Tag Archives: We Need Diverse Books

ALA Midwinter Day 2

22 Jan

I had an early start to my day, rising early for a 6:45 breakfast with National Geographic and Kwame Alexander to celebrate their forthcoming collaboration, Animal Ark.

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The book is a collection of Joel Sartore’s photos and haiku by Kwame Alexander, Mary Rand Hess and Deanna Nikaido. With his passionate words, Kwame inspired us to do what we can to protect the earth.

In spite of the coffee, I was still tired. I felt incredibly jet lagged. And yet, I decided to venture into the exhibit hall. I love this part of a conference. I talked to book people and picked up more arcs than I’d planned, but got a few a I really wanted. I also sat in on a panel of authors who contributed to Flying Lessons, 

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a middle grade anthology of short stories that was just published by  We Need Diverse Books, a grassroots organization of children’s book lovers that advocates essential changes in the publishing industry to produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people.

Lunch was a Simon & Schuster reception showcasing new books, and highlighting Amina’s Voice  by Hena Khan, who was the guest speaker.

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Following that, I returned to the hotel, organized my books and headed off to the Post Office. Tomorrow is a very full day and I probably won’t have time to get ship the books I picked up today. I ran into some fellow Beaverton colleagues on my way out of the exhibits before returning to my hotel for a quiet evening in to rest up for tomorrow.

Success and Survival

11 Aug

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I was excited to pick up Stacey Lee’s sophomore novel Outrun the Moon.  I’d read her debut novel, Under a Painted Sky, as part of my Morris committee work, but can’t comment on it.

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Suffice it to say, I was excited to pick up Stacey Lee’s sophomore novel Outrun the Moon. 

I teach gifted sixth graders who read well above their age level. Sometimes it is hard to find YA novels that are appropriate for 11 year olds. Many have rather mature content. So it is refreshing to find books that are written for an older audience, address important issues AND are suitable for a 6th grade classroom. Both Stacy Lee’s historical fiction novels meet those criteria. Both feature strong Chinese-American female protagonists, also excellent for my majority minority classroom. While Under a Painted Sky  centered on the Oregon Trail, Outrun the Moon is asset during the San Francisco earthquake of  1906.

Publisher’s Summary: San Francisco, 1906: Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong is determined to break from the poverty of Chinatown, and an education at St. Clare’s School for Girls is her best hope. Although St. Clare’s is off-limits to all but the wealthiest white girls, Mercy gains admittance through a mix of cunning and a little bribery, only to discover that getting in was the easiest part. Not to be undone by a bunch of spoiled heiresses, Mercy stands strong—until disaster strikes.

On April 18, a historic earthquake rocks San Francisco, destroying Mercy’s home and school. Now she’s forced to wait with her classmates for their families in a temporary park encampment. Though fires might rage, and the city may be in shambles, Mercy can’t sit by while they wait for the army to bring help—she still has the “bossy” cheeks that mark her as someone who gets things done. But what can one teenage girl do to heal so many suffering in her broken city?

An engaging story about what it takes to succeed and survive.

“The Walter”

22 Jan

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January 20, 2016 (New York) – The We Need Diverse Books™ Walter Award Judges Committee has confirmed selections for the inaugural Walter Dean Myers Award for Outstanding Children’s Literature – Young Adult Category. One winner and two honors have been named.

The Walter Dean Myers Award, also known as “The Walter,” is named for prolific children’s and young adult author Walter Dean Myers (1937 – 2014). Myers was a National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature as well as a champion of diversity in children’s and YA books.

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The winner of the first annual Walter award (2016) is the young adult novel All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely.

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The judges also selected two Walter honor books: Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings by Margarita Engle

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and X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon.

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The Judges Panel reviewed titles published during the 2015 calendar year by diverse authors whose work featured a diverse main character or addressed diversity in a meaningful way. In the case of author pairs (or author-illustrator pairs), at least one member of the pair must be from an underrepresented community. The books covered many genres and included both fiction and nonfiction works. The award’s mission is to honor the memory of Walter Dean Myers and his literary heritage, as well as celebrate diversity in teen literature.

Walter Award Judges Panel: Rita Painter, Rafe Pose, Edi Campbell, Mindy Rhiger, Todd Krueger, Adeeba Rana, Maria Gentle, Christine Taylor-Butler, Lessa Pelayo-Lozada, Dhonielle Clayton and Kathie Weinberg.

 

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