children's lit

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Attanya: #WeNeedDiverseBooks because I love science fiction and fantasy books, but I’m tired of authors treating dragons and robots and magic as more plausible than black and brown characters

Jennifer: #WeNeedDiverseBooks because… when I was 13 a white girl told me it was selfishthat all of the protagonists in my stories were Latina because she “just can’t relate to nonwhite characters.” She made me feel guilty for writing about people like me. 

Aiesha: #WeNeedDiverseBooks because…Black Girls are more than sidekicks or “sassy, ghetto friend”

Facts and Figures About Race/Ethnicity in YA and Children’s Lit:

#WENEEDDIVERSEBOOKS

Posting this a little late, but followers please take the time out to check out this post explaining the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign and more events to come over the next few days! 

Critics who treat adult as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.
— 

C.S. Lewis, “On Three Ways of Writing for Children,” 1952

(via the comments section of TNR’s excellent response to The Slate Article That Shall Not Be Linked To.)

Every time Harry Potter is called a children’s series, I get this extreme twinge of anger. Nothing about the series seemed childish to me. The themes are profound and dark, and the content often times too severe for kids. I don’t even need to prove it, Harry Potter has already proven itself a dark story. I just don’t get, given how blatantly grim the story is, why it’s patronized so brutally by so many people. At least categorize it as Young Adult.

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The news just broke… Walter Dean Myers has passed. In his lifetime, he wrote over 100 books, served as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, won too many awards and honors to list, advised and inspired kids and young writers everywhere, and impacted thousands of lives. He was a lifelong proponent of diversity in children’s literature, and just a few months ago wrote an article that once again sparked the discussion.

Rest well, sir. You will be remembered always.

Beyond this, words fail me.

Because I’m a woman, because some of my books have pictures of girls on the cover, because some of my books have ‘princess’ in the title, I’m stamped as 'for girls only.’ However, the male writers who have boys on their covers speak to the entire school.
— 

Princess Academy: The Forgotten Sisters author Shannon Hale, who was told by a grade school she’d only be speaking to girls.

Her now-viral response exposes the double standard in kids’ books we need to leave behind

Home is in my hair, my lips, my arms, my thighs, my feet and my hands. I am my own home. And when I wake up crying in the morning, thinking of how lonely I am, I pinch my skin, tug at my hair, remind myself that I am alive. Remind myself to step outside and greet the morning. Remind myself that it’s all about forward motion. It’s all about change. It’s all about that elusive state.
Freedom.
—  Diriye Osman, Fairytales for Lost Children