Winners! Winners! Winners!

I’m quite happy to say that I didn’t post all the wonderfully talented, passionate and gifted people of color who won awards on Monday. In addition to those previously listed, I have to congratulate the following winners.

Lavonda Kay Broadnax digital project coordinator at the Library of Congress, is the 2013 recipient of RUSA’s Zora Neale Hurston Award. The award honors librarians who have demonstrated leadership in promoting African-American literature. Broadnax was selected for her bibliography project, “Selected Literature Published by the Civil War Soul Sisters.” The project showcases the writings of “black women who lived during the US Civil War, [during] a time when it was illegal for most African Americans to learn to read or write.”

 Librotraficante is the 2012 recipient of the Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award given by the faculty of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Librotraficante, a movement led by Tony Diaz, is being recognized for its efforts to oppose the censorship of ethnic and cultural studies materials in Arizona. Librotraficante efforts have since extended across the country, including the development of a magazine and a freedom of speech event created in conjunction with Hispanic Heritage Month.

 Rainbow Awards

The Rainbow Books list is a joint project of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table and the Social Responsibilities Round Table.

Gonzalez, Rigoberto.  Mariposa Gown.  2012.  230p.  Tincture (Lethe Press), $13.00 (9781590213513).  Grades 8 & Up.
BFFs Maui, Trini, and Lib are confronted with difficult choices as they graduate- college, career, and who will wear a gown to the senior prom.

Takako, Shimura.  Wandering Son, Volume 2.  2012.  200p.  Fantagraphics Books, $19.99 (9781606994566).  Grades 6 & Up.
Shuichi spends his grandmother’s cash gift on a special present that leads to his sister finding out his secret, leading to disastrous consequences.  But can Shuichi find the strength and courage to withstand the trials that are to come?

Takako, Shimura.  Wandering Son, Volume 3.  2012.  200p.  Fantagraphics Books, $19.99 (9781606995334).  Grades 6 & Up.
As their friendship grows more strained after their secrets are exposed, Yoshino and Shuichi start to learn about the hard realities of being transgendered, and the consequences (unintended or not) that it can bring.

Wise, Tama.  Street Dreams.  2012.  264p.  Bold Strokes Books, Inc., $13.95 (9781602826502).  Grades 9 & Up.
Life, love, and hip-hop mix to push gay Moori teen Tyson to places he’s afraid to go when he suddenly starts crushing on a straight guy he meets through his involvements in the local scene

Davis, Tanita S.  Happy Families.  2012.  240p.  Random House Children’s, $16.99 (9780375869662).  Grades 6 & Up.
When twins Ysabel and Justin discover the true reason for their family’s split, they struggle with the secrets their father has been keeping.  Can they deal with their dad’s new life and find a way to put their happy family back together?

Lo, Malinda.  Adaptation.  2012.  400p.  Little, Brown, $17.99 (9780316197960).  Grades 9 & Up. (Top Ten Book)
Something strange has been going on with Reese Holloway since her car accident and her top secret medical treatment- but will she be allowed to figure it out, or will others take her apart to figure it out first?

Magoon, Kekla.  37 Things I Love (In No Particular Order).  2012.  224p.  Henry Holt, $16.99 (9780805094657).  Grades 7 & Up.
Bullied by her best friend and facing the impending death of her father, Ellis finds hope through  new therapist and in her emerging relationship with Cara.

Rice-Gonzalez, Charles.  Chulito:  a Novel.  2011.  275p.  Magnus Books, $14.95 (9781936833030).  Grades 10 & Up.
After sharing a secret with his best friend, a Latino teen’s ideas about what it really means to be a man are challenged.  Should he play ‘straight’ and keep his standing among his peers in the neighborhood, or come out and be his true self? (Top Ten Title)

Saenz, Benjamin Alire.  Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.  2012.  368p.  Simon & Schuster, $16.99 (9781442408920).  Grades 9-12.
Dante and Aristotle are opposites in almost every way but, nevertheless, the two boys are best friends, almost like two halves making a whole.  Saenz’ lyrical novel examines the bonds of friendship and the uncertainties and saving graces of love. (Top Ten Title)

The Pura Belpré Award honors Latino authors and illustrators whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in children’s books.  The Belpré Committee selected one Honor Book for narration.

Sonia Manzano for “The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano,” published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic Inc.

Stonewall Awards are given annually to English-language works of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience.

  “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe,” written by Benjamin Alire Sáenz and published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, is the Stonewall Award winner.

Four Stonewall Book Awards – Barbara Gittings Literature Award Honor Books

“Chulito,” written by Charles Rice-Gonzalez and published by Magnus Books.

The Stonewall Book Awards – Israel Fishman Non-Fiction Award

“For Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Still Not Enough: Coming of Age, Coming Out, and Coming Home,” edited by Keith Boykin and published by Magnus Press.

Amelia Bloomer List

The Amelia Bloomer Project is part of the Feminist Task Force of the American Library Association’s Social Responsibility Round Table.


McCall, Guadalupe Garcia. Summer of the Mariposas. 2012. 355p. Tu Books, $17.95 (978-1-6006-0900-8). Gr.7-up.
15-year old Odilia and her four sisters journey to Mexico to return the body of a dead man they found floating in the Rio Grande to his family. They battle supernatural forces and put aside their own differences for a trip that changes their lives forever.


Bartels, Peggielene and Eleanor Herman. King Peggy: An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and the Inspiring Story of How She Changed an African Village. 2012. 333p. Doubleday, $25.95 (978-0-3855-3432-1). Gr.9-up.
A phone call awakens Peggielene Bartels in the middle of the night with news that she’s been chosen the next king of her home village Otuam, Ghana.  She overcomes corruption and sexism to bring progress to the village.

Wahab, Saima.In My Father’s Country: An Afghan Woman Defies Her Fate. 2012. 352p. Crown Publishers, $25.00 (978-0-3078-8494-7). Gr.10-up.
Escaping gender oppression and political strife, Saima immigrates to the US as a teen. Saima later ventures back to Afghanistan as an interpreter and offers a fascinating perspective on Afghan customs including a provocative analysis of gender issues.




Male Monday: Craig Laurance Gidney

Craig Laurance Gidney is the author of Sea Swallow Me and Other Stories and the soon to be released Bereft (publication pushed back tocraig-5 February.)
This short bio from his Amazon page describes his talents.
Craig Laurance Gidney writes both contemporary, young adult and genre fiction. Recipient of the 1996 Susan C. Petrey Scholarship to the Clarion West writer’s workshop, Gidney has published works in the fantasy/science fiction, gay and young adult categories.

These works include “A Bird of Ice,” (from the anthology So Fey: Queer Fairy Fiction (Lethe Press)) which was on the short list for the 2008 Gaylactic Spectrum Award; “The Safety of Thorns,” which received special notice by editor Ellen Datlow in her 2006 Year’s Best Fantasy Horror summary; “Mauve’s Quilt” (from the anthology the young adult fantasy anthology Magic in the Mirrorstone (Wizards of the Coast)); and “Bereft,” included in the anthology From Where We Sit: Black Writers Write Black Youth (Tiny Satchel Press).

Gidney’s first collection, Sea, Swallow Me and Other Stories was nominated for the 2009 Lambda Literary Award in the Science. Fiction/Fantasy and Horror category.

And, here’s a chance to begin to know him personally!


Where did you grow up?

I am a native of Washington, DC.

Do you have any pets?

One tuxedo kitty, Cassie. She watched me write the book from her various perches.
What do you enjoy watching on television?

I do. I watch American Horror Story, some trash TV, and cartoons—particularly Simpsons, and Bob’s Burgers.

Meat or vegetables?

Both. I can’t quit meat!
Are there any books that stand out in your memory from your childhood?

The Secret Garden, A Wrinkle In Time, Bridge to Terabithia, the novels of Virginia Hamilton. Each of them opened my mind in a new way, and kindled my imagination.

What book(s) are you in the middle of reading right now?

The Devil In Silver, by Victor LaValle–a thriller about the mental health industry.

It seems that you are a short story/short fiction writer. What challenges you most in writing these?

The most challenging thing about being a short fiction writer is to make every word and image count. You have to create a world, an atmosphere and character in a limited amount of time. I love short fiction that has the density of a novel, but is brief. I often find that many of ‘failed’ short fiction is often the first chapter of a novel.

What drew you to write young adult fiction?

I’ve always read YA—they are kind of like my ‘popcorn’ books. I also think that YA books deal with pretty heavy and topical subjects. It’s an interesting audience to write for, as well.

Could you speak to the need for queer young adult literature written by authors of color?

I think that young adults—ages 13-18—need to see representations of themselves in fiction. I know that reading queer literature when I was young was a life altering event. And reading books by authors of color was the same. I was a very lonely teenager, with a deep dark secret. Reading Samuel Delany or James Baldwin helped me; they made me realize that I wasn’t alone.

In one of your interviews, you mentioned that your stories all begin with an image. What image inspired Bereft?

The image of a white mask over a black face inspired me. It’s the cover of a book by Franz Fanon—Black Skin, White Masks. My older brother had the book and I remember being spooked by it. When I sat down to write about Rafael Fannen, that image came to mind. A motif of masks runs throughout the book.

What is Bereft about?

 It’s the story of a boy who wins a scholarship to a prestigious religious school. He must deal with the culture shock—he’s from a different class and neighborhood than the other kids, He’s also learning about himself and his sexuality. In addition, his life at home is less than stable. The book is written in a third person limited style—you get to see and hear and feel everything Rafe feels.

Is there a teacher, coach or librarian you’d love to have read Bereft? Why?

I would love my writing teachers to read Bereft—it would show them how much I’ve learned from them. I had to use various techniques to write the book, and I have them to thank for showing me how to construct a sustained work.

When did you know you were meant to be a writer?

Frankly, I was good at nothing else. I was always creating characters and stories in my head, and writing them down just seemed like a natural extension of that.

Did you make a resolution for 2013?

To finish at least one of the novels that are brewing in my brain!

Craig, thanks so much for the interview and I wish you much success!

Its *THAT* Monday in January

Rainy days and Mondays get us down, and rainy Mondays?? Nothing to it, but to do it! Especially with the rainy Monday is Midwinter Monday and the Youth Media Awards are announced.

I have to begin with an earlier award that was announced at ALA Midwinter.  The following middle grade and young adult books are recognized  by the United States Board on Books For Young People as Outstanding International Books 2013.

Ellis, Deborah. Kids of Kabul: Living Bravely Through aNever-Ending War. Groundwood. (Canada)

Master, Irfan. A Beautiful Lie. Albert Whitman.(Great Britain)

Wein, Elizabeth. Code Name Verity. Disney/Hyperion.(Great Britain)

Abirached, Zeina. A Game for Swallows: To Die, To Leave,

To Return. Tr. By Edward Gauvin. Graphic Universe/Lerner. (France)

Chadda, Sarwat. The Savage Fortress. Levine/Scholastic.(Great Britain)

de Graaf, Anne. Son of a Gun. Eerdmans. (Netherlands)

Doyle, Roddy. A Greyhound of a Girl. Amulet/Abrams.(Great Britain)

Ellis, Deborah. My Name is Parvana. Groundwood.(Canada)

Gleitzman, Morris. Now. Holt. (Australia)

Serrano, Francisco. La Malinche: The Princess Who Helped Cortés Conquer the Aztec Empire.Tr.bySusanOuriou. Illus. by Pablo Serrano. Groundwood. (France)

Tanaka, Shelley. Nobody Knows. Groundwood. (Canada)

Awards announced this morning included:

Coretta Scott King Award:

Illustrator award: Brian Collier (I Too, Am America)

(no John Steptoe Award again this year.)

Honors: Jacqueline Woodson (Each Kindness); Vaunda Michaux Nelson: No Crystal Stair

Winner: Andrea Davis Pinkney (Hand in Hand 10 Black Men Who Changed America)

The Printz Award:

honor book: The Round House by Louise Erdrich

winner: In Darkness by Nick Lake (my review)

The most recognized book of the day: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. And, it is quite deserving of each of these awards and more. (my review) Printz Honor Book; Stonewall Award; Pura Belpré Author Award.

Congratulations to all the winners!


School Library Journal recently published “Not a Lack of Latino Lit for Kids, but a Lack of Awareness”.

I do agree that there is a lack of awareness. Every discussion list I belong to routinely has someone asking for books that will be “of interest to Latino teens”. Which of course implies that the only people reading about Latinos are Latinos, and that Latinos will read nothing else. But, these requests are so constant that it makes one wonder why it is so difficult for people to find books with Latinos (or any people of color) and what happened to prompt the particular request.

I predict that if you watch your lists next month next month, you’ll see an abundance of requests for African American literature.

A lack of awareness is a huge issue, not doubt. If people were paying attention, they’d be more aware of the small number of Latino books that are published each year, and the small amount of themes and genre that are included in this number. I have not seen official numbers for 2012, but I found all of 17 MG and YA books published in 2012. I expect this number to be low, assuming I’ve missed several books by some of the smaller publishers. Even if I missed 20 books, that means there were 37 Latino books published in 2012.

Between 2010 and 2011 the Latino population grew 2.5%. I don’t think that 2.5% of all the MG and YA books published last year either written by Latino authors or featured Latino characters.

18% of the US population is Latino and this is the largest ethnic population in the US.

I really think the lack of books, the lack of published Latino authors and the lack of Latino protagonists and books in Spanish is a serious concern.

You know that Argo is based on a true story, right? Well, did you know that the main character of the movie, (of the story!), is Antonio Mendez, a Mexican American and multiethnic CIA agent? While this role could have gone to one of many Latino actors, Ben Affleck chose to play this role himself.

The APALA blog recently posted an interview with library leader Judy Lee who works in Riverside, CA. Lee is interviewed regarding her efforts to save her community’s Chinatown. She states Once the site is protected, I personally would like to see the group continue the cultural education mission for the community. This could include historical research and work to connect to a larger network of educators concerned with Chinese American and Asian American cultural education and preservation.

Amazon is making news with their two new children’s imprints.

It has been announced that Louise Erdrich’s Chikadee won the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction. This makes Erdrich’s second time winning this prestigious award. Congratulations!!

I know what should really have me exciting this week are the ALA youth media awards (and I will be listening as the winners are announced) but, what really, really has me excited is the release of the Surface Pro on 9 February. I’ve been waiting for this since I first learned about the Surface and the greater functionality of the Pro over the RT and yes, over the iPad.

The Hub will stream the ALA awards live on Monday at 7:45 PST.

Let’s go into this new week with our eyes open, aware of all that makes up our diverse and wonderful world!

2013 African American Read-in

I just can’t do the African American Read-In this year. With job obligations and all the reading I’ll be doing for BFYA, I cannot put another reading project in front of me. I’m glad to report that Vasilly will continue to have an online reading and discussion group this year! She’s selected seven wonderful books from which readers can choose what the group will read so, please hop over to her blog and help select a book before 27 January!

Her selections:

Brother, I’m Dying by Edwidge Danticat.  Non-fiction/memoir. 2007 winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography. Family memoir about the author’s complicated childhood in Haiti and America while reflecting on the lives of her father and his older brother and her relationship with the two. The memoir’s first line: “I found out I was pregnant the same day that my father’s rapid weight loss and chronic shortness of breath were positively diagnosed as end-stage pulmonary fibrosis”.

Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones. Fiction. Silver Sparrow is a book that once you read it, you need to discuss it with someone right away. You’ll probably start talking about it before you even finish it. I know I did. Dana Yarboro is the secret child of James Witherspoon, a bigamist who keeps Dana and her mother hidden in plain view while he spends most of his time with his “first” family. Told from the viewpoint of both daughters, Silver Sparrow is a page-turner that leaves readers wanting to pick up everything Jones has published.

The Devil in Silver by Victor LaValle – Fiction/ fantasy. When Pepper finds himself locked up in a mental institution, accused of a crime that he doesn’t remember committing, he’s knows he’s in trouble. Things go from bad to worse when a strange creature visits his room and nearly kills him. Can this creature be stopped?

Drinking Coffee Elsewhere by ZZ Packer – Fiction/short stories. ZZ Packer is an author whose work has been on my reading list forever and with good reason. Her short story, “Brownies” has been anthologized in magazines and books for years. After reading “Brownies” for myself, I knew this was an author who deserves all the attention she receives.

How to Be Black by Baratunde Thurston. Non-fiction/Humor. What it is: a hilarious, heartbreaking, and thought-provoking look back on the author’s life growing up in D.C. and what being black (and white) means to not only the author but a number of people he interviews. Part guidebook/memoir/mediation, How To be Black is a book you can easily re-read over and over again. M from Buried in Print wrote a review of this.

The Good Food Revolution: Growing Healthy Food, People, and Communities by Will Allen. Non-fiction. In the past year when I’ve read books about farming in the United States, Will Allen’s name has popped up numerous times. Allen, the son of sharecroppers, cashed in his retirement fund to start farming. In The Good Food Revolution, Allen writes about his journey from corporate America to farming and how the need for good healthy food affects us all.

A Woman Like Me by Bettye LaVette. Non-fiction, memoir. I had no idea who Bettye LaVette was until I saw her on the news last year. LaVette is a singer who was a part of the Motown scene decades ago but only recently became famous. Her memoir is a no-holds-barred account of her life that includes sex, drugs, and plenty of music.


No resolution, just a word for this year: Courage. This month, I looked to Pres. Obama and Martin Luther King Jr. for thoughts about courage.

obama“Hope is not blind optimism. It’s not ignoring the enormity of the task ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. It’s not sitting on the sidelines or shirking from a fight. Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it, and to work for it, and to fight for it. Hope is the belief that destiny will not be written for us, but by us, by the men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is, who have the courage to remake the world as it should be.”


“Courage is an inner resolution to go forward despite obstacles;king1
Cowardice is submissive surrender to circumstances.
Courage breeds creativity; Cowardice represses fear and is mastered by it.
Cowardice asks the question, is it safe?
Expediency ask the question, is it politic?
Vanity asks the question, is it popular?

But conscience asks the question, is it right? And there comes a time when we must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because it is right.”  MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.

As Americans, we can take enormous pride in the fact that courage has been inspired by our own struggle for freedom, by the tradition of democratic law secured by our forefathers and enshrined in our Constitution. It is a tradition that says all men are created equal under the law and that no one is above it.” PRES. BARAK OBAMA