October 15, 2017

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Authors Pen Letter of Support to NC Youth

LGBTQ_signatories_web_lrgA law affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in North Carolina has spurred 269 authors and illustrators of children’s literature to write an open letter to young readers in the state.

The document is in response to the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, a law directing all public schools, government agencies, and public college campuses to require that multiple-occupancy bathrooms and changing facilities be designated for use only by people based on their “biological sex” stated on their birth certificate.

The letter was crafted by authors Phil Bildner, C. Alexander London, Meg Medina, and R.J. Palacio. Among the signatories are Laurie Halse Anderson,  Katherine Applegate, Jay Asher, Chris Crutcher, Matt de la Peña, Jack Gantos, Rita Williams Garcia, John Green, Ellen Hopkins, Jeff Kinney, David Levithan, Patrick Ness, Jason Reynolds, Rick Riordan, and Jacqueline Woodson.

The letter, a portion of which appears below, and complete list of signatories is being formally released by School Library Journal.

As artists, we strive to create books that promote acceptance of all people regardless of race, religion, or gender identity. We will continue to do so; however, we cannot and will not support a state government that promotes discrimination. Each one of us will have to consider our participation in conferences and festivals in North Carolina while this law is in place. But you have our word that we will never abandon our thousands and thousands of readers in North Carolina. We stand with those who share our guiding principles and fundamental beliefs of equality, inclusion, and fair treatment. Thus, we will continue to visit your schools and libraries. We will spread kindness and inspire compassion and hope, as we believe books, in their best moments, always have and always will.

Palacio, author of Wonder (Knopf, 2012), was the impetus. “I generally avoid talking about politics publicly, but this legislation isn’t about politics. It’s about human rights. If one person’s human rights are violated, every human’s rights are violated,” she said. She reached out to Medina and Bildner, who in turn contacted London. “Whenever we visit schools, we often find ourselves talking about kindness and empathy. It was time to walk the talk,” said picture book and middle grade author Bildner.

“The authors who’ve signed our open letter are not a corporation. We’re not part of a union. We don’t all work together….All we are is a small group of people who write books for a large number of children,” Palacio told SLJCorporate boycotts in North Carolina have been part of the reaction to the law.

London, author of the “Accidental Adventures” series, wanted to make sure his readers know their lives are not invisible. Medina, who is active in the We Need Diverse Books movement, sees the letter as “confirmation that our children’s book community is filled with people who genuinely care about and advocate for young people.”

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Rocco Staino About Rocco Staino

Rocco Staino @RoccoA is the retired director of the Keefe Library of the North Salem School District in New York. He is now a contributing editor for School Library Journal and also writes for the Huffington Post.

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Comments

  1. Would happily add my name — in unity & agreement. Amy G koss

  2. I would love to add my name as well. Please let me know if I can do so. We must stand together and protect one another.

  3. Yes. I support this statement completely, and would sign without hesitation. We stand with you, North Carolina readers. Always.

  4. As a citizen of North Carolina and the author of books for children I stand with you.

    • I believe there is a North Carolina letter in the works from some of the folks at WINC (Writers and Illustrators of North Carolina).

  5. I would happily add my name to this letter. LGBT youth deserve our support and encouragement.

  6. I support this without reservation. We have so many real problems, and yet our politicians are targeting the vulnerable and solving problems that don’t exist in order to win political points.

  7. I’d happily add my name. Well done!

  8. Love is all you need.

  9. I stand with you and would happily sign this letter.

  10. Bravo! Happy to add my name as well.

  11. I would be heartened to include my name among the signatories. Thank you so much for this.

  12. I’d like to add my name too.

  13. As an author of young adult books and a transplant from NC, I would love to sign this letter.

  14. Lindsey Lane says:

    Signed in spirit.

  15. Marloes N says:

    I absolutely agree with this letter. Add me to the list!!!

  16. I agree and add my support.

  17. sally suehler says:

    As a writer, mom, grandma, wife, and friend, I would be honored to be added to this list. We must uphold all rights, of all people.

  18. Yes! Is it possible to sign on to this letter? This law is a travesty.

  19. Yup, add me! I live right here in NC and oppose HB2 with the heat of a thousand suns.

  20. Susan B says:

    As a mother and grandmother, I support your ideas and will do anything to help

  21. Crickett Rumley says:

    I am a young adult author from Washington, North Carolina, and I completely endorse this letter.

  22. Would love to add my name to the list. I’m confused by the craziness that is now North Carolina.

  23. I fully support this as well and would love to add my name. Many thanks to those who put this together!

  24. Would love to add my name.

  25. Erin Ringrose says:

    As an NC reader, mom, and former teacher and librarian, thank you so much! Our young people need to hear these words ring loud and clear.

  26. Signing in spirit, as well.

  27. If the signatories are updated, please add my name in ink/pixels. I’m adding my name here, with my thoughts and beliefs, in my heart and in my actions.