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I’ve been attending the American Library Association (ALA) Annual and Midwinter conferences and Children’s Literature Association‘s (ChLA) annual conferences for more than 10 years. This year, the two conferences overlapped, and I had already committed to presenting at ALA (and seriously, who can afford both conferences every year?), so I was unable to go to ChLA. But there are some interesting things happening in both spaces that are worth talking about. The demographics of both organizations and related professions have shifted over the years, but they still remain very white (librarianship [88% white], K-12 education [82% white], and publishing [79% white].) For many years we’ve been having conversations and taking action in both associations to “diversify,” to dismantle and re-make and make space for those who aren’t typically there. This has been and continues to be exhausting. Edi is exhausted. April is exhausted. I’m exhausted. But there we were, and here we are, doing the work.

The week before the ALA and ChLA conferences, The Lion and the Unicorn published the essays that my colleagues and I wrote about being Women of Color (WOC) scholars in the majority white #KidLit field (huge thanks to Kate Slater and Karin Westman). Our essays are gathered together under the title #WeNeedDiverseScholars, a nod to the #WeNeedDiverseBooks movement. We submitted these essays last fall; since then, we have been working hard to launch a new peer-reviewed, online, open access journal, Research on Diversity in Youth Literature (RDYL). Our journal makes space for voices and topics that are traditionally underrepresented, rejected, and delegitimized in the academy. Folks’ enthusiastic support of our #WeNeedDiverseScholars essays and new journal has been rewarding, but the whole thing has also been emotionally, psychologically, and intellectually exhausting. But we’re doing the work.

I know folks at the ChLA conference talked about our essays, our journal, the lack of diversity, and the macro and microaggressions toward POC/Native folks and scholarship. Phil Nel blogged about our essays, and ChLA president Kenneth Kidd talked about them in his presidential address. I heard the “Beyond Diversity and Inclusion: Changing the Culture and Practices of ChLA” roundtable, facilitated by some of the most woke members of the association, was legit. It was a packed room. Folks showed up to do the work.

Meanwhile, on Saturday at ALA, Edith Campbell, Jamie Campbell Naidoo, Irania Patterson, and I gave a presentation to a full room of (mostly white and mostly female) children’s librarians about how to more radically interpret the 2015 ALSC competencies. It was thrilling to see so many folks wanting to learn and do the work, but the work isn’t easy or comfortable. In addressing Competency VII, I asked participants to reflect not only on “the effects of racism, ethnocentrism, classism, heterosexism, genderism, ableism, and other systems of discrimination and exclusion within the profession” (Competency VII.5) and in our lives, but also to think about the effects of homogeneity and whiteness. I asked them to think about whether or not they are recruiting and mentoring (Competency VII.8) people who look like me, like Trayvon, like Philando, to LIS, or if they’re recruiting and mentoring more people who look like them. It’s uncomfortable, but let’s ask the questions. Let’s do the work.

I also heard, in different spaces, some white women use[d] the words “inclusive” and “welcoming” to describe our association. The first time, my head whipped up and I did a double take. Remember when novelist Chimananda Adichie told a white man he didn’t get to define racism? It’s not up to the majority to determine whether or not the space is/has become welcoming and inclusive. Those sentiments are aspirational, not reflective. Do we have to remind folks that we’re not there yet, that we haven’t been for a long time? (Thanks, Dr. Nicole Cooke, for addressing this at the Saturday ALSC membership meeting.) But yes, let’s get there. Let’s do the work.

Speaking of not there yet – many folks, especially WOC, who have come up before in both ALA and ChLA have worked hard to make these spaces safe. We thank you for your work and your sacrifices, for smashing ceilings and paving the way. But the way is still long. We’re not there yet, and we won’t be for a long while. Those of us coming up now are still fighting to be seen as human. This is the ongoing work.

So, like Edi and April, I am exhausted. But there remains work to be done, and there are others coming up after us. We see you. We’re here for you. We do the work for you, and for the young people we all serve.

Caldecott and CSK Award winner Javaka Steptoe said in his Caldecott speech, “I ask that we all keep fighting, and that we take this attitude with us in our day-to-day business. Please don’t feel overwhelmed — we can all pick an individual focus, and in this way everything will get accomplished. You will become better. We will become better.” (Here’s his CSK speech).

“We will become better.” I believe this too. And so, exhausted or not, overwhelmed or not, the work continues. We’re doing the work. Let’s get to work.

Please find here a document where our panelists have compiled resources to help with putting the 2015 ALSC Competencies into action: 2017ALSCHandout (PDF)

SAVE THE DATE! 

St. Catherine University’s
Master of Library and Information Science Program presents

National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, MacArthur GENE-IUS, and award-winning graphic novelist
Gene Luen Yang

Asian America in Graphic Novels: An Evening With Gene Luen Yang

Wednesday, July 12, 2017 at 6:30 pm
Jeanne d’Arc Auditorium, Whitby Hall
St. Catherine University
2004 Randolph Ave., St. Paul, MN 55105

 

Yang Gene Luen - American Born ChineseYang-BoxersSaints

Co-hosted by the St. Catherine University Master of Library and Information Science Program, Library, Friends of the Libraries, Education Department, Multicultural & International Programs & ServicesAmerican Library Association Student ChapterProgressive Librarians Guild, Student Governance OrganizationEndowed Mission Chairs, and Addendum Books.

This event is free and open to the public. Parking is free on campus after 5 pm. St. Kate’s campus map.

Contact: Dr. Sarah Park Dahlen, MLIS Program (spark@stkate.edu), for updated event information.

Save the date flyerYangGene-StKatesJuly12-SaveTheDate (please download and share)

RSVP to the Facebook event!

A Gene Luen Yang Reading/Viewing List

  1. Ahlin, Charlotte. (2016 Sept 23). Who Is Gene Luen Yang? 9 Things To Know About The “Genius” Grant-Winning Graphic Novelist. in Bustle.
  2. Benedetti, Angelina and Cindy Dobrez. (2007 Spring). Gene Luen Yang Wins 2007 Printz Award. YALS.
  3. Chaney, Michael A. (2011 Summer). Animal Subjects of Graphic Novels. in College Literature 38(3).
  4. Chen, Irene (Chen Ying-Yu). (2009). Monkey King’s Journey to the West: Transmission of a Chinese Folktale to Anglophone Children. in Bookbird: A Journal of International Children’s Literature 47(1).
  5. Gomes, Cheryl, with James Bucky Carter. (2010). Navigating through Social Norms, Negotiating Place: How American Born Chinese Motivates Struggling Learners. in English Journal 100(2).
  6. Schieble, Melissa. (2014). Reading Images in American Born Chinese through Critical Visual Literacy. in English Journal 103(5).
  7. Serrao, Nivea. (2017 May 2). Fresh Off the Boat: Read pages from the Free Comic Book Day comic. in Entertainment Weekly.
  8. Song, Min Hyoung. (2010 March). “How Good It Is to Be a Monkey”: Comics, Racial Formation, and American Born Chinese. in Mosaic: A Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature 43(1).
  9. Stratman, Jacob. (2016) “How Good It is To Be a Monkey”: Conversion and Spiritual Formation in Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese. in Christianity & Literature 65(4).
  10. Yang, Gene Luen. (2012 July 9). Charlotte Zolotow Lecture 2011 – Gene Luen Yang. UWMadisonEducation.
  11. Yang, Gene Luen, Marek Oziewicz, and Emily Midkiff. (2014 Jan). The “Asian Invasion”: An Interview with Gene Luen Yang. In The Lion and the Unicorn 38(1).
  12. Yang, Gene Luen. (2013 Nov 25). Gene Luen Yang. on Sound and Fury: The Angry Asian Podcast.
  13. Yang, Gene Luen. (2014). A Mistake in The Shadow Hero. DiversityinYA tumblr.
    1. Cavna, Michael. (2014 Dec 9). THE SHADOW HERO’: Author Gene Luen Yang admits research error through new comic. The Washington Post.
  14. Yang, Gene Luen. (2016 July 20). Gene Luen Yang Episode #063. on Asian America: The Ken Fong Podcast.
  15. Yang, Gene Luen. (2016 Sept 13). EPISODE 28: CREATING STORIES WITH GENE LUEN YANG. on The Asian American Voice.
  16. Yang, Gene Luen. (2016 Sept 21). Graphic Novelist Gene Luen Yang | 2016 MacArthur Fellow. MacArthur Foundation.
  17. Yang, Gene Luen. (2016 Dec 2). Why comics belong in the classroom | Gene Yang | TEDxManhattanBeach. Tedx.
  18. Yang, Gene Luen, Greg Pak, Phil Yu, and Jeff Yang. (2017 May 12). Episode 8: They Call Us Gene Luen Yang and Greg Pak. on They Call Us Bruce Podcast.

 

 

scu_logo_cmyk_hires                 Addendum Logo

Here it is! My LIS 7190 Social Justice and Children’s/YA Literature reading list for summer 2017!

Almost-Final Reading List (in alphabetical order)

  1. Alko, Selina. Illustrated by Sean Qualls. The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage
  2. Austrian, J.J.. Illustrated by Mike Curato. Worm Loves Worm
  3. Budhos, Marina. Watched
  4. Charleyboy, Lisa and Mary Beth Leatherdale (eds.) Dreaming in Indian: Contemporary Native American Voices
  5. Cohn, Diana. Illustrated by Francisco Delgado. ¡Sí, Se Puede! Yes We Can! Janitor Strike in LA
  6. Elliott, Zetta. A Wish After Midnight
  7. Favilli, Elena. Illustrated by Francesca Cavallo. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls
  8. Friedman, Darlene. Illustrated by Roger Roth. Star of the Week
  9. Gansworth, Eric. If I Ever Get Out of Here
  10. Gonzalez, Maya Christina. Call Me Tree/Llámame Árbol
  11. Harris, Duchess and Sue Bradford Edwards. Hidden Human Computers
  12. Herrington, John. Mission to Space
  13. Jensen, Kelly (ed.) Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World
  14. Khan, Hena. Amina’s Voice
  15. Lambert, Meghan Dowd. Illustrated by Nicole Tadgell. Real Sisters Pretend
  16. Lester, Julius. Illustrated by Karen Barbour. Let’s Talk About Race
  17. Levine, Ellen. Illustrated by Kadir Nelson. Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad
  18. Levy, Dana Alison. The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher
  19. National Geographic. 1001 Inventions & Awesome Facts From Muslim Civilization
  20. Nelson, Marilyn. Illustrated by Philippe Lardy. A Wreath for Emmett Till
  21. Nelson, Vaunda Micheaux. Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth & Harlem’s Greatest Bookstore
  22. Okorafor, Nnedi. Akata Witch
  23. Perez, Ashley Hope. Out of Darkness
  24. Rhuday-Perkovich, Olugbemisola. Eighth-Grade Superzero
  25. Rivera, Lilliam. The Education of Margot Sanchez
  26. Schatz, Kate. Illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl. Rad American Women A-Z
  27. Schatz, Kate. Illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl. Rad Women Worldwide
  28. Smith, Mychal Denzel. Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching
  29. Starr, Arrigon. Tales of the Mighty Code Talkers #1
  30. Tamaki, Mariko. Illustrated by Jillian Tamaki. Skim
  31. Thomas, Angie. The Hate U Give
  32. Tingle, Tim. Illustrated by Rorex Bridges. Crossing Bok Chitto: A Choctaw Tale of Friendship and Freedom.
  33. Ursu, Anne. Illustrated by Erin McGuire. The Real Boy
  34. Woodson, Jacqueline. Illustrated by E.B. Lewis. Each Kindness
  35. Yang, Gene Luen. Boxers and Saints
  36. Yang, Gene Luen. American Born Chinese
  37. Yogi, Stan and Laura Atkins. Illustrated by Yutaka Houlette. Fred Korematsu Speaks Up
  38. Zoboi, Ibi. American Street

Course Textbook

  1. Naidoo, Campbell Jamie and Sarah Park Dahlen. Diversity in Youth Literature: Opening Doors Through Reading

Readings and Assignments for the First Week of Class

Week 1 ~ June 5 Monday ~ Occupy Children’s Literature: #WeNeedDiverseBooks

Readings

Youth Literature

  • Levine, Ellen. Illustrated by Kadir Nelson. Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad
  • Yogi, Stan and Laura Atkins. Illustrated by Yutaka Houlette. Fred Korematsu Speaks Up

Week 1 ~ June 7 Wednesday ~ Power & Liberation Through the Word

Readings

  • Nodelman, Perry.  (1992). The Other: Orientalism, Colonialism, and Children’s LiteratureChildren’s Literature Association Quarterly 1(17), 29-35.
  • McIntosh, Peggy. (1988). White Privilege:  Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences Through Work on Women’s Studies.
  • Taxel, Joel. (2010). The Economics of Children’s Book Publishing in the 21st Century. Handbook of Research on Children’s and Young Adult Literature. Edited by Shelby Wolf, Karen Coats, Patricia A. Enciso, and Christine Jenkins. Routledge. PDF.

Youth Literature

  • Lester, Julius. Illustrated by Karen Barbour. Let’s Talk About Race
  • Nelson, Vaunda Micheaux. Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth & Harlem’s Greatest Bookstore

diversityinchildrensbooks2015_f

Thank you.

We are blown away by the response to our CCBC infographicMany have long been advocating for diversity in children’s literature; as we’d hoped, this infographic is pushing this work along. Since September 14, the blog post has had over 36,000 views; my initial tweet made over 17,000 impressions; my Facebook post was shared over 10,000 times, including by writers Cynthia Leitich Smith, Zetta Elliott, Mike Jung, Ellen Oh, and Junot Díaz. Professors, teachers, librarians, and students – from K-12 through graduate courses at universities and public libraries across the US and the world – are printing, sharing, displaying, and discussing the infographic.

Of course, with so much visibility came many questions.

Sarah Hannah Gómez pointed out the difference between the white category in the 2012 infographic, and ours, which uses data from 2015. She noted that it may cause folks to think we have made progress. But actually, David included the bunny to show that a significant percentage of children’s literature depicts animals and inanimate objects (trucks, cupcakes, screws, etc.) as protagonists, something CCBC Director KT Horning wrote about in her 2013 blog post “I See White People.” The 2012 infographic, created prior to Horning’s 2013 post, does not reflect this, so the numbers are not exactly aligned.

Many people wondered about categorization. Where are South Asians? Why are Pacific Islanders included with Asians? Where are Jewish people? etc. Categorizing people (and books) into groups is difficult work. After some discussion, we decided to use pretty much the same category titles as the CCBC; you can read more on their website about how they categorize.

The CCBC’s data includes distinct categories for books by, and for books about, each of the demographics they count. The about category may, or may not, include a book in the by category (this happens when an Asian American writer, for example, writes a book that is not about Asian Americans.) For our infographic, we used only the about data. It is vitally important to note that this data does not reflect the quality, accuracy, etc. of the books themselves. It is also vitally important to to note that the number of books about and written and illustrated by #OwnVoices authors is significantly lower.

Our hope is that people will continue to ask questions and do the work that will uncover more information. See Debbie Reese’s post “A Close Look at CCBC’s 2015 Data on Books By/About Americans Indians/First Nations” for one example of how a scholar unpacked the data, and Jerrold Connors’ post “We Need Diverse Books, and How!” for some more graphs. As many have done with our infographic, read everything critically. Who is saying what? What is left unsaid? What more needs to be done?

In short, we still have much work to do.

Note: We made the infographic with a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 license, so you may download a JPF and PDF here.

Recommended citation: Huyck, David, Sarah Park Dahlen, Molly Beth Griffin. (2016 September 14). Diversity in Children’s Books 2015 infographic. sarahpark.com blog. Retrieved from https://readingspark.wordpress.com/2016/09/14/picture-this-reflecting-diversity-in-childrens-book-publishing/

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