|Image by Lisa Nowlain|
I traveled to Chicago for BookExpo America (BEA) last week. One of the main reasons I went was SLJ’s Day of Dialogue on Wednesday. Check the link and you’ll see why; it was an amazing line-up of book people. But as wonderful as those authors and illustrators were (and are), the panels were overwhelmingly White. Yes, there was at least one person of color on each panel, but 20% (or less) representation isn’t enough. And the fact that there was not a single First/Native Nations panelist is unacceptable. Plus, the two keynote speakers and all four moderators were—you guessed it—White. Now, I’m honestly not sure how much of this is on SLJ and how much is dictated by the publishers, but I’m assuming that SLJ will work to do better if they have anything to say about it based on their commitment to cultural competency in their reviews.
Now, on to the housekeeping. It’s been a while since we’ve highlighted our supporting documents, all of which can be found directly underneath our banner. Don’t forget to look at our FAQs; we’ve added a few things since our inception. We get questions sometimes about our comment policy, so check that out too. And finally, don’t forget to visit the blogs in the Kindred Spirits section as often as you can!
Here are some links from the last few weeks:
Latinxs in KidLit: a history of the Belpre (first in a proposed series; also, check Latinxs in KidLit for features on winning Belpre authors/illustrators)
Debbie Reese has written a series of posts on Thunder Boy Jr., the new picture book debut from National Book Award winner Sherman Alexie (illustrated by Caldecott Honoree and many time-Pura Belpre winner Yuyi Morales):
Have you been watching the #WhitewashedOUT hashtag on Twitter this month? This link will give you a bit of background on the situation, spurred on by so many appalling Hollywood casting decisions. A related hashtag to follow: #StarringJohnCho, which imagines the Harold and Kumar star in big Hollywood roles played by White male actors. Good stuff there.
Finally, from the NCTE blog: “In my own work with Black high school writers, I want my students to see not only themselves in what we are reading, but I want them to recognize their own capacity to be writers and thinkers.” - Latrice Johnson