Let’s Talk: The Importance of Diversity in Children’s Literature

Recently there was a lot of angry talk on Twitter about something an author said about diversity in children’s literature and how she basically said that anything written about a queer black kid belongs in a pamphlet, not a book.

Um, sorry, what?

Edi from Crazy QuiltEdi did a post about the whole talk on Facebook that occurred over the weekend and I thought that it was a great to read about her perspective on it. The whole topic of conversation was sparked over a self-published children’s book about a black boy who loves the color pink, but you know, boys aren’t supposed to like pink… right? So it’s a story about fear and how this child wants to escape to Mars to be accepted by others.

I think that sounds like a great story! Regardless if the child is black, white, Asian, polka-dotted, whatever, it’s a story that should be shared with any and all children that go through much the same thing.

But for a white female author to go on and say that this kind of material should be in a pamphlet, not a book, because (according to her) books should have a “philosophical, spiritual, intellectual agenda that speaks to many many people – not just gay black boys” is really, well, absurd. Children need this kind of material to not only understand more about themselves, but to be able to grow compassion and empathize with those that go through the same kinds of problems.

Yes, authors of color have been trying to get published more and more, and stories about people of color have been trying to get published more and more, but there’s still not enough out there. The story and journey of a white boy or girl is fine and all, but we need more diversity. More Native Americans and traditional cultures and values; more Latinos and how they grow up in the U.S. or elsewhere; more queer black kids just wanting to be accepted and loved by others; more positive spins on Muslims, Buddhists, and other religious minorities, and heck, even majorities; more about bisexual white females and males, or really more about anyone, regardless of race, who is LGBTQIA+. We need these stories for our kids, and if people don’t begin seeing that, then where do we stand?

It’s sad to think that in the publishing world there is still such a stigma for POC authors and characters.

“It won’t sell.”

“It won’t be a best seller.”

“No one will relate.”

I beg to differ.

We want more, crave more, and need more. As a white female I, too, want to read these stories and be able to understand the mindsets, the cultures, the worlds in which these kids – and adults – live in.

Let me know your thoughts on diversity of kid’s literature. Is there enough of it? Do we need more? What kinds of topics do you want to see written about?

Happy World Book Day!

Today, April 23, is World Book Day, a day that was created by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). This day is special because it is the day that three authors – Cervantes, Shakespeare, and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega – all died in 1616. It is also the birth or death date of some other prominent authors. It’s a day in which UNESCO wanted people to celebrate books, especially young people, so that they’d gain a new found appreciation and love for reading.

On this day, many are celebrating their love for reading. I know I am. I actually didn’t know about it until I saw it was trending on Twitter, but that’s okay. I’m still celebrating my love of books by currently reading “Clockwork Angel” by Cassandra Clare (among others at the same time, one e-book, one audiobook).

World Book Day is a wonderful thing and I think we should all celebrate in our own way. Reading is a door to other lives, to the past, present, and future; to other worlds, dimensions, time periods; to every gender and color and species under the sun. Reading is beautiful and fun and magnificent.

Please pick up a book today and enjoy the love of reading. Read something you love, something that’ll make you cry, get angry, feel all mushy inside. Whatever you pick up, just remember how much you love books. Read diversely, read series, read comics, read non-fiction, read religion, read politics, read whatever makes you happy.

Happy reading and happy world book day!

We Need Diverse Books

We Need Diverse Books is a campaign to bring more diverse books to children’s and young adult’s shelves. More often than not books in these sections don’t deal with issues such as LGBQTAI+, gender identity, people of color, people with disabilities, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities.

So much of a child/teen’s life is revolved around these issues, and many may not realize it. More and more we’re hearing stories about how a teen commits suicide because of feeling alone or intense bullying because of who they are/identify as. It’s sad and so preventable.

I think one of the things that can possibly help these individuals is introducing more and more books of all age levels about dealing with these issues.

If I had read books about gay/lesbian/bisexual/etc teens when I was growing up, maybe I would have understood more about my own struggles. Maybe I wouldn’t have struggled at all.

Maybe it could have saved someone’s life.

Books have such power in them. They can get people thinking and open their minds to so many possibilities out there if only they were willing to see them.

For kids under the teen years it can teach them about race and cultures and how to be accepting and loving toward all of them, not just their own. It can teach them to be compassionate toward those who struggle under certain conditions. It can teach them about themselves and if they’re feeling the same way, then they can relate to it.

Only recently have I picked up a few diverse books, at least what I consider to be diverse books, and I have already finished one (None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio) and it’s opened my eyes to the world of intersex individuals, people who are physically one gender on the outside, but have the other gender’s parts on the inside. It’s amazing and eye opening and really got me thinking on how little of the world I know.

Is it important to incorporate more of these stories into children’s/young adult literature? Yes. Most definitely.

Do I think people should be reading them, no matter their background, personal beliefs, bias, etc? Hell yes.

I support We Need Diverse Books and I hope that more and more books will be published in the upcoming years of these diversities. We need them now more than ever.

Top 5 Wednesday: Books You Wanted to Start Yesterday

Welcome to another Top 5 Wednesday! Today’s T5W is all about books you wanted to start yesterday, and let me tell you, I have a lot. So I’m going to do my best to narrow it down to the top five I wanted to start forever and a day ago. These aren’t necessarily in a particular order for this week, but definitely books/series I wanted to start a long time ago but just haven’t.

shadowandbones5. “Shadow and Bone” by Leigh Bardugo

This trilogy has been floating around for a while now, and it sounds super intriguing and right up my alley for types of books that I enjoy reading, so this definitely makes the list. Action, adventure, darkness, fantasy, powers, romance… I mean, c’mon. I need to get on this bandwagon.

thehungergames4. “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins

Speaking of bandwagons, I’m probably one of the few readers out there that have yet to pick up this very popular book-to-movie trilogy. Seriously. I’ve seen all the movies thus far and have highly enjoyed them, but when I started to read the first book years ago when the first movie was coming out, I couldn’t get into it. Maybe that’ll change since I’ve been much bigger into reading this past year. Who knows?

waterforelephants3. “Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen

This was also a book-to-movie adaptation that I really wanted to see and read. I started it and loved the writing, but I never got far into it. I think I was at a point in my life where I just was more stressed and worried about school than anything. Well, now that I don’t have school to worry about, I can pick up this book and see for myself if it deserved a movie or not (though I heard the movie was good, too).

sabriel2. “Sabriel” by Garth Nix

Old school YA fantasy that lead to many of my favorite books being published later down the line? Uh, yes. I needed to read this yesterday. I mean, I’ve never read Garth Nix before, but I’ve seen him being interviewed and he seems like a funny guy. Maybe that’ll transfer over to the book? I’ve heard it’s a really good fantasy series and I really want to get into it.

clockworkangel1. “Clockwork Angel” by Cassandra Clare

Okay, don’t slaughter me. No, I haven’t read the Infernal Devices trilogy yet. I haven’t even finished all six Mortal Instruments books. So, yeah, this definitely makes the list because I wanted to read it when it first came out, I just never got around to it. I’m a horrible person, really. I love Cassandra Clare’s writing, though, and the world around the Shadowhunters is amazing. I even hear that it’s better than TMI, so I definitely need to get on this bandwagon. Don’t worry, it’s a definite upcoming read.

Accompanying video: T5W | Books You Should’ve Started Yesterday

End of 2014 Book Survey

This was originally seen on Perpetual Page Turner’s blog, so check out her response, too! I thought this was a fun and cool concept to just reflect back on the year of reading, so here are the questions:

2014 Reading Stats

Number Of Books You Read: 30

Number of Re-Reads: 1

Genre You Read The Most From: YA (Young Adult)

Best In Books

1. Best Book You Read In 2014?
(If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2013 release vs. backlist)

Heir of Fire” by Sarah J Maas

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Allegiant” by Veronica Roth. It’s not even the ending, it was the whole thing that threw me off. See my review for more.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014?

Stardust” by Neil Gaiman (in a good way).

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2014?

Eleanor & Park” by Rainbow Rowell.

5. Best series you started in 2014? Best Sequel of 2014? Best Series Ender of 2014?

a.) Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas; b.) “Crown of Midnight” by Sarah J Maas; and c.) didn’t read a series ender in 2014 that I thought was “the best.”

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?

Not really new, I don’t think, but Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

This Star Won’t Go Out” by Esther Earl.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green.

9. Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Any of the Throne of Glass books by Sarah J Maas.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014?

“Crown of Midnight” by Sarah J Maas.

11. Most memorable character of 2014?

Celaena Sardothian from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas (wow I feel repetitive).

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?

“Stardust” by Neil Gaiman.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2014?

“This Star Won’t Go Out” by Esther Earl. It just shows how fragile life can be.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read?

Sense and Sensibility” by Jane Austen.
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014?

See my list of quotes on GoodReads and find the first TFIOS quote about love.
16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2014?

Shortest: “The Ice Dragon” by George RR Martin // Longest: “Heir of Fire” by Sarah J Maas
17. Book That Shocked You The Most
(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)

“Allegiant” by Veronica Roth.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)

Celeana and Chaol foreverrrrrrr (maybe). But yes.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Harry, Ron, and Hermione from “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” by J.K. Rowling.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” by J.K. Rowling (my first read through of this book, but since I’ve read the first two… it counts).

21. Best Book You Read In 2014 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

“The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green. At least five people peer pressured me into reading it.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?

Rowan from “Heir of Fire” by Sarah J Maas.

23. Best 2014 debut you read?

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” by Jenny Han.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Fangirl” by Rainbow Rowell.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014?

“This Star Won’t Go Out” by Esther Earl.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

These Broken Stars” by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

“Allegiant” by Veronica Roth. Seriously.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2014?

“Stardust” by Neil Gaiman OR “Exquisite Captive” by Heather Demetrios.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

“Allegiant” by Veronica Roth.

Your Blogging/Bookish Life

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2014?

Perpetual Page Turner (linked at beginning of post)

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2014?

This one! I went more in depth than before and really pinpointed some things about the novel that didn’t sit quite right, but I still gave a positive review.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

Does this mean likes/comments wise? If so, my resolutions post got seven likes, so yay!

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

NaNoWriMo! xD

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2014?

When I realized how much I love blogging about the books I read, and just the fact that I rekindled my love for reading, too!

6. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

The Fault in Our Stars Book & Movie Review

7. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

December Wrap-Up & Book Haul

8. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Booktube! (Book related community on YouTube)

9. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

GoodRead’s challenge of 20 books read in 2014.

Looking Ahead

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2014 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2015?

So many… As it stands, “Cinder” by Marissa Meyer is kind of up there.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2015 (non-debut)?

The fourth book in the Throne of Glass series (shocker).

3. 2015 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Red Queen” by Victoria Aveyard.

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2015?

“Winter” by Marissa Meyer. (I haven’t even started this series and I’m already anticipating it!)

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2015?

Reach a bigger community of people to chat with about books (don’t be shy on those comments, peeps!).

6. A 2015 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

N/A