Of the numerous concurrent sessions at the American Association of School Librarians’ National Conference focusing on strategies for creating culturally diverse collections and serving the needs of all kids, “Queer Library Alliance Goes to School,” was a memorable one.
SLJ has compiled an expansive page of diversity resources—including materials on people of color, non-American cultures, LGBTQ issues, and disability—to help librarians better serve children and teens. From author interviews to collection development tools and from blogs to news coverage, these articles and reviews aim to give insight into issues that are becoming more relevant for kids each day.
Being able to easily locate LGBTQ-friendly materials for children is an important task for librarians seeking to support their diverse reading communities. Kids must be given opportunities to explore literature from multiple points of view, yet it’s sometimes challenging to meet this need, especially for grades 3–5.
From social media to publishing industry-led initiatives, the call for diversity in children’s and young adult literature has steadily grown into a loud roar in the past months. As part of School Library Journal’s SummerTeen virtual conference, the “Embracing Diversity” panel featuring Karen Arthurton, Jonathan Friesen, James Klise, and Amanda Sun, led to a lively and ongoing conversation about the importance of not only publishing books for kids by and about diverse people, but also getting them in the hands of readers. SLJ spoke to industry professionals who are raising awareness on the need for different perspectives in young adult books, and compiled a list of resources to find these titles.
First Book has made significant strides this summer toward its new goal of dramatically expanding the market for diversity in children’s literature, its president and CEO Kyle Zimmer tells School Library Journal. Through its unprecedented launch this spring of “The Stories for All Project” and the project’s successful, gradual implementation over the past few months, First Book is now poised to lobby publishers and influence the kid lit industry like never before, Zimmer says.
Nearly 200 authors were recognized on May 30, 2013, at the 15th International Latino Book Awards ceremony, which was held at the Instituto Cervantes in New York City during BookExpo America. The largest awards in the US celebrating achievements in Latino literature, the event is presented by Latino Literacy Now in partnership with Las Comadres para las Americas and the Instituto Cervantes. See which titles were honored in the Children, Youth, and Young Adult categories.
As dwindling funds and looming budget cuts reach many of the nation’s public libraries, 12 institutions received $5,000 mini-grants to support programming in their diverse communities. ALSC recently gifted these Día Family Book Club Program awards to expand El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Día) into an ongoing yearlong celebration. The winning libraries give SLJ some insights into how they garnered the much-needed funds.
We Are America: A Tribute from the Heart. By Walter Dean Myers. CD. 33:51 min. with hardcover book. Live Oak Media. 2012. ISBN 978-1-4301-1112-2. $29.95.
Gr 3 Up–The sweeping scope of Myers’s free verse poems (HarperCollins, 2011) is captured beautifully and interpreted dramatically on this CD by a diverse cast of narrators. This eminently patriotic book celebrates free expression and attempts to paint with word pictures the depth and breadth of the varied American experience. Rarely are all ethnicities given voice [...]
RIVERS, Karen. The Encyclopedia of Me. 248p. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine. 2012. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-31028-4; ebook $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-46951-7. LC 2011046292.
Gr 5-8–Diminutive, biracial, freckled Isadora “Tink” Aaron-Martin is grounded for most of the summer after an incident with her best friend. She decides to write an encyclopedia, and in spite of the artificiality of the alphabetical format, Rivers has created a warm, funny, fast-paced story about an endearing middle schooler who keeps her cool and sense of humor when events [...]
Same Sun Here. By Silas House and Neela Vaswani. 5 CDs. 5:49 hrs. Brilliance Audio. 2012. ISBN 978-1-4558-2231-7. $49.7.
Gr 4-7–Meena, a recent immigrant from India, lives in Manhattan’s Chinatown with her family. Through a program arranged by their schools, she becomes a pen pal with River, who lives in rural Kentucky and is the son of a coal miner. They exchange letters via snail mail and, as a result, learn about each other and themselves. Sharing day-to-day activities, secrets, opinions, [...]
The New Visions Award has been announced by Tu Books, the fantasy, science fiction, and mystery imprint of Lee & Low Books. It will be given for “a middle grade or young adult fantasy, science fiction, or mystery novel by a writer of color.” The winner will get $1000 and a publication contract; an honor award winner will get $500. Children of color should be able to identify with and relate to the novel. Authors submitting a novel must include a synopsis of the story and the first three chapters (don’t send the entire manuscript) by October 30.