For those who have not heard about #Diversiverse before, it’s a very simple challenge. For those of you who have participated in the past, it’s even easier this year. The criteria are as follows:
- Read and review one book
- Written by a person of color
- During the last two weeks of September (September 14th - 27th)
National Hispanic Heritage month is from September 15 through October 15, and we’re looking to highlight great YA novels by or about Hispanics and Latin@s next Wednesday. We have a few books already in mind, but we really want to know about your favorites. Do you have any recommendations for us?
Her book is part of the Reading Together Book Project, which recruits local authors and illustrators to create culturally relevant books for children.
"Recruiting authors and illustrators to create culturally relevant books to keep children reading is the idea behind the Reading Together Book Project spearheaded by the Minnesota Humanities Center and the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans and supported by Minnesota taxpayers through the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.
Thanks to that program, author Vang paired up with book illustrator Aimee Hagerty Johnson to produce “Shoua and the Northern Lights Dragon,’’ a chapter book geared for third grade and older children. So did May Lee Yang, who wrote “The Imaginary Day,’’ which was illustrated by Anne Sawyer-Aitch.
“If people see themselves reflected in a book or movies or music, they’re more engaged,’’ says Vang in explaining why she wrote her story about a little Hmong-American girl who — not unlike its author – struggles to preserve her heritage yet yearns to rise above traditional gender roles in the Hmong culture."
I have these books in my library! I bought them after finding this article last year. It’s so cool for my students to be able to see themselves.
While I never quite felt authentic pretending to be James Bond, agent 007, or Steve Austin, the Six Million Dollar Man, a few tiny tweaks were all it took to become Batman or Spider-Man. All I had to do was re-envision Bruce Wayne as Bruce Wang, Peter Parker as Peter Park. The…
Yesterday, I started noticing tweets about literature related to the events unfolding in Ferguson, Missouri. The events there and the very different reactions to them just confirm that we need diverse literature.
One YA title that immediately popped into my mind was Kekla Magoon’s The Rock and the River. In that book and in the sequel, young people see injustice around them and are moved to action. What I really appreciated about The Rock and the River was that Magoon acknowledged that there are gray areas. Activism is messy and it’s not just perfect people against evil people. In her excellent blogpost, “The Violence in Missouri: Writers and Artists Respond,” Lyn Miller-Lachmann also mentioned Kekla Magoon’s books among others. In her own book Gringolandia, Lyn has also written about social justice issues and activism.
There are quite a few titles available for children and young adults that deal with social justice issues and activism. There are already a few lists circulating online. School Library Journal created a list of resources on their blog, Understanding Ferguson: Resources on Protest, Nonviolence, and Civil Rights. In that post, they pointed to the work that Left Bank Books (a bookstore in St. Louis) is doing. Left Bank is curating a list they have named #Ferguson – How We Got Here. Their list includes titles from picture books through adult. There are also two hashtags on Twitter that are related to this subject if you want more titles. For any and all ages see #FergusonReads and for children’s lit see #KidLit4Justice.
Here are a few YA titles:
The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon
Fire in the Streets by Kekla Magoon
The Revolution of Evelyn Serranoby Sonia Manzano
Angel de la Luna and the 5th Glorious Mystery by M. Evelina Galang
The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom by Margarita Engle
Gringolandia by Lyn Miller-Lachmann
March: Book One by John Robert Lewis and Andrew Aydin with artist Nate Powell
The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba’s Greatest Abolitionist by Margarita Engle
The Freedom Summer Murders by Don Mitchell
Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty by G. Neri with illustrations by Randy DuBurke
While the final title (Yummy) is not really about activism, it brings up many questions about justice, violence, and our communities. These are issues that young people are seeing in the news and possibly experiencing in their own lives. Literature is one way to open the door for discussion. If you know of any other titles that would fit in with this list, please share them.
For summaries of each of the titles above, visit the Rich in Color blog to read the full post.
– Cover images are from Goodreads