Wednesday, May 18, 2016

BEA Round-up, Housekeeping, and some links

Image by Lisa Nowlain
With today’s post you get a twofer: first, a brief recap of School Library Journal’s (SLJ's) Day of Dialogue; second, some housekeeping reminders and links.
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):
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
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


Unknown said...

Hi Sam-
Thanks for attending SLJ’s Day of Dialog in Chicago and for acknowledging the amazing lineup of book people on our panels. Every year, we try very hard to pull together a diverse group of presenters who work in a variety of genres and formats that fit into a preselected theme. It was particularly challenging this year in that many publishers were not bringing many people to Chicago. We are always restricted by who our sponsors are bringing to BEA and willing to foot the bill for vis a vis their attendance and book promotion (all of the books are free at DoD). Even people who do publish with our sponsors and have new books forthcoming are often not available because of travel and scheduling conflicts. I’m offering this information to let you know about the many factors that go into organizing not just this program, but all of our programming. And we do a fair amount of it. We at School Library Journal are always cognizant of the need for presenting a multiplicity of voices and work diligently to create and promote programming and content that is as rich and diverse as possible. Under the inspired leadership of Kathy Ishizuka, Kiera Parrott, and Shelley Diaz, we take these responsibilities very seriously and think about, talk about, and write about them on a daily basis. We are committed to racial and ethnic diversity and fostering inclusion in everything we do.

Sam Bloom said...

Thanks for reading and responding, Luann, and for giving some background information into the processes you go through at SLJ. I feel like I heard at least one of the publishers at DoD was only in town for your event and wasn't going to be at BEA at all, which I'm assuming also speaks to the fact that it took place in Chicago this year vs. New York. If that's true, then I understand now why BEA has stuck with New York as a location for so long!