I recently posted the CCBC’s recent figures on diverse books, stepped back and watched the web. Some praised the numbers for gains. KT Horning cautioned the numbers easily go up from year to year. Some questioned the books written by ethnic minorities but not about ethnic minorities. How is that call made? Is it good or bad to see this phenomena? Is this a reflection of author’s choice or publishers pigeonholing?

The CCBC numbers can easily be manipulated. While comparing my list of young adult books by Native and POC authors to that of the CCBC, I realized that the CCBC’s numbers are dependent upon what publishers decide to send them and as a result, I have several books not on the CCBC’s list. With my numbers, I can only indicate an increase in the number of YA books released and cannot do a comparative analysis because I don’t know the overall number of YA books released. Perhaps

Some publishers at ALA Midwinter did create special displays of diverse books.

Some publishers at ALA Midwinter did create special displays of diverse books.

if more of us collect the numbers, and reflect on the numbers in various ways, we will remind people of the injustice that is being done to children. Debbie Reese is asking for assistance with collecting Native American titles. The CCBC is doing important work by supplying us with data to verify the growth, or lack there of, in books written by and about Native Americans and people of color. The more data that we create, the better our argument becomes.

Here in America, the dollar vote is what really matters. I’ve started watching Publisher Weekly’s listing of top selling children’s books and the number of first run books printed for new titles. I also watch for paperback releases, booktrailers, ebooks and audiobooks because they have a huge impact on the bottom line. Do books by authors of color have reading or teaching guides? Are they included in book fairs? Blog tours? It’s not just publishing the book that we need, but there needs to be work getting them to sell them. Elizabeth Bluemle writing at ShelfTalker recently commented that saying diverse books don’t sell is a meaningless statement because there are also books by white authors that don’t sell. I think she’s missing the real problem.

In publishing, there are A List authors and there are all the others. The A List is dominated by white authors and these are the ones who get promoted at conferences, get the books tours, have their books sent to selection committees and professional book reviewers while the others pretty much do their own marketing. “All the others” contains a slew of white authors as well as

Posters are most often created for picture books.

Posters are most often created for picture books.

the majority of authors of color. I don’t know how one gets to be an A List author but I do know that more time, money and energy goes to these authors.

At ALA recently, an author of color was told her books were not on display because no one was asking for them, that displays contained books that everyone wanted. Sujei writes about similar experiences. I find that logic so contrary to what would promote sales. Why not have a plan to place similar titles together or at the very least place those in high demand next to those in low demand? How will you increase the demand for books no one knows about?

Again at ALA Midwinter, there were numerous instances of publishers only having one ARC of books by authors of color. There were no posters, postcards or booksmarks for these books either.

Has anyone ever consider an action that would create more A-List authors of color? If an author is good enough to have a book published, their work should merit the attention it takes to get it sold. While I’m speaking of creating a more level playing field for authors of color, surely you can see there is a greater problem in the way publishing continues to do business. As technology continues to change the way we maneuver the world around us, no industry can continue to do business as usual. Taxi cabs, satellite TV providers, realtors and even travel agents have realized this.

IMG_4153Self publishing is becoming more and more legit. Libraries that once shunned self pubs are now working with their community members to create, print and catalog them! They will slowly and surely eat into profit margins if they’re the ones publishing what people want to read bet can’t find elsewhere.

Recently, I was sharing information about the classroom I adopted and I prefaced the idea by saying something like ‘I’m just a blogger and felt like I wasn’t doing anything’ and in that statement, I completely forgot the power of words, the strength of the story. There are reasons why others want to tell our stories. Go back to the CCBC numbers and look at the increasing rate of our stories being told by others. Words are the ultimate power.

Saturday Trailers: Dove Arising

What better day for a book trailer than a Saturday? Dove Arising by Karen Boa releases 24 Feb. “Be there or be a regular quadrilateral”.

Phaet Theta has lived her whole life in a colony on the Moon. She’s barely spoken since her father died in an accident nine years ago. She cultivates the plants in Greenhouse 22, lets her best friend talk for her, and stays off the government’s radar.

Then her mother is arrested.

The only way to save her younger siblings from the degrading Shelter is by enlisting in the Militia, the faceless army that polices the Lunar bases and protects them from attacks by desperate Earth-dwellers. Training is brutal, but it’s where Phaet forms an uneasy but meaningful alliance with the preternaturally accomplished Wes, a fellow outsider.

Rank high, save her siblings, free her mom: that’s the plan. Until Phaet’s logically ordered world begins to crumble…

Suspenseful, intelligent, and hauntingly prescient, Dove Arising stands on the shoulders of our greatest tales of the future to tell a story that is all too relevant today.

I didn’t realize that Christopher Paolini maintains a blog where among other things, he posts interviews with authors. What great networking! Here, the two authors discuss artistic choices Bao made in writing what is the first book in her trilogy, how Bao, a full-time student, manages to find time to write and why they’ve both decided to stop using italics in their writing. I’m so glad they did!

CCBC Multicultural Stats 2014

The Children’s Cooperative Book Council recently released figures on the number of multicultural books released in 2014. In releasing the numbers, K. T. Horning stating an optimism about things to come.

“Even though the data we collect indicates children’s literature in this country continues to represent a mostly white world, we see signs that things are changing,” she says. “In 2014, for example, we saw a marked increase in the number of novels for children and teens by African-American authors.”
One of them, “Brown Girl Dreaming,” by Jacqueline Woodson won the National Book Award last fall and another, “The Crossover” by Kwame Alexander, won the Newbery Medal earlier this month. Horning also noted that an Asian-American author, Dan Santat, won this year’s Caldecott Medal.
“That’s huge because these awards have an impact on sales,” says Horning.
At the end of the day, Horning says the key to having more diverse books for children is in the hands of consumers.



Multicultural_Stats_Bar_ Graph_2014




Multicultural Stats Graphic 2002-2014

Full article

Comparative Data 2002-2014

A huge thanks to K. T. Horning for her dedication to supplying this information.


It’s been cold here for the past few days. Once I remembered that it’s the end of February, I tied my scarf a little tighter and continued to doIMG_4136 (1) what I needed to do. I’ve been carrying around a post in my head for much of the day and thought I finally had time to put it to paper. . . just as the 40th anniversary of SNL begins.

“Hamburger, hamburger, no cheeseburger”.
Closed captioned news for the dead.
Fake commercials.
Too many stars to even remember.

I remember the very first time I caught the show. I’d gone back to my dorm room after a dance on campus and someone was drooling while reporting the news. It was hysterical! I didn’t stick with the show over the years as there were some years that the show just wasn’t that funny and there were even more years when I fell asleep too soon to see it. Looks like I’ll do a little catching up now.

IMG_4139I was able to pick up books for my classroom at ALA Midwinter and I dropped them off last week. I expecting a short email from the teacher letting me know she received the books so imagine my surprise when I received an envelope full of hand written letters from the students! Not only had the teacher created such a wonderful teachable moment for her students, but the letters were filled with the students interests and hobbies and gave me a the variety of reading levels in the class. I can’t wait to send them books again next month.

I’m working from home this week, hoping to get an article as close to written as possible. Even with the possible distractions of television, music and cell phones, it’s so much easier to get work done from home.

Upcoming conference:
The Arne Nixon Center for the Study of Children’s Literature in the Madden Library at Fresno State will conduct a conference on censorship April 10 -12, 2015. “Outlawed: The Naked Truth About Censored Literature for Young People” seeks to explore the many ways in which censorship affects reading choices for young people.

Learn how censorship presents itself in a variety of manners. While the most blatant banning garners the greatest attention, pre- and self-censorship occurs quietly and unnoticed at the selection level.

Discover how authors’ writings are influenced by censorship. Whether it is to highlight themes that oppose it or to restrict controversy in order to avoid becoming targeted, authors must heavily weigh what is included or omitted in the creation of their work. Banning can either create a skyrocketing effect in sales or doom a work to anonymity.

Become enlightened about intellectual freedom as practiced in the United States and in other countries.

Cart, Matt de la Peña, Margarita Engle, Leonard Marcus, Lesléa Newman, and Jacqueline Woodson.

We hope you will come and join us as we navigate the varied issues of censorship in children’s and young adult literature.

For more information:

Saturday Trailer

What better day for a book trailer than a Saturday?

Cindy L. Rodriguez began her professional life as a journalist. She transitioned to a high school Language Arts teacher and then a Reading cindyrodriguez2Specialist for middle schoolers. Her career path indicates a love of language, of literature and of children. Cindy debuts as an author this year with the release of When Reason Breaks.

Cindy’s idea for the novel began in 2004 when she took an author centered graduate course. She began to develop scenes for the novel in her mind, but developing the story was overshadowed by more courses, more certifications and the adoption of her daughter. As 2008 ended, the story could wait no longer and it began to pour out of her. Months of sending her manuscript out, rewriting and query searching led to this happy dance when she signed her first book with Bloomsbury Children’s Books at USA.

Cindy is a Fearless Fifteener who maintains her own blog and who blogs at Latin@s in Kidlit. She is a vibrant part of the Latin@ literary community, working tirelessly to promote Latin@ authors and literature.

February Releases 2015

Streetball Crew Book Two Stealing the Game Hardcover by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Author), Raymond Obstfeld (Author)
When Reason Breaks by Cindy L. Rodriguez; Bloomsbury
Dove Arising by Karen Bao; Penguin (audiobook also available)
Feral Pride by Cynthia Leitich Smith; Candlewick
Rebellion by Stephanie Diaz; St. Martin Press
Shutter by Courtney Alameda; Feiwel and Friends
Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia; Harper Collins/Amistad (audiobook also available)
Listen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai; Harper Collins
My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warza; Balzer + Bray
The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons; Tor Teens
This Side of Home by Renée Watson; Bloomsbury

ALA Youth Media Awards

While there were numerous books, authors and illustrators recognized this past week for their outstanding contribution to children and young adult literature, I’d like to give special recognition to the following authors of color for their contribution to young adult literature. The pressure is on to get the typing correct and not to miss anyone. Please call me out as soon as you spot an error. This is one post I’d like to do with no errors or omissions.

If you missed it before, here’s how the awards work.

While the awards seem more diverse than ever before, don’t let this one year let you think our work is done. Do you see any books by Native American writers here? Watch as I post each month and see how few books continue to be released by authors of color. And, watch for other diversities as well.

In addition to the ALA awards, I have to call your attention to the 2015 Titles for Youth in Custody. These are titles you’re not going to see on many other lists, but many African American and Latin@ readers will devour them. The list contains fiction and nonfiction title while the blog post relates some of the discussion that got the books on the list. Indeed, Ebony Canion’s Left for Dead sounds like a compelling read, but I don’t think I can wait to get my hands on a copy of The Griots of Oakland: Voices from the African American Oral History Project by Angela Beth Zusman. 

What about you? Which of these have you read and enjoyed? Which are you most looking forward to reading?

Alex Awards
“Everything I Never Told You,” by Celeste Ng, published by The Penguin Press, a member of Penguin Group LLC, a Penguin Random House Company.

“The Terrorist’s Son: A Story of Choice,” by Zak Ebrahim with Jeff Giles, published by TED Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

“Confessions,” by Kanae Minato, translated by Stephen Snyder, published by Mulholland Books, an imprint of Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

Coretta Scott King
“Brown Girl Dreaming,” written by Jacqueline Woodson, published by Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) LLC.
Kwame Alexander for “The Crossover,” published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing.
Marilyn Nelson for “How I Discovered Poetry,” illustrated by Hadley Hooper and published by Dial Books, an imprint of Penguin Books (USA) LLC.
Kekla Magoon for “How It Went Down,” published by Henry Holt and Company, LLC

Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award
“When I Was the Greatest,” written by Jason Reynolds, is the Steptoe winner. The book is published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division.

Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement
Deborah D. Taylor is the winner of the Coretta Scott King – Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement. The award pays tribute to the quality and magnitude of beloved children’s author Virginia Hamilton.
Taylor’s career in public service began more than 40 years ago with the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, where she is currently coordinator of School and Student Services. Her career has been spent as mentor, educator and literacy advocate for young adults. As an inspiring young adult librarian, leader in national associations and university instructor, she has been distinctly effective in introducing young people and her professional colleagues to the outstanding work of African American authors.

John Newbery Medal
“The Crossover,” written by Kwame Alexander, is the 2015 Newbery Medal winner. The book is published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
“Brown Girl Dreaming,” written by Jacqueline Woodson and published by Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) LLC.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Award
The Laura Ingalls Wilder Award honors an author or illustrator whose books, published in the United States, have made, over a period of years, a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children. The award is administered by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, and presented every two years.
The 2015 winner is Donald Crews, whose award-winning works include “Freight Train,” which was a Caldecott Honor Book in 1979, and “Truck,” a Caldecott Honor Book in 1981. He has been consistently excellent with a wide range of titles, such as “Harbor,” “Parade,” “Shortcut” and “Bigmama’s,” all published by Greenwillow Books.

Margaret A. Edwards Award
The Margaret A. Edwards Award, established in 1988, honors an author, as well as a specific body of his or her work, for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature. The annual award is administered by the Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the American Library Association. and sponsored by School Library Journal magazine.

The 2015 winner is Sharon M. Draper, author of more than 20 books, including: “Tears of a Tiger” (1994), “Forged by Fire” (1997), “Darkness Before Dawn” (2001), “Battle of Jericho” (2004), “Copper Sun” (2006), and “November Blues” (2007), all published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing.

Arbuthnot Lecturer
The lecturer may be an author, critic, librarian, historian, or teacher of children’s literature, of any country, who shall prepare a paper considered to be a significant contribution to the field of children’s literature. The paper is delivered as a lecture each April, and is subsequently published in Children & Libraries, the journal of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association. The award is administered byALSC.

The 2016 Arbuthnot Lecture will be delivered by Pat Mora. Pioneering author and literacy advocate Pat Mora has written more than three dozen books for young people that represent the Mexican American experience.

Michael L. Printz Award
honor book
“This One Summer,” by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki, and published by First Second.

Pura Belpé Author Award
“I Lived on Butterfly Hill” by Marjorie Agosín, illustrated by Lee White and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division.
“Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes,” written by Juan Felipe Herrera, illustrated by Raúl Colón and published by Dial Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) LLC.

Randoph Caldecott Award
“Viva Frida,” illustrated by Yuyi Morales, written by Yuyi Morales and published by Roaring Brook Press, a Neal Porter Book.

“This One Summer,” illustrated by Jillian Tamaki, written by Mariko Tamaki and published by First Second.

Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal
“Brown Girl Dreaming,” written by Jacqueline Woodson, and published by Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) LLC.

William C. Morris Award
“Gabi, a Girl in Pieces,” written by Isabel Quintero, is the 2015 Morris Award winner. The book is published by Cinco Puntos Press.

Best Fiction in Young Adults
Top Ten
The Young Elites by Marie Lu. Putnam
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
also on the list
When I was the Greatest by Jason Reynolgs
A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman
How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon, Holt
Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quitero
Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn

Still to come are announcements from the American Indian Library Association and the Asian Pacific American Library Association.