April 27, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Kid Lit Community Joins March for Our Lives

Author Jenny Han, left, holding banner, coordinated the New York City
group of #KidLitMarchesForKids. Photo by Justin Chanda.

The children’s literature community came together among hundreds of thousands of others at March for Our Lives events around the country, and around the world. Marching behind a #KidLitMarchesForKids banner, they showed up to support, and lend their voices to, the young people leading this movement for stronger gun control laws in the United States.

KidLitMarchesforKids was born during a discussion between authors Raina Telgemeier (Smile and Drama) and Jenny Han (To All The Boys I Loved Before), and culminated in authors, illustrators, agents, editors, and others in the children’s literature world marching, carrying signs, and supporting the kids they have served throughout their professional careers.

“It was so powerful to hear the kids tell their stories firsthand, to see all the little ones marching on their parents’ shoulders,” said Han, who led the NYC group. “It reminds us why we’re doing all of this and who we’re doing it for.”

Han and her banner led approximately 60 people, including author Bruce Coville.

“I had to be here,” said Coville, author of the “My Teacher” and “Magic Shop” series among other titles. “Seriously, enough is enough.”

When asked why he chose to march with the #KidLit crowd, he said, “These are my people,” he said.

So are the kids they were out supporting.

“I taught for seven years and have been publishing for 40 years, my entire adult life has been about serving kids,” said Coville.

Celia Lee, an editor at Scholastic, was there wearing a Virginia Tech sweatshirt with orange and black ribbons pinned to it. Lee was a student at the university in April 2007 when a gunman opened fire in a classroom and killed 32 fellow students and himself.

“It’s a little overwhelming,” she said of the march, before adding, “in a good way.”

She was “so excited” when she saw the children’s literature community was coming together for the marches.

“I am part of the kid lit community,” she says. “It was an amazing opportunity to march with colleagues.”

Terry Borzumato-Greenberg and her husband Allan Greenberg walked with the group as well.

“I’ve devoted my whole life to children and children’s books,” said Borzumato-Greenberg, who works for Holiday House. “Now more than ever, my voice is for our children, to help protect them and make their world safe.”

The group walked together, talking politics and gun control, as well as discussing editing, new cover art and future book ideas. When the program began, they stood silently listening to the voices from blocks away thanks to speakers set up along the route.

During the hour-long program, the names of those killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were read, followed by an eerie moment of silence, as the city’s packed streets were completely quiet. Marchers heard from survivors at MSD, as well as the grandmother of a girl who died in the February 14 shooting. A teen whose father and two uncles died at the World Trade Center on September 11 asked lawmakers to enact the kind of legislative change for gun control as they did after the terrorist attack. A spokesperson for the Black Lives Matter Youth Coalition spoke, as did many children and teens whose lives have been touched by gun violence. The crows also heard from Mary Ann Jacobs, who worked in the Sandy Hook Elementary School library in 2012 when 20 students and six faculty members were killed.

“I have listened to thoughts and prayers of people all over the country for the last five years as Americans are murdered in their churches, in their schools, at work and at home,” said Jacobs, who talked about suicides, victims of domestic violence and others beyond school shooting victims. “I’m so glad you are all ready to join the fight to end gun violence once and for all.”

More pictures from New York:

The NYC crowd before heading over to the march. Photo by Justin Chanda.


Author Bruce Coville, left in hat, talks with fellow marchers. Right: Terry Borzumato-Greenberg.

Rebecca Sherman, a literary agent at Writers House, put an Atticus Finch
quote from “To Kill a Mockingbird” on her sign for the march.

Photo by Justin Chanda

pictures of the children’s literature community at rallies and marches around the country, and around the world:

Slide 1
The KidLit group in San Francisco before taking to the streets. Raina Telgemeier (far right, holding banner) co-organized #kidlitmarchesforkids.
Slide 2
San Francisco, where Raina Telgemeier (in sunglasses, far right) led the way.
Slide 3
San Francisco
Slide 4
Ellen Oh made a sign at East City Books before the march in Washington, DC.
Photo courtesy of @citymousedc, East City Books
Slide 5
Anna Carey organized the Los Angeles, CA, group.
Slide 6
Boston KidLit crowd included authors and college students studying children’s literature.
Slide 7
Slide 8
Slide 9
Slide 10
Mrs. Mallard, the Make Way for Ducklings mom in Boston Public Garden,
joined the group too. (Thanks to Ellen Mayer)
Slide 11
Bree Despain sent this from Salt Lake City, calling the group of kid lit
authors at the Utah city's march "small in numbers but mighty in spirit.'
Back row: Despain, J.R. Johansson, Courtney Alameda, Ally Condie, Lindsay
Leavitt. Bottom row: Erin Summerill, Yamile Saied Mendez.
Slide 12
Another picture from Bree Despain in Salt Lake City. Left to right: Despain, Courtney Alameda,
Ally Condie, J.R. Johansson, Shannon Hale.
Slide 13
Janet Lee Carey checked in from Seattle. “We had a huge turnout in Seattle,” she said. “Here
are some of the #KidLitMarchesForKids people gathering at home plate in Cal Anderson
Park before the march. We had our signs and our rainbow bagels to sustain us. The Teens Shall
Lead Us.“ Pictured, left to right: Holly Huckeba, Joni Sensel, Julie Artz, Martha Brockenbrough,
Janet Lee Carey, Laurie Thompson.
Slide 14
Christina Whilsdon saw this sign in Seattle and couldn’t help taking a picture.
Slide 15
In Austin, TX, from left to right, Chris Barton, Jennifer Ziegler, Cory Putman Oakes, Liz Garton Scanlon, Shelli Cornelison, Donna Janell Bowman
Slide 16
In Poughkeepsie, NY, Diane Zahler and Kimberly Sabatini led the KidLit crowd, joined by some “amazing young readers,” Zahler said.
Slide 17
Susan Van Metre, executive editorial director at Walker Books US, marched at the US Embassy in London. The event organized by American students at the London School of Economics. "We sang Woodie Guthrie and John Lennon and had a die in," Van Metre wrote in an email.




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Kara Yorio About Kara Yorio

Kara Yorio (kyorio@mediasourceinc.com, @karayorio) is news editor at School Library Journal.

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