Dog-Eared: March 2017

Sad news: acclaimed Ojibwe author Richard Wagamese died on March 10, 2017. He was 61.

Look for this: Black Girl’s Magazine was created by black middle school girls aged 9 to 13 living in the Greater Toronto Area. Since they weren’t being represented by existing magazines, they created their own. The first issue was published in June 2016. BGM is still making headlines.

Amid all the kerfuffle this month over sensitivity readers (which ought to raise a kerfuffle over the arrogant bigotry of those who cry “censorship” at any suggestion that they might, perhaps, learn from others and might, perhaps, *gasp* be wrong), here are a few voices of reason:

Anna McQuinn’s thoughtful, thorough post on sensitivity readers (more accurately, Lee & Low’s term: cultural consultants).

Kate Milford, author of Greenglass House, on why she uses sensitivity readers (in the plural – multiple readers for each book).

Lee & Low’s post on why they consult cultural experts.

Everdeen Mason’s post balances the necessity of sensitivity readers with the concerns of author and sensitivity reader Dhonielle Clayton.

Writing in the Margins offers a mentorship program for emerging authors from marginalized groups as well as a sensitivity reader database. Writing in the Margins was created by author Justina Ireland.

Professional photographer and author Krista Ewert launched a kickstarter to fund the re-release and new illustration of her book This Is Ella, which introduces her daughter, Ella, who has Down Syndrome, to her new classmates. The kickstarter was fully funded within three days and will be open until April 21st, 2017.

 

Interested in statistics on who is writing about whom? Martha Parravano from The Cooperative Children’s Book Centre discusses the CCBC’s 2016 diversity statistics with Kathleen Horning. The interview includes a revealing chart of the ethnic backgrounds of authors and illustrators whose books were published in 2016:

  • books published by authors of a given ethnicity
  • books published about characters of this ethnicity
  • books published by but not about authors of this ethnicity [“Books by authors and illustrators of color which are not explicitly about their own ethnicity.”]

There’s so much more that can be done if we look more deeply into the numbers in terms of examining what is — and isn’t — being published. How many of the books by Native American and First Nations writers are being published by small Canadian presses versus large U.S. publishers (answer: most), and why is that? How many of the books about African American males deal with sports or jazz musicians, and what does that say about what we value? Why do so many Asian authors choose not to write or illustrate Asian characters? How are we nurturing the next generation of authors and illustrators who will follow in the footsteps of book creators like Jason Reynolds and Yuyi Morales? We know they are out there right now, sitting in (most likely) public-school classrooms. What are they seeing in the books they’re reading?