Male Monday: Jamie Campbell Naidoo

I’ve met Jamie Campbell Naidoo exactly once and that was at JCLC. I was familiar with his reputation, as he has written and researched multicultural children’s lit for a while. More  about him:

Jamie Campbell Naidoo

Prior to joining the faculty of the University of Alabama School of Library and Information Studies in 2008, Dr. Naidoo worked as an Assistant Professor at the University of South Carolina School of Library and Information Science where he taught undergraduate and graduate courses in children’s literature, literacy/library services to Latinos, and materials and programs for libraries serving young children. He has worked in both school and public libraries in Alabama as an elementary school library media specialist and as the Coordinator of Juvenile Services in a public library.

Jamie is actively involved in numerous professional associations such as the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), The National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking (REFORMA), and the United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY). He has served on several prestigious national and international book award committees including the Caldecott, Pura Belpré, and Américas awards and regularly reviews children’s and young adult materials for Library Media Connection and REFORMA.

I attended Naidoo’s session at JCLC entitled “Rainbow Family Collections” and as I was taking notes on his presentation, I soon realized I’d have to blog it and, afterwards, he graciously gave his approval for me to share my notes here.

Naidoo began his session by reinforcing the need for children to see themselves validated in books. He explained that ‘rainbow families’ can be those with GLBT parents and/or children. Either situation has been represented in children’s books. Regardless of their situation, children in rainbow families have an information need that should be respected. This respect is communicated through librarians’ attitudes, how welcoming the environment is that we create and how inclusive our programming is. Naidoo was quick to point out that some communities are more accepting than others and that there are ways to present information, to code it if you will, in ways that rainbow families recognize that they are welcome.

Naidoo suggested having materials that challenge gender stereotypes. Including books with single parents will allow children to infer if a character is single, if there are two mommies, or whatever may be their norm. Naidoo reported that while rainbow books are becoming more diverse, their characters are predominantly White, young and rarely are they differently-abled.

I hadn’t realized how tough it can be for GLBTQ children and teens to read, or want to read books with GLBT characters, who are possibly questioning their identity or not ready to share information with family or friends and they’re going to worry about being seen with this book. This book that librarians love to put stickers on and point at as being a rainbow book.

When evaluating rainbow books, issues to consider include the following.

  • Think about how the child reacts when realizing they’re gay.
  • How is his/her orientation explained?
  • How does the narrative present the lives of the gay character and their family?
  • How are illustrations portrayed? Are there stereotypes?
  • Are the characters oddities? Generalized? Preachy?

He mentioned many book awards which help with the selection of quality books. They include

  • ALA’s Rainbow Books
  • Stonewall Award
  • Amelia Book List (books with strong female characters)
  • Lambda Literary Awards

Naidoo shared several specific titles and publishers, some which he recommending more strongly than others.

Manu series: bilingual picture books from Spain

Keesha and her two mommies and other books by Black owned Dodi Press

In closing, Naidoo reminded session attendees that the balance to having gay books isn’t in having anti gay books but

click for preview!

rather, in having books with heterosexual characters. I’d add that we’re simply redefining the norm, that’s the challenge!

While Naidoo’s presentation was heavy on children’s literature, he presented concepts that are quite applicable to YA lit and most appropriate for this blog. I hope you’ve gotten as much from his presentation as I did. I didn’t take notes on everything he said because as typically happens in these sessions, the talk gets to interesting, that I stop writing and consequently miss the really good stuff. He talked about using books with animal characters with little kids, to have large crowds of people in signage so that the children who are sensitive to rainbow families will see the child with two daddies.  Allow children infer their own situation into the story. He promoted finding ways to get through to the children, to making that the intent.

Needless to say, I was glad I attended this session! In addition to learning ways to meet the needs of GLBT children, I learned that Naidoo has recently written a book to help with the selection of materials for GLBT children. No, I haven’t read it, but I have quite high expectations for it and feel comfortable recommending it to readers looking for quality GLBT books and CDs for young people.

If you are interested in more information, email me or leave your information in the comment section and I can send a copy of the handout from the session which includes a list of recommended board books, picture books, beginning reading books and chapter books as well as informational books, media and periodicals and resources for services and programs.


I’ve been on the road a lot lately. Two weeks ago, I drove to Shakamak State Park near Jasonville, IN with a friend

Celebration of the Future. PowWow sponsored by The Sullivan County American Indian Council

to visit a PowWow. It was my first and I don’t think it will be my last.

Last Sunday, I was in Kansas City, MO for the Joint Conference of Librarians of Color. Though a bit too spread out for my tastes, the facilities included easy access to a wide variety of places for dining and shopping. I attended sessions on tribal libraries in AZ, GLBT books for children, how to prepare others for change and a few others. I met new publishers and entrepreneurs who use locally produced jewelry to support artists and literacy at the same time. I also network with library friends old and new. Yes, it was a very good conference!

Yesterday I was home in Indianapolis to visit a friend battling an illness. I thought I was ready for a weekend at home, cocooning in my introvertedness but after yesterday I realized I need this time with others. Maybe I need to visit more now because I certainly won’t be taking to the road so much in the winter or maybe there are other reasons. Whatever it is, I

Opening speaker, Sonia Manzano aka “Maria”

won’t be sitting still soon. Maybe my travel bug is stirring.

This month, my third and final article appeared in Voya and it addresses what some publishing companies are doing to attract and promote authors of color. I met with reps from Cinco Puntos at JCLC and they are actively seeking authors of color. I also met a couple of publishers who publish works for people of color and I’ll be posting interviews with them soon.

I’ve been avoiding finishing In Darkness by Nick Lake, but I’m so close I have to be ready to post a review this week. Goodness knows I need to sit still long enough to write more blog posts.

I want to spend the rest of my afternoon reading through my neglected blog feeds and re-connecting with blogger friends. Rather, I have to do some work to my ‘Intro to the Library’ presentation. I’m sure this will be a work in progress for quite some time as I work to fully understand all the underlying messages I hope to deliver. I rarely use Boolean; do I want to emphasize it so much? Can I really step away from mentioning tech tools that assist and support the research process like PowerPoint, Word… ? How do I convey this presentation is a welcome to the library and not an end to what we have to offer?  Education is a process, isn’t it?!

Wherever your week takes you, there you will be.




I kept waking up to thunder last night and was so happy to see that it had actually rained here! In this drought, we’ve too often gotten thunder and lightning that signified nothing. Icing on the cake will be the 70 degree temps tomorrow! Maybe we shouldn’t have 70 days in August, but we shouldn’t be hotter than New Mexico, either!

So, I’m between having finished and getting started and in a pause that I filled with doing a little reading and needing to do a little posting!

Congratulations to Debbie Reese on receiving the 2012 Blog Award for her blog American Indians in Children’s Literature from WordCraft! Wordcraft Circle is a Native organization founded in 1992 to help aspiring Native writers. Congratulations also to Tim Tingle for winning WorldCraft’s Children Literature award for SaltyPie: A Choctaw journey from darkness to light.

States are beginning to post their nominees for state awards. Indiana’s will be announced in November. It’s important to nominate books to these lists because teachers and librarians use them when purchasing books. From the list of nominees, students across the state will read the books and vote for the best books on the list. Typically, children’s books are separate from YA. What Can’t Wait has just been named one of 20 Georgia Peach Book Award nominees for 2012-2013 .

A book that certainly  needs to be on state reading lists today is Neesha Meminger’s Shine Coconut Moon. From my review

Sam‘s Uncle suddenly comes to visit. He is her mom’s only brother, the brother she walked away from when she left her family to marry the love of her life. Sam‘s mom resented the Indian culture that she felt was stifling her, so she left it behind and never looked back. She raised her daughter to be an all American girl. Sam dressed, talked and acted just like her white friends.

And then her Uncle Sandeep appears. Her turban wearing Sikh uncle in post 9/11 America.

“Bryan Thao Worra, Lao-American writer, poet, and a member of the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA), was selected to represent Lao poets in Poetry Parnassus, a weeklong poetry festival held in conjunction with the 2012 Olympics”. source: ALA Direct Congratulations, Bryan!

“Have you registered for JCLC yet? The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) will convene an “All Things Digital” panel at the Joint Conference of Librarians of Color, Sept. 19-23, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo”. source

Whatever weather comes your way, I hope your day is a good one!




Gathering it All In


I have a Voya article out this month! The online version can be found here; turn to page 28.

Have you registered yet for JCLC? The 2nd annual conference will be held in Kansas City, MO from 19-23 September.

JCLC brings together a diverse group of librarians, library staff, library supporters, and community participants to explore issues of diversity in libraries and how they affect the ethnic communities who use our services. JCLC is a unique and unparalleled opportunity for participants to share successes, opportunities, and challenges while networking and attending cutting-edge programs on pressing issues affecting both librarians and communities of color. The conference includes speakers, skills building workshops, research based panels, networking opportunities and exhibits. In addition, JCLC deepens connections across constituencies and beyond, and unifies and strengthens the voices of each association.

Why is it no longer possible to change font color on WordPress?

From Sociological Images, an eye-opening look at how the world is shown to us.

Gecko Press  is a New Zealand Press that translates international books from many different countries into English. A really interesting selection of books from a range of genres and cultures.  Their site says that some of their books are distributed by Lerner in the U.S.

Indian Converts Collection  First published in 1727, the remarkable book “Indian Converts, or Some account of the lives and dying speeches of a considerable number of the Christianized Indians of Martha’s Vineyard” is now available in full online. Written by Experience Mayhew, the book provides remarkable insights into the lives and culture of four generations of Native Americans in colonial America. This digitized version was created at Reed College, and visitors can look through all four sections of the work, which include “Indian Ministers” and “Pious Children.” Throughout the work, Mayhew details the books that different age groups were reading, provides insights into early New England pedagogy and childrearing practices, and also describes each individual in terms of their own genealogy and personal history. The truly fantastic thing about the site is that it also contains an archive with over 600 images and documents that further contextualize the work. Also, the site contains study guides designed for classroom use that cover artifact analysis, genealogy, and reading gravestones (from AIALA)

 Jamie Campbell Naidoo writes about using the many wonderful Pura Belpre Award winners in your library programming.

“Established in 1996 by the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking (REFORMA) and the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), the Pura Belpré Award recognizes Latino authors and illustrators “whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.” The award’s namesake, the first Puerto Rican librarian in the New York Public Library system, was dedicated to bringing rich stories imbued with Latino cultural elements to the children and youth that she served in barrios and ethnically diverse neighborhoods throughout the city from the 1920s and 1930s and later in the 1960s and 1970s. In 2011, the Pura Belpré Award celebrated its quinceanera, marking fifteen years of works that carry on the mission first started by that energetic and visionary librarian so long ago.”


Early Registration Deadline Extended

The deadline for the 2012 Joint Conference of Librarians of Color (JCLC) has been extended to 11 July.

with  Gathering at the Waters: Celebrating Stories Embracing Communities as its theme, the JCLC is designed for librarians, library staff, supporters, trustees and community participants to explore issues of diversity in libraries and how they affect the ethnic communities who use our services. The four-day conference will include dynamic pre-conferences, opening and closing sessions with well-known speakers, author luncheons, skill building workshops, research based panels, interactive and varied programs, exciting exhibits, special events, and networking opportunities.

JCLC provides an opportunity to:

▪ Develop leaders and staff ▪ Experience exciting author talks and dynamic keynote speakers ▪ Compare different strategies for creating institutional change ▪ Sharpen and expand understanding and analysis of diversity in the profession ▪ Strategize on how to serve diverse and changing communities ▪ Share stories and experiences ▪ Build relationships with other librarians and organizations ▪ Have fun!

Program Tracks

  • Advocacy, Outreach and Collaboration

  • Collections, Programs and Services

  • Deep Diversity and Cultural Exchange
  • Leadership, Management and Organizational Development
  • Technology and Innovation

Librarians of Color

If you’re anywhere near Denver, CO you won’t want to miss the largest gathering of Reformistas to celebrate REFORMA’s 40th Anniversary and participate in our fourth annual conference. This four day event (September 15 – 18, 2011) is expected to draw over 500 participants and promises to be the best REFORMA National Conference ever.

The theme for this  conference is “Elevating Latino Services to a Higher Level: Juntos in the Mile High City!” RNCIV will offer a multitude of opportunities, including timely and informative pre-conference seminars, author readings, continuing education workshops, enlightening panel discussions, vendor exhibits and fun pachangas!

The Joint Conference for Librarians of Color has extended their call for proposals.

Call for Proposals – Deadline extended to October 1, 2011

The deadline has been extended by an additional 2½ weeks!

The 2012 Joint Conference of Librarians of Color, JCLC 2012: Gathering at the Waters: Celebrating Stories and Embracing Communities will take place from September 19-23, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri.   The mission of JCLC is to advance the issues affecting librarians of color within the profession and to also explore how best to serve the incredibly diverse and changing communities that use our libraries.

The Joint Conference of Librarians of Color is a conference for everyone and brings together a diverse group of librarians, library staff, supporters, trustees and community participants to explore issues of diversity inclusion in libraries and how they affect the ethnic communities who use our services.  JCLC deepens connections across constituencies, creates spaces for dialogue, promotes the telling and celebrating of one’s stories, and encourages the transformation of libraries into more democratic and diverse organizations.  This groundbreaking event is sponsored by the five ethnic caucuses: the American Indian Library Association (AILA), Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA), Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA), Chinese American Librarians Association (CALA), and the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking (REFORMA).  JCLC 2012 follows the first gathering in 2006 in Dallas, Texas.

The 2012 JCLC Steering Committee invites you to submit a proposal for a presentation at the conference.  Proposal submission deadlines are listed below.

JCLC Tracks and Topics
JCLC 2012 seeks conference session presentations in all areas of diversity, including, but not limited to, the topics below.  Ideal sessions will either provide insights, skills, tools and strategies that stress solutions, implementation and practical applications; highlight exemplary programs, approaches and models; facilitate constructive dialogue, interaction, and understanding around significant issues affecting conference constituencies; or discuss efforts to create more inclusive environments, programs and curriculum.

 •   Advocacy, Outreach and Collaboration
Marketing; outreach to diverse populations; community collaborations; user spaces; public policy; health education; using census data and other government information; cultural programming; services to and rebuilding of communities hit with disaster; research; undocumented, urban, rural and low-income communities; etc.

•   Collections, Programs and Services
Ethnic and multicultural collections; film and music; information literacy; children’s, youth and adult programming; programs for diverse populations; reference; instruction; grant funded programs; technical services; archives; preservation; documenting traditional knowledge; research; cataloging/subject headings/controlled vocabulary; etc.

•   Deep Diversity and Cultural Exchange (understanding and valuing differences)
Increasing awareness and tolerance of “minorities”; disabilities; gender; celebrating elders; religion; sexual orientation/LGBT populations; nationality; sharing traditional knowledge; serving the incarcerated; immigrant and refugees; cross cultural issues; transnational communities; multiculturalism; best practices and model programs; etc. 

•   Leadership, Management and Organizational Development
Administration; staff development/training; recruitment and retention; leadership; organizational culture; management; cultural competencies; mentoring; assessment; mid-career strategies; staff and paraprofessional issues; conflict resolution and mediation; re-organization and re-structuring; leading during tight economic times; institutional change; research; fundraising; etc.  

•   Technology and Innovation
Teaching and learning; emerging technologies; e-repositories; social networking applications; digitization; equal access for users; library tools; e-books; mobile devices; widgets; mashups; online learning and collaboration; open access movements; social aspects of technology and implications for use; videos; etc.

Session Formats
All sessions are 75 minutes long and may take one of the following formats:

•   Panel
•   Individual Paper/Presentation
•   Roundtable
•   Workshop
•   Poster Session

**JCLC will also accept proposals in different formats (other than those listed above) that will excite, engage and create a new learning environment for conference attendees**

Submission Guidelines
All proposals must be submitted to the Joint Conference of Librarians of Color website at:

All proposals must be received by midnight PST on October 1, 2011.  No late submissions will be accepted.  Notifications of proposal selection will be made on a rolling basis beginning on November 1, 2011 and ending on December 15, 2011.

Selection Criteria
All proposals will be blind reviewed (without author identification) by the JCLC Program Committee.  Proposals are evaluated on quality and clarity of content, uniqueness of topic, relevance to conference attendees, ability to engage the audience, and the relationship of the proposal to the mission of the conference.

Many questions can be answered on the JCLC website at: Questions may also be sent to Alanna Aiko Moore, JCLC Program Committee Chair, at


Call for Proposals: JCLC

The 2nd National Joint Conference of Librarians of Color (JCLC)

“Gathering at the Waters: Celebrating Stories, Embracing Communities”

September 19-23, 2012 Kansas City, Missouri


Call for Proposals Opens on August 1st

Proposals needed for panels, workshops, and roundtables.

Program proposal deadline: September 15, 2011