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February 13, 2016

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Larry Romans, Hero of LGBTQ Literature for Young People, Dies at 68

Larry Romans. LIbrary. Photo by Joe Howell

Larry Romans, beloved as a staunch advocate for quality books for young people relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender experience, passed away on January 28, 2016 after a battle with cancer.

You Don’t Show the Sweet Without the Bitter | Up for Debate

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I understand small moments of joy on a page, like a slave receiving a Christmas present, because I can place those stories into a broad landscape and see them as the exception, not the norm. You have to earn hopeful stories about horrifying events, and you can only see what hope means if the horrors lurking nearby are visible

We Will Continue to Raise Our Voices: Survival, Slavery, Censorship | Up for Debate

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This ‘shocking and unprecedented case of self-censorship’ was, in fact, an editorial decision. The publishing industry makes thousands of them every day. They happen in response to many factors, including outside pressure, personal bias, and money. This decision happened after many voices were raised opposing the book, led by Black Lives Matter activist Leslie Mac.

So People Disagree. Is This a Problem? | Up for Debate

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Withdrawing a book from circulation—which makes it disappear as effectively as burning—is a dangerous course. The book is gone. By the same logic, other books will also disappear, or never be written. But there’s another compelling cause for concern: Censorship often works against those who are the most marginalized—historically, women, minorities, and dissidents.

LeVar Burton Launches Skybrary School

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LeVar Burton has launched Skybrary School, a web-based library and supplemental reading service. The executive producer of Reading Rainbow, Burton talked to SLJ about diverse books and more.

National Book Foundation Launches BookUp LGBTQ

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The National Book Foundation, best known for its National Book Awards, will expand its BookUp program for teens on February 5, by creating its first after-school reading club for LGBTQ teens.

Sailing Through Time: Heidi Heilig on Her YA Debut, “The Girl from Everywhere”

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Heidi Heilig shares what inspired her to write The Girl from Everywhere, her thoughts on diversity, and how she juggles between writing YA fiction and theater musicals.

Celebrating African American History

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Through compelling stories, dynamic texts, and striking artwork, this selection of recently published picture books highlights trailblazing African Americans.

Support Pours In for 11-Year-Old Girl Gathering 1,000 Books with Black Girl Protagonists

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Tired of reading assigned books about “white boys and dogs,” 11-year-old Marley Dias decided to collect 1,000 books with protagonists who are black girls and send them to Jamaica. The hashtag #1000BlackGirlBooks has spread the word and spurred donations.

Book Publishing—from Executives to Reviewers—Is White and Female, Survey Finds

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Nearly 80 percent of publishing and review journal staff is white, according to the 2015 “Diversity Baseline Survey.” The under-representation of African Americans in the book industry mirrors a trend among children’s book authors, says survey creator Jason Low.

2016 Book Awards Roundup: APALA, Amelia Bloomer Project, and Other Non-YMA Awards

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SLJ curates a list of non-Youth Media Awards that were recently announced in the children’s and young adult literature world, including the National Jewish Award, South Asia Book Award, Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature, and more.

Celebrating African Americans: The Arts

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Handsomely illustrated and eloquently told, these picture book biographies offer insightful introductions to noteworthy African Americans who have defined their place in the world by following their passions and pursuing their art.

Looking Back, Looking Ahead: Celebrating 20 Years of the Pura Belpré Award | Libro por libro

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This year marks the 20th presentation of the Pura Belpré awards, and a huge celebration is being planned for ALA Annual in June. Tim Wadham takes stock of the trends and themes that recur in the winning titles, all of which affirm the Latino cultural experience.

This article was published in School Library Journal's January 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

What’s Trending? What Is, What Was, What’s Soon to Be in Kid Lit

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From evil hummingbirds and odd picture book cameos, to how things stand on diversity, Betsy Bird considers where we are and where children’s books might be headed in 2016.

This article was published in School Library Journal's January 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Pictures of the Week | Latino YA Lit Panel at La Casa Azul Bookstore

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YA authors Danette Vigilante, Sofia Quintero, and Daniel Jose Older read and discussed their recent works at La Casa Azul Bookstore in Spanish Harlem, New York City on Wednesday, November 18.

In “Book Club For Kids” Podcasts, Tween Talk Is Front and Center

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Kitty Felde’s podcasts feature middle schoolers talking about books by authors from Roald Dahl to Laurie Halse Anderson. Each episode also features a celebrity reading, background about the title, and often an author interview.

The Brown Bookshelf Seeks Nominations for Black History Month Honors

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Nominations are now being accepted by The Brown Bookshelf for their ninth annual 28 Days Later campaign, a Black History Month showcase honoring emerging and established children’s book creators’ literary contributions.

Long-Awaited Mirrors: Latino Lit for Teens | Libro por libro

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In recent years, we have seen an explosion of Latino authors writing for young adults. These works offer much-needed windows (and mirrors) for all readers.

This article was published in School Library Journal's November 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Libraries Reach Out to Young Black Men

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These librarians are committed to giving African American youth, particularly those in low-income communities, reasons to visit their school or public libraries—and to increasing the variety of materials that draw them into reading.

This article was published in School Library Journal's November 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

YA Authors Talk Social Media, Research Process…and Spill Secrets

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Rebecca Stead, Paul Acampora, and Valynne E. Maetani held court at “It’s Complicated: Secrets, Schemes, and Friends,” a panel held Sunday, November 9 at the New York Society Library and funded by author Richard Peck. The writers considered the role of social media, talked about their research process, and discussed the future of YA.