newland to confront exclusion from the mainstream publishing industry in the UK:
In America writing by writers of African American descent results in profit and film deals. I thought of course it’s happening here (in Britain) but we all know why it won’t happen here. I am a bit outraged that it hasn’t happened yet and I will challenge that. It’s about people actually feeling like they want to do something about it. We have not reached that stage yet where people can forget about where writers have come from. People are not getting publishing deals or jobs in the industry due to merit, they’re getting it because of contacts and who they know and you have to come from a certain place. The whole deal with Tell Tales is to try and break that. We have to keep saying that here it what can be done if you have the tenacity or the will power to do it. The only way we’re going to do that is by being published and going into these spaces and showing people a different world.