ya lit meme: ten series or books (5/10)
the selection by kiera cass

my dearest america,
i’ve never written a love letter, so forgive me if i fail now.
[…] i wish i was as true an artist as you so that i could find a way to tell you what you’ve become to me. america, my love, you are sunlight falling through trees. you are laughter that breaks through sadness. you are the breeze on a too-warm day. you are clarity in the midst of confusion.
you are not the world, but you are everything that makes the world good.
without you, my life would still exist, but that’s all it would manage to do. […]
i love you, america.
yours forever, maxon

First, and frankly, I find the position “because we don’t have X readers in my library, we don’t need X books” to be racist. This position implies that we as selectors view diverse books as inherently less-than. If we argue that only black youth will want to read about black youth, we are really saying that the experiences of black youth have no relevance or meaning to youth of any other race. We are saying that the experiences of the youth in the books we do buy have broader relevance and resonance. That is the very definition of otherizing and making a particular perspective, experience, or group less-than.

The position that “because we don’t have X readers in my library, we don’t need X books” also denotes a fundamental lack of respect for the children we are supposed to be serving. It suggests that we think our young readers cannot handle, relate to, or be expected to understand an experience that does not mirror their own. Not collecting—and collecting but not promoting—titles with diverse protagonists projects the selector’s own bias onto the reader instead of letting readers freely encounter stories and information.