Sunday Morning Reads

Perhaps today’s post is going to be an uncomfortable one, but in opening up conversations about money and finances with my friends and family, I’ve found a mutually beneficial exchange of ideas. Discomfort is a sign of growth.

We usually think of money and finances when we think of economics, but this science is actually the study of decision making. Money and finances often influences our decisions, don’t they? It has for me!

At the end of last year I was fortunate enough to be invited to make several presentations. While may of the organizations that invited me to present were able to provide me with a small stipend, I never had all my expenses covered and as a result, I’ll be paying off credit cards for the next couple of months. Sure, I could have said ‘no’ but, what would have been the cost of doing that? As a pre-tenure faculty member, these opportunities to grow the perception of me as an expert in my field are critical.

I wish I could wholeheartedly say my message was critical, too. I think I refrain from saying that not because I think I’m a completely ineffective speaker but, because I think I’ve strayed from my message. This blog has been the core of my platform and it is where I work to promote Native Americans, authors of color and their works. It’s also where I promote literacy for marginalized teens. White authors are not my focus. Sure, I’ll occasionally do a critical review of something written by other authors, but there has consistently been so little attention given to marginalized authors that I want to keep that focus.

I can’t say I have an audience in mind when I write. I can remember after a couple of years of blogging, I was surprised to get responses from teens when I reviewed books they were reading. And, I’m even more surprised when faculty members tell me they use this blog in their classes. I realize I have a variety of readers and the best thing I can do for them all is to stay focused and to stay true.

I’ve declined several opportunities already this year because I don’t want to talk to white authors about what they can and should write. From my perspective, white authors who embrace decolonization will work to insure opportunities for WOC/NA but those lost in the marketing concept of diversity will be stuck trying to understand how to write The Other.

I have to admit that finances did play a role in leading me realize that I too was caught up on the marketing of diversity. I hae to admit that finances played a huge role in bringing me to this awareness.

Which leads me to the presentations and conferences.

I recently posted on FB about the high cost associated with a conference at which I’ll be presenting later this year ($299 registration fee). This is an ALA affiliate conference. Friends, librarians like to conference! The American Library Association (ALA) has two conferences each year. Each of their divisions has a conference every year or two as do the ethnic caucuses.  These caucuses come together to hold a joint conference every 5 years. There are also state and regional library conferences. Librarians also find ourselves at literacy and reading conferences at the national, state and local levels, children’s literacy conferences and even education related conferences. I attended ALA MidWinter in January and spent over $1000 for travel, registration and lodging )for that one event. Librarians are not particularly well paid professionals.

But I digress! I posted about the high cost of an upcoming conference and generated a rather robust conversation on FB among librarians, academics and authors who are caught in this money pit. We need the conferences because they allow for exchange of information, networking (which is not the same as online networking), committee meetings, validation and rejuvenation. And conferences allow those of us in the hinterland to connect with a NYC focused industry. But at what cost? There are numerous externalities to conference attendance, but money remains a major opportunity cost.

Some authors are sponsored by their publishers and some librarians are sponsoring by their libraries. Public and academic librarians often have a pool of money that is shared among all librarians. School librarians! School librarians have to worry about release time, finding substitutes and getting financial support.

Self-published authors, who really need to be in the conference where it happens, are among those who can least afford these opportunities. Publishers use conferences as a marketing tool and rather than purchasing ad space in major media outlets, they rely heavily on the use the panels and exhibition halls to advertise their goods.

They also rely upon book reviews which have systematically excluded self-published authors. Thanks goodness Zara Rix (zaralrix@gmail.com ) at Booklist is trying to open doors for inde presses and authors by reviewing their books for Booklist.

As a result of these costs people who are much better at it than me find themselves strategically selecting where to make their investment. When does attending one more conference make a difference? How do we measure the return on our investment?  Are the organizations who sponsor these events working to promote our profession? I have to say too many kidlit related conferences seem more concerned about promoting books and authors than addressing issues relating to librarianship, the art and science of literature or to literacy. It’s incumbent upon us to see beyond the conference and examine the mission and actions of the association behind the event. Find out how well organized the events are and determine how well they align with our purpose. Not all kidlit conferences are the same; some are just too White [exclusive in nature] for me. Yesterday, I read Tweets from a participant at an annual writer’s conference who painfully and critically examined the ways participation by people with disabilities was marginalized by poorly planned accommodations. We will not continue to show up if we are not made to feel welcome.

I love that I’m in a profession that pushes me to learning and evolving. I just have to work to keep finding ways that allow me optimal opportunities to do so.

Sunday MorningReads

A few days ago, Varian Johnson took to Twitter.

 

With the re-affirmation that the voices of Native Americans and people of color are not being heard; with the awareness that LGBT+ people, those with disabilities and/or from lower income groups and who are Muslim are threatened, attacked and denied rights; what do we caretakers of messages to our children do in the face of this election? How do we maintain our hope and have enough left over for young people who really need to hear from us? How do we communicate that we cannot rest in feeling the isolation, the insecurity and the bitterness? How do we remember our power? Our purponse?  And how do we tell allies we need you but we need us more? We need to hear from us, our #ownvoices.

It’s a messy place where we are because we ALL need to speak out and speak up regarding human rights and dignity up but allies, do not speak for me or over me. Do not explain me. Do not assume you know my pain because it is not new with this election. For me, its different, but it’s not new.

I want to say to Varian that  I need your voice to help our young people know how to navigate this world and to help them figure out how to create their own space in it. Varian, you give our young people hope when you normalize the day to day of America for them and you give them power when  you re-create and validate them on paper and when you expand their tomorrow by building worlds of ‘what if’. You give them tools of resilience and resistance when you visit their schools and libraries, look in their eyes and speak with honesty and with possibilities.

Librarians, booksellers and educators need to be aware of books that tell stories in our #ownvoices and incorporate them into booktalks, displays and into the curriculum under subject headings other than ‘diversity’. Decolonize those collections! LGBTQ+ books are not issue books to hide in the 800s or 300s. Tanita Davis’ Peas and Carrots is about families more than it’s about diversity.

The New York Times recently came out with its list of Best Illustrated Books of the Year which is beautifully inclusive.

Jason Reynolds’ As Brave As You just won the 2016 Kirkus Prize.

These works of fiction are definitely worth everyone’s attention and should be in library collections across this country from tiny rural hamlets to major urban centers. We’ve all talked about how segregated we are on Sunday mornings when we go to church, but we cannot ignore how segregate our library collections continue to be. Let’s work on organic, American diversity.

Our government is being disrupted. I can’t be mad at voters for wanting a change in our system, but I can be angry that the education system and that the media has failed to bring to light real issues that are confronting us thus letting voters be disillusioned and led down a path that will bring us all more harm than good. And, I can be angry about librarians who fail do what they should to provide free and open access to information, to provide information literacy skills and to provide materials that inform rather than entertain.

At some point soon we really need to talk about children’s non-fiction. Soon.

Varian’s question is real and while he was reflectively speaking aloud, it’s a question all information providers should be asking themselves.

added after publishing the post: Some of you on Facebook will be able to access this link https://www.facebook.com/groups/ALAthinkTANK/permalink/1257965614276256/. It will take you to a post by Debbie Reese the relates so much to my post here today, but gives a deeper context to what librarians, librarians and Dewey do to our users.

 

 

 

SundayMorningReads

We’re firmly in the month of March. Keep coming back here because I will post the March releases by authors of color before the month ends. I promise. February was filled with Writers on Writing and reviews of sources on enslavement. March may be quieter because of offline responsibilities but, I do hope to review some older, classic YA books by Native and women of color as my tribute to Women’s History Month. And, we’ll be releasing the We’re the People Summer Reading List.

February found folks around the web using #StepUpScholastic to  following up on StepUpScholasticV4-300x278Scholastic’s access to our children.  The campaign was announced here on the Ferguson Response blog and it went even more public on 29 Feb when Leslie Mac held the #StepUpScholastic Twitter chat. She’s archived it here.The goals of the campaign are simple, encourage children & adults to critique current offerings from Scholastic and ensure that Scholastic hears their voices in this call for substantive change.” We are asked to engage in the program in the following ways.

Debbie Reese sets an example of being proactive in the #StepUpScholastic campaign.

I’m sure you’ve heard that ‘she who controls the pen controls the history’? Be vigilant. Keep learning about the massive reach of Scholastic and of textbooks companies. Read the books, know who writes the text and sits on the boards that create the books. Understand the huge role Texas plays in what appears in textbooks and be fearful of people like Mary Loy Bruner who is running for a seat on the Texas board of Education.

On the Civil War, she wrote in 2014: “Slavery is not the Reason for the Civil War. by [sic] Mary Lou Bruner…. Historians waited until all of the people who were alive during the Civil War and the Restoration were dead of old age. THEN HISTORIANS WROTE THE HISTORY BOOKS TO TELL THE STORY THE WAY THEY WANTED IT TOLD.”

source: The Washington Post

This rewriting of history isn’t just in America and it’s not only in children’s books. Japan for years has been re-writing its interactions with Korea during World War Two.

But, it’s the power of independent voices that are getting the true story out there.

Independent voices like Leslie Mac and Deborah Menkart whose only vested interest is in our children.

Independent voices that used crowdsource funding to create and release a movie about the comfort women that has climbed to lead the box office in Korea.

Independent voices like those featured in Amy Martin’s new column in School Library Journal that features indie children’s authors.

School Library Journal also recently featured an article on how few sight impaired people are learning braille.

Because teachers and students often depend on audio tech, including text-to-speech programs, vision-impaired children aren’t learning the conventions of written language. “He or she might be getting information, but the child isn’t reading,” says Chris Danielsen, director of public relations at the NFB, which provides many resources for braille literacy (learning braille). In the 1970s, more than 50 percent of vision impaired people in the Unites States knew braille. More recently, among the nearly 60,000 U.S. children who are legally blind, only nine percent were registered braille users, according to a 2010 report. Other estimates put the figure at 10 to 12 percent.
source: School Library Journal

Is there another side to this discussion?

Living here in Indiana, I realize the way the publishing world marginalizes those of us who don’t live in NYC. Not only are the major publishing houses, agents and publishers there, but the discussions take place there as well. Sure, there’s a small pocket centered around Chicago, Atlanta and Los Angeles, but it pales in comparison. I like how Padma Venkatraman used the power of the Internet to overcome geographic barriers and create this important roundtable of voices from South Asia.

Rachna Gilmore: Yes, inasmuch as all authors’ life experiences inform who they are, and influence the values they form, which inevitably shapes their writing. More specifically though, as a brown person of Indian heritage in a white world, I have, of course, experienced racism; both the active, vicious kind, although rarely that, as well as the more patronizing and labeling kind, born of stereotyping. I know much of it is simple misunderstanding and ignorance. It has fueled my desire to write in a way that builds bridges. I strongly feel that it is through fiction that we can cut through boundaries. When we read of characters of cultures that we have perceived of as “strange” or “other”, and when we identify with them through the magic of fiction, and recognize that at the core they are not really that different from us, that is when we start to relate to others simply as people. We drop our stereotyping assumptions and see that our common experiences as human beings are far more profound and real than any superficial differences of skin colour or cultural preferences.

Gilmore’s words make me want to send a shout out to Ellen Oh, #DiversityJedi extraordinaire.

Another important roundtable this past week came from the PEN Equity Project. If you don’t click any other link here, this. This is the one to read. It begins in that place where we stay stuck too long, of recounting the battles and missed opportunities, but it takes the chance to say ‘what if …’ to imagine a way forward.

There is a role for all of us who understand that even if the industry was meant to not be diverse in all of its representations, it cannot stay that way.

Cheryl Klein Imagined setting up classroom libraries. I do that for a classroom here in Terre Haute. Every month I send a collection of books to first grades and I do imagine making this a thing, a foundation that matches more classrooms to donors. You might think the school library is doing or can or should be doing this. Research shows the closer the books are to young readers, the more they will read. Sometimes, libraries just can’t provide books because they have either no librarian to select the books or no funding with which to purchase them. I recently had the pleasure of serving on YALSA’s Great Books Giveaway Committee and was almost in tears while reading librarians describe their profound need for books. Comments from those who received the grant can be found here. The link will also take you to an application for the next grant round.

Isn’t it interesting how much of the heavy lifting for our children’s literacy is done by women? Just look how many women I’ve listed here today. And, in the recent Lee & Low Diversity Baseline Survey, it was documented how many straight white abled-bodied women work in publishing. Lee & Low has been watching the report ripple through the industry and has capture insights here.

I have to leave you with this breathtaking phone of my youngest son from his recent trip cross country to visit his brother. He walked out there and sat on the edge of the world, something I could never, ever do. I catch my breath just thinking about it. Funny, the only place on my Bucket List is the Grand Canyon, but I cannot go to the edge.

Here’s to the generation that will not be limited by our fears.

IMG_2457

 

 

 

 

 

 

SundayMorningRead

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.

MEET OUR FEATURED SPEAKERS: Joan E. Bertin, Michael
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: http://www.outlawed2015.com/

Sunday Morning Reads

Have you been following #WeNeedDiverseBooks on FB or Tumblr? They’ve been coming up with spot on books pairs this summer.

tumblr_n9arubuHPB1ta4uato1_1280

The WNDB Team has most recently been joined by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton. the Cake Literary Ladies!

You know everything is bigger in Texas, including the state’s annual library conference. TLA has got to be the most popular state library conference in the nation. Call for papers is currently open.

The Américas Award created a list of selected Américas Award titles that highlight issues surrounding children and the border.  This and other thematic guides can be found on the Américas website:www.claspprograms.org/americasaward.  Contribute your activities and titles on our Facebook page: Facebook.com/americasaward.

Children’s laureate Malorie Blackman, authors, illustrators, poets in the UK are part of a movement demanding the government insure a presence of good libraries in all schools.

And in the US? Well, the schools in Chicago all have libraries, but half of them have librarians. The Mayor’s CEO says they can’t find librarians to fill the positions. That reminds me so much of publishers saying they can’t find authors of color. Numerous schools around Indiana have lost librarians, most often in elementary schools. I’ve heard of some schools in the state relying upon the public library to come in and provide library services. Not all librarians are created equal! While both a public and school librarian would be familiar with children’s and young adult literature, the public librarian would work more on programming and not be familiar with the curriculum as a school librarian would. Librarians provide technology training for students and staff, often teaching classes and providing professional development. I don’t know how we think schools can do without them.

Kate DiCamillo is our current National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.

BrownBookShelf continues the “Making Our Own Market” series with an interview of self published author DuEwa Frazier.

 Eventually, I taught myself how to self-publish. There was no one there to hold my hand through the entire process but I did receive support. I took writing workshops with the late, great poet, Louis Reyes Rivera and was mentored by Abiodun Oyewole of the Last Poets. I attended many of the Center for Black Literature’s National Black Writers Conference’s early panels and workshops. I later took children’s writing and non-fiction workshops at other centers in the city. I became a part of a community of writers who had academics and cultural consciousness in their backgrounds.

We’re already talking Back to School. Summer here has been slow to warm and it feels like it hasn’t really started yet. Slow to warm and high humidity here makes me wonder how in the world June 2014 could have been the hottest June on record. Ah! To get out of my little bubble! #WeNeedDiverseBooks

 

 

 

 

 

SundayMorningReads

Another small press to put on your radar: Brown Girl Publishing.

From their site:

Our Company: Brown Girls Publishing is a boutique publishing company, focusing primarily on digital content, while still providing printed books through Amazon. Our goal is to provide a voice for literary fan favorites, while introducing the next generation of authors.

Our Founders: Between them, National Bestselling authors, ReShonda Tate Billingsley and Victoria Christopher Murray have more than two million books in print. The dynamic duo decided to combine their respective talents in a highly popular series, in addition to their successful solo careers. So naturally, their next endeavor would be something near and dear to their hearts – helping build the next generation of authors, while at the same time, spotlighting some fan favorites. Victoria, a former successful entrepreneur, also holds an MBA from New York University. ReShonda is a former TV journalist and marketing professional with over 20 years of experience.

Beautiful summer weather this Sunday afternoon! I began my day in the garden and had my first harvest. I had so little on my ‘to do’ list yesterday, no more than to go to the market and to  read. The market here hasn’t even begun. And, the #weNeedDiverseBooks session at BEA was yesterday. I got myself to a diner to follow the tweets where I learned about plans for #WeNeedDiverseBooks to work with the National Education Association and First Book to plan a KitLit Diversity Expo in Washington DC in 2016. The jam-packed room resounded with support for the need for more diverse books and the momentum is just beginning.

No doubt it will take every day from now until then to plan the expo, but it will take everyone one of us being involved in kidlit to make it successful. Now more than ever is time to be present and any and every forum that relates to young adult literature, not just diversity. We have to continue showing up to stay part of the conversation. Join them on Twitter or Facebook if you can’t join in person.

As I reflect on the yesterday’s events, I considered two groups: librarians and young adults themselves.

I think it will be very hard for many young adults to express their desire for more books with characters like them. Those who do have a high level of awareness and will make extremely articulate cases for why we need more diverse books.

My own story is not unlike many of my generation, of not knowing I wanted books with black people until I’d found them. I grew up in Catholic all white schools and as an avid reader, I read whatever I could find. I remember going to the public library in the black neighborhood as a child. Black librarians (or were they clerks?) worked there but I do not remember books with black children then. I remember the good sisters giving me anthologies that contained stories and poems written by black authors and while I was initially embarrassed, I cherished those books and read them again and again. Probably in high school I found the Soul Brothers and Sister Lou. Definitely in high school I found Sammy Davis’ Junior’s Yes I Can and Margaret Walker’s Jubilee. I don’t remember any others, but I know the desire was there. Junior year I know I read Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen and Gwendolyn Brooks with some discomfort in my all white classes yet the topic I selected for my research project that year was LeRoi Jones.

Of course teachers need better training on cultural awareness, but the issue I’m looking at is the lack of books available to me in the library. What if I could have found them freely on my own? What if my classmates could have read books about black kids? Or Latina? Or Asian? How much more would we all have grown and developed? I can’t help but think that if I’d read more books with characters like me, I’d have found my voice sooner.

What experiences are young people of color today having with their reading selections? How many are able to find what they want? How many want more books with young people of differing color, nationality, sexual orientation or abilities? I remember how powerful Ari’s voice was and would like to hear from more young people.

I have to shake a finger of blame for the lack of diversity at my fellow librarians who continue to complain ‘the books are too hard to find’. I’m right here sharing book news as is Diversity in YA,  Rich in Color, and American Indians in Children’s Literature as is your library’s booksellers as is Amazon!! (hint: search young adult African American) Library shelves should reflect the diversity of America!

In April, the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) released “The Importance of Diversity in Library Programs and Material Collections for Children”.

“The white paper explores the critical role libraries play in helping children make cross-cultural connections and develop skills necessary to function in a culturally pluralistic society.  The paper calls for libraries to include diversity in programming and materials for children as an important piece in meeting the informational and recreational needs of their community.”

“The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action” was just released by the Young Adult Library Services whitepaper coverAssociation. The report affirmed that teens find libraries to be a safe haven, but it also reported on how many libraries are at risk of losing teen spaces. Who are these teens you ask?

“According to an analysis of the 2010 census data completed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, there are currently 74.2 million children under the age of eighteen in the United States; 46% of them are children of color.14 All of the growth in the child population since 2000 has been among groups other than non-Hispanic whites.”

The report goes on to enumerate the many social issues confronting these teens and dynamic programs libraries across the country have developed not necessarily to address these issues but to address literacies this empowering teens through measures that are equitable and just.

And it starts with the books on the shelves that reflect the world in which we live.

Literacy. I haven’t talked tech in a while. Google scares me not because of their admitted lack of diversity but because Google continues to develop more and more Artificial Intelligence capabilities. Oh, it began with how they studied search patterns (knowledge seeking behaviors) it blossomed with Google Glass and thrives when we hear about Google devices in surgeries and now Google Nose?? Let’s keep our kids literate. Follow these stories and know how information and technology is being used in our world.  Let’s keep them reading! Let’s get them Binging it!

That beautiful sunshine has morphed into a dark gray sky, thunder and pouring rain. Diversity is beautiful.

 

 

SundayMorningReads

 

They’re that eyeglass wearing black family in that cellphone commercial. They’re all over Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

They’re watching Cosmos with @neiltyson

And now, they’re reaching YA Lit.

 

Black + Nerd = Blerd

The numbers of urban lit books for teens has been decreasing for quite some time and nothing had really become the new niche for black authors. With very few romance, adventure, dystopian, science fiction or mystery books written that featured black protagonists, one had to wonder what publishers would establish as the next genre where we would find black characters.

This month, HMH Books for Young Readers give us Eddie Undercover: Mystery on Museum Mile written by debut author Marcia Wells and illustrated by Marcos Calo. In May, Varian Johnson’s Great Green Heist (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic) hits the shelves. I believe both books are part of a series.

The timing is great for each of these as MG fiction is becoming the hottest thing since sliced bread and Blerds are in!!

image001 I think the glasses were the first sign that Blerds were trending.

I’ve stumbled across some on Twitter.

@BlackGirlsCode Our mission is to empower young women of color ages 7-17 to embrace the current tech marketplace as builders + creators. http://www.blackgirlscode.com/ 

@BlackGirlNerds An online community devoted to promoting nerdiness among women of color. Live tweeter. Ranter. Raver. Geeker Outer. Tweets by @jamiebroadnaxblackgirlnerds.com (Shorty Award nominee)

@BlackGeeksMeet A place where Geeks of Color can Meet, Talk and get excited over their passions. Not exclusive, just empowering and energizing. blackgeeksmeet.com

@blkintechnology Blacks In Technology is the premier online community for Black techies. Membership is free. Visit us. Bringing Unity to the Black IT Community Cincinnati, Ohio ·blacksintechnology.net

@TheNerdsofColor Pop culture with a different perspective. Watch us at: http://www.youtube.com/thenerdsofcolor  thenerdsofcolor.org

No, they’re not only Black.

@GirlsinCapes On identity in geek culture. Tweets by @FelizaCasano. http://facebook.com/GirlsInCapes girlsincapes.com

@LatinasinSTEM Org established and run by #Latina #MIT alumnae. Our mission is to inspire and empower Latinas to pursue, thrive and advance in #STEM fields.LatinasinSTEM.com

@Latinitas Empowering Latina youth through media & technology, 1st digital mag by & for Latina youth. Now accepting Summer internship applications!· latinitasmagazine.org

Melo Funkademic1 @melofunkademic1 STEM Ambassador for The People. Tumblr: funkademic1funkademic1.wordpress.com

And, they morph into futurism and fantasy.

@iafrofuturism Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci Fi & Fantasy Culture (Lawrence Hill Books) by @ytashawomack http://iafrofuturism.wordpress.com  The Future of Now · iafrofuturism.com

@scifilatino Commenting on Latinos and Latinas in science fiction and fantasy. Includes TV, movies, books, and other media.The ‘Verse · scifilatino.wordpress.com

Asian girls fight this stereotype and aren’t as likely to embrace nerd power. While I’ve found several black and Asian males who tweet about technology and STEM, I’ve not found a consolidated effort tweeting for male nerds of color.

So, why am I giving all the attention to these nerds? I do so for three reasons. First, I think they’re part of a growing trend that tells our children that it’s OK to be smart, it’s preferable to be intelligent and information in necessary for success. I see this as a direct consequence of having a black president.

Second, I hope this trend continues to influence publishing. Not only should it lead to a wider variety of books, but it should get decisions makers to make that tiny leap to realize that Blacks, Latinos, Native Americans and Asian Americans do read (and write!!) books.

And finally, it’s also important for librarians to be aware of nerds of color. It would be wonderful if we could attract them to our profession because their knowledge and skills are germane to librarianship of the future. 21st century librarianship is all about collaboration, data management and scholarly communication. These new activities transcend all areas of librarianship in different forms.

As these new groups begin to develop and strategize, they benefit from our ability to network with them as they seek new collaborators and ways to organize information and data. Working with them grows our field and provides many mutual benefits. I’ve reached out to do some networking and found myself in the middle of a tweetup on coding. As participants shared their needs and frustrations, I saw ways librarians could easily address these concerns while participants could go on explore the world of coding. Other librarians would find ways to develop their coding skills.

We can also work in our public, school and academic librarians to provide space and leadership for those groups who need to know it’s OK to be a nerd.

Students of Middle Eastern decent.

American Indians.

Even Asian girls and boys need to know it’s OK if the want to be a nerd.

Black and Latino males. Let’s overcome the lies told about black boys. (Read this informative article to find out how the numbers of black males in college and prison are misrepresented and how sports do not build habits of mind necessary for success in our young men.)

It can start with book groups that provide safe places for students to talk about their love of reading or technology clubs that developing information literacy skills, but it needs to expand to uncover and nurture these students desire to go to college, invent new technologies, lead countries or vacation on the moon. Move them forward with metaliteracies. Librarians touch the future. (BTW, National Library Week begins today!)

Have you read any books featuring nerds of color?