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


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


  • 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


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. blog. Retrieved from

At the 2016 ALA Annual Conference, author Tameka Fryer Brown presented the Cooperative Children’s Book Center’s (CCBC) multicultural publishing statistics during the panel “Celebrating Diversity: The Brown Bookshelf Salutes Great Books for Kids.” She displayed Tina Kügler’s oft-cited 2012 infographic, with the comment that even though the numbers are now 4 years old, the image communicated inequity in publishing so well that she would use it at every opportunity.

Just before ALA Annual, St. Catherine University MLIS Program assistant professor Sarah Park Dahlen had posted to Facebook asking if anyone knew of an updated illustration, but Kügler’s was the only one anyone knew about. Friends said they would be happy to support an illustrator to create an update. Author/teacher Molly Beth Griffin saw Sarah’s post and queried her Twin Cities Picture Book Salon to see if anyone would be interested; David Huyck (pronounced “hike”) responded, and a project was born.

The Minnesota children’s literature community is a vibrant group. Although it is comprised mainly of white authors, illustrators, and editors, many are working to promote anti-biased and anti-racist children’s literature, support writers and artists from underrepresented communities, and remove barriers to inclusivity. In the spirit of this collaborative ethic and allyship, for the past couple months, David, Sarah, and Molly have been working together to produce an illustration that communicates updated and more detailed CCBC data. Emails have been flying back and forth – Sarah sent David a few links (including Debbie Reese’s storify of K.T. Horning’s SLJ webinar), David dug deeper and sent back questions and sketches, Molly and Sarah offered feedback, and Sarah consulted K.T. Horning, Debbie Reese, Edith Campbell, and Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, and round and round the conversation went, until…


Link to JPG & PDF files2015 Diversity in Children’s Books – Dropbox Folder
Recommended citation: Huyck, David, Sarah Park Dahlen, Molly Beth Griffin. (2016 September 14). Diversity in Children’s Books 2015 infographic. blog. Retrieved from

David created this with a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 license so that Tameka, Sarah, and others working toward equity in children’s literature publishing may freely use it. We hope that this infographic, along with Lee & Low’s Diversity Gap blog posts, Debbie Reese’s blog American Indians in Children’s Literature, Edith Campbell and Zetta Elliott’s blogs, We Need Diverse Books, Reading While White, and other diversity initiatives, can help push forward important conversations and lead to real change in children’s literature publishing.

We thank our many friends who generously donated to compensate David for his work, and we thank David for his thoughtful and creative image.

David Huyck, Illustrator

Sarah Park Dahlen, Assistant Professor at St. Catherine University’s MLIS Program

Molly Beth Griffin, Author and Teacher

NOTE: I published a “Picture This Follow Up”

The Twin Cities will be hosting award-winning author, academic, and activist Zetta Elliott from Tuesday, September 13 to Saturday, September 17, 2016, for a series of panels, and school and library visits. The following events are free and open to the public.

A Week with Zetta Elliott – Events


Inclusivity and Indie Authors: The Case for Community-Based Publishing

Hosted by the St. Catherine University Master of Library and Information Science Program and its American Library Association Student Chapter, Progressive Librarians Guild, and Student Governance Organization & Dr. Sarah Park Dahlen
Tuesday September 13 @ 7:00 pm
St. Catherine University – Mendel 106
2004 Randolph Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55105
Flyer: ZettaElliott-StKatesMLISProgram-Flyer

Inclusivity and Indie Authors: The Case for Community-Based Publishing

Hosted by Ancestry Books & the Center for Earth, Energy, and Democracy
Friday, September 16 @ 10:00 am
Lucy Laney Elementary
3333 Penn Ave N
Minneapolis, MN 55412
10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Facebook (please RSVP):

Zetta Elliott Reading & Panel Discussion on Elevating Absent Narratives

Saturday, September 17 @ 7:00 pm
The Loft Literary Center
1011 S Washington Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Zetta will also conduct workshops with Juxtaposition Arts and visit with students at Lucy Laney Elementary School, Bancroft Elementary School, Gordon Parks High School, Vadnais Heights Elementary School, and Maplewood Middle School.

Reading List

  1. Zetta Elliott’s books:
  2. Elliott, Zetta. (2009 September 5). Something Like an Open Letter to the Children’s Publishing Industry. Zetta Elliott Blog.
  3. Atkins, Laura. (2010). White Privilege and Children’s Publishing: A Web 2.0 Case Study. Write4Children 1(2). Winchester University Press.
  4. Elliott, Zetta. (2011 May 25). Breaking Down Doors: My Self Publishing Story. The Huffington Post.
  5. Elliott, Zetta. (2012 July 2). Trayvon – Killed By an Idea. The Huffington Post.
  6. Díaz, Junot. (2014 April 30). MFA vs. POC. The New Yorker.
  7. Low, Jason. (2016 January 26). Where is the Diversity in Publishing? The 2015 Diversity Baseline Survey Results. The Open Book.
  8. Elliott, Zetta. (2016 February 1). How It Feels to be Self Published Me. Publishers Weekly.
  9. Lee, Paula Young. (2016 February 18). ‘Your manuscript is not a good fit’: How ‘we need diverse books’ can move beyond wishful thinking. Salon.
  10. Kwaymullina, Ambelin. (2016 February 22.) Writing While Black/Writing While Indigenous: Two Voices Speak on Literature, Representation and Justice. Zetta Elliott Blog.
  11. Elliott, Zetta. (2016 February 23). Writing While Black/Writing While Indigenous: Part 2. Zetta Elliott Blog.
  12. Elliott. (2016 April 5). What’s LOVE Got To Do With It? Self-Publishing as a Black Feminist Act of Radical Self-Care. The Huffington Post Books.
  13. Horning, K.T. (2016 July 21). SLJ Diversity Course: Keynote Lecture webinar. School Library Journal.
  14. Reese, Debbie. (2016 July 21). KT Horning’s Keynote for SLJ’s Diversity CourseStorify.

This week-long series of events is co-hosted by Ancestry Books, University of Minnesota Libraries Archie Givens, Sr. Collection of African American Literature/Umbra: Search African American History, Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy, Bancroft Elementary School, The Loft Literary Center, Minnesota Humanities Center, and the St. Catherine University Master of Library and Information Science Program and its American Library Association Student Chapter, Progressive Librarians Guild, and Student Governance Organization.

Contact: Shannon Gibney (

Check out the UMN’s write-up regarding Zetta’s week in MN:


I spent the past weekend conferencing in Orlando, Florida. Honestly, I didn’t even want to be there. After the Trayvon Martin verdict, I was so infuriated I didn’t want to spend any of my dollars in Florida. But then Matt de la Peña won the Newbery Award, and Laura Ruby won the Printz Award. So when YALSA president Candice Mack invited me to serve on her President’s Program task force, my dean and I agreed I should go to the American Library Association’s (ALA2016 annual conference. So I did, and I always mean to blog after a conference, and this time I finally did.

Thursday, June 23

Thursday morning started with running into St. Kate’s MLIS student Tasha McLachlan (she did the ALASC Student-to-Staff Program!) and St. Kate’s alum Sara Zettervall (who founded the St. Kate’s MLIS Program’s ALASC and who herself also did the Student-to-Staff Program – apparently our program is full of rock stars!) at the airport. Of course, then we saw Chelsea Couillard-Smith, who is the youth collection development librarian at Hennepin County Library.

Upon landing, my original plan was to rush to my hotel to drop off my stuff before going to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but I’ve been twice already (I know, I know – long story), so I decided to stick around and hang out with friends.  Rob Bittner and Melanie Koss and I had lunch together, and then I went to Disney Springs (the destination formerly known as Downtown Disney) for dinner with Chelsea, Sarah Okner (who I knew from the University of Illinois then-GSLIS and the Department of Asian American Studies), and her colleagues. It was a warm and glorious evening, and I am thankful for the serendipitous opportunity to spend more time with Chelsea, and of course to see Sarah again.

Late lunch with Rob Bittner

Chelsea and me at Disney Springs

Friday, June 24

I’d been looking forward to Friday morning all week. Debbie Reese, author of the American Indians in Children’s Literature blog, had connected me with author Justine Larbalestier, who had just posted a blog post titled “How to Write Protagonists of Colour When You’re White.” My work BFF, Jamie Naidoo, who was delayed arriving in Orlando (and also was the 2016 ALA Achievement in Library Diversity Research honoree – yay!) the night before, also joined us for breakfast, and talking with these two amazing people was a pretty awesome way to start the conference.

Breakfast with author Justine Larbalestier

After breakfast I delivered St. Kate’s promotional materials to the ALISE booth. I forgot my exhibitor badge but the kind security man let me in anyway, after cracking some jokes. I ran into him every day in the exact same spot, and I have to say, his warm, welcoming smile and humor are some of my favorite memories.

In the late morning, I met up with Sara Zettervall again. She – as part of ALA The Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and Librarians Build Community – had helped coordinate some of the volunteer service opportunities, so together with a few other folks we went to help with the Orange County Library System Summer BreakSpot at the Hiawassee Branch. This program provides lunch to over 100 kids every weekday; we learned from the branch manager that some libraries are in communities where the poverty rate is 70-90%. If these kids don’t get lunch at the library, they may go hungry, and I hope we all know that it’s hard for hungry kids to play and read and learn and grow.

Summer BreakSpot at Haiwassee Library

Finally, finally, finally after years of communicating through email and social media, as well as sending back and forth books and chocolate, I met Tu Books editor Stacy Whitman. She invited me to dinner with Kimberly Reid, author of Perfect Liars – I’m about 2/3 through. It was a delicious dinner, made better by the conversation and company. Kimberly is fun and talkative, and she is married to a Korean man, so we talked about race and family, among other things. Also, her protag’s love interest is a Korean guy. #WootWoot

I was sorry to leave the dinner abruptly, but I had to book it to Booklist & YALSA’s Michael L. Printz Program and reception because my friend Laura Ruby won the Printz Award for Bone Gap! Laura’s acceptance speech was beautiful and funny and honest, just like Laura. I tweeted one of my favorite lines from her speech, a line that many readers and librarians and educators have said, but is worth repeating, because libraries make readers:

Author Anne Ursu was there to support her best friend, and I (re)met Jordan Brown, editor extraordinaire.

That Laura Ruby!

Honor winner Ashely Hope Pérez

The evening ended with cupcakes, smiles, and hugs.

Saturday, June 25

Saturday morning started on a more solemn note than did Friday morning. The Pulse Memorial began at 8 am, with REFORMA and GLBT Roundtable officers reading statements, which were very moving (see also REFORMA’s statement they posted earlier in the week). They were followed by a long moment of silence as the 49 victims’ names scrolled across a screen and a brief speech by Congressman John Lewis, who was already scheduled to join us at ALA to promote his graphic novel, March: Book Three. I followed the #SitIn from last week,  and it meant a lot that he was there.

#PulseOrlando #OrlandoStrong #OrlandoUnited

Also… I asked taxi/uber/lyft drivers how they were coping in the aftermath of #PulseOrlando. The first time I asked, our driver said one of the guys he does game night with lost his son. The next driver I asked shared that he lost like 12 people. After that I stopped asking, and just said I hope everyone is doing okay, and we’re glad to be here to support. And I meant it.

The next event on Saturday morning was a poster session with MLIS students Antonio Backman and Chayse Sundt. Our poster was titled “Increasing Diversity in Young Adult Collections: An Urban Public Library Analysis” and is based on research they began in my LIS 7010 Introduction to Library and Information Science class, and which we are extending into a larger project.

MLIS students Antonio Backman and Chayse Sundt

The session I attended in the early afternoon was “Finding Yourself on the Shelves: Diversity in Ethnicity and Language for Your Teens.” The content from authors I respect and admire was great but the Q&A needed to be better moderated. One person asked whether putting “multicultural” stickers on books was racist. Um, ma’am, do you have “white” stickers on all your other books? Another said she’d been demanding Muslim books for her 2 boys for years, and why wasn’t the publishing industry listening?

Welcome to our world.

“Finding Yourself on the Shelves”

Later, Lee & Low Books Publisher Jason Low and I presented on the 2015 Diversity Baseline Survey (DBS). Someone from the ALA Office of Statistics was also supposed to present along with us, but she didn’t show up, and Jason and I had no problem filling the time. Our audience – small though it was – also asked good questions. One new Spectrum Scholar (yay!) asked what s/he could do as a new student, and I told her she had a lot of power – demand diverse curriculum, put pressure on publishers, use social media to get the word out, etc. It meant a lot to me that my student Tasha, former student (Illinois) Amita Lonial, Pat Enciso, and new friend Sam Bloom were all in the audience.

As soon as our session ended, I ran to a different building for The Brown Bookshelf‘s celebration panel. One thing about both the DBS and BBS panel – they were located somewhat inconveniently. And the BBS panel’s room was way too small. It’s the kind of panel that should have been centrally located and better promoted because the work these folks are doing is tremendous. The panelists talked about the history of African American children’s books, issues in the publishing industry, facilitated a Q&A, and ended with a celebration. Unfortunately, I had to leave just as the celebratory part was about to begin.

The Brown Bookshelf celebration

The APALA awards dinner was held off-site, so I went straight from the BBS panel to meet my APALA friends (and roommates!) for a ride. I couldn’t attend the earlier session, “From Vietnam to Syria: Refugees, Their Stories, and Needs,” which was co-sponsored by APALA, International Relations Roundtable (IRRT), the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), and REFORMA because it was the same time as the poster session. APALA recently changed their award criteria so that only authors of Asian descent are eligible for the award – this change was welcomed by everyone I spoke with, and I hope we will keep it that way. Because #OwnVoices.

Viet Nguyen, scholar and author of the award-winning The Sympathizer

with my friend and author Jenny Han

Clara and her partner Rodolfo

iSchool at Illinois family at APALA!

As I was leaving APALA, Justine beckoned me to join her at the WNDB reception, so I went and met some folks who I’ve admired from afar but hadn’t had the opportunity to meet. And – this is becoming a pattern – I was once again in the same room as Sona and Dhonielle and failed to have a copy of their book. Someday I will get their autographs.

Sunday, June 26

If you were at the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Breakfast, you know why this was one of the BEST events of ALA.

Christian Robinson won an illustrator honor for Last Stop on Market Street, as did R. Gregory Christie for The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth, and Harlem’s Greatest Bookstore (the picture book version of No Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and Work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem Bookseller by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson).

One of my favorite quotes: “Don’t get took! Read a book!

Christian Robinson

All the acceptance speeches were powerful (how often do you get to hear from Malcolm X’s daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz?!! and Kekla Magoon!! Also, Rita Williams-Garcia is the BEST – love love love her trilogy and love how she kept dancing on stage!), but it was Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely‘s speeches for All American Boys that had me. Some tweets:

From where I was sitting (with Rob Bittner and Kwame Alexander‘s family!) I could see Jason’s mom. He talked about how he was teased for being a boy with feelings, and it wasn’t until his grandfather passed away that he saw tears flow forth from his parents; they just broke open. His mom was weeping nonstop through her son’s speeches. It was beautiful and powerful and wonderful.

[Update – link updated: Edith Campbell just sent me a link to Jason’s speech,”Machetes,” and I am undone all over again.]

One of the best sessions I attended was “Not Your Granny’s Dinner Conversation: Diversity, Race, Sex and Gender,” moderated by friend, librarian, and blogger Edith Campbell and featuring my work BFF Jamie Naidoo, scholar Pat Enciso, publisher Jason Low, and authors and illustrators Dan Santat, Varian Johnson, Kelly Starling Lyons, and Ashley Hope Pérez. Edi had fantastic, thoughtful questions for each person on the panel, so Dan talked about the power of the image, Jamie commented on #PulseOrlando specifically as they relate to both LGBT and Latinx books, Jason spoke about publishing, and Varian, Ashley, and Kelly answered questions regarding diverse books. For example:

Remember when Malindo Lo published her fantastic essay, “Perceptions of Diversity in Book Reviews“? We all need to remember:

In response to the notion that social media is creating unsafe spaces for tough conversations, Pat said:

And she is right. We need to have tough conversations to address tough topics, to dismantle oppression. Oppression isn’t pretty, so there’s no easy way to be polite as we call out racism, sexism, classism, etc. Being polite in Greensboro didn’t work. Being polite on buses didn’t work. Being polite does not keep one alive (see Jesse Williams’ BET speech: “But freedom is somehow always conditional here. ‘You’re free,’ they keep telling us, ‘but she would have been alive if she hadn’t acted so free.’“)

“Not Your Granny’s Dinner Conversation”

After the panel, some of us rushed to lunch with Reading While White blogger librarians. It was amazing, and I felt honored to be in that space with allies and friends.

We spent the afternoon celebrating Pura Belpré‘s 20th anniversary, and what a celebration it was! Singers, dancers, writers, artists, readers! It was a beautiful, beautiful afternoon.

Edith Campbell, Junko Yokota, Pat Enciso and me

The evening began with my student Chayse and me attending the University of Illinois iSchool LSAA Annual Meeting and Alumni Reception, which lucky for me was in the same hotel as the Newbery/Caldecott/Wilder banquet. A few months ago I found out that I had been nominated for and chosen to receive the LSAA Leadership Award, partly because of the work I did with Lee & Low Books on the 2015 Diversity Baseline Survey. I was extremely humbled to be selected for this award, especially because I know many of my peers are doing very important work in our/their fields. And it was great seeing my professors, friends, and colleagues.

Friend and LSAA president Donna LaFollette

I feel like there isn’t much to say about the Newbery / Caldecott / Wilder Banquet. Matt’s speech was everything, and hardly anyone tweeted during it because we were hanging on to his every word. For example, he said:

I was proud to see the books carve out a real presence in schools with diverse populations. But when I visited the more affluent schools, the private schools, my books were harder to find. Either they were set aside on the “Diverse Books” shelf, or they weren’t there at all. This frustrated me. And why was it so common for me to see a class full of Mexican kids reading The Great Gatsby when I almost never saw a class of white kids reading Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass?

Why not?

And then he said something that I’ve been mis-attributing!

At one of the big national conferences, a librarian approached me outside an event space and excitedly introduced herself. “I want you to know,” she told me, “that I really like your books. I mean, we don’t have those kinds of kids at our school, so we don’t stock many of them, but I want you to know how much I appreciate your work.”

“No, I totally get it, ma’am,” I said. “Out of curiosity, though, how many wizards do you have at your school?” (Shout-out to Tim Federle!)

I use that wizard and hobbit and vampire line too, but I didn’t know Tim Federle said it first!! I hereby publicly apologize for never attributing the correct source, and promise to do so forever after.

For the second year in a row, I sat with my We Need Diverse Books friends at the Newbery dinner, and Matt gave us and REFORMA a special shoutout. Near the end of his speech, YALSA president Candice Mack ran over to Heawon and me, tears in her eyes, and said she wanted to share this moment with us. #AllTheFeels

I think that’s what Matt wants too. He didn’t believe that there could be room for people like him in publishing, and the work he does breaking down walls makes space for all of us. The Newbery is his, but we share in his win because we all win when one of us wins.

Award-winning author Matt de la Peña

That is one thing I’d like to see more of in the future. It was great that APALA and REFORMA did a joint program. I was really glad to be at The Brown Bookshelf’s panel and the Pura Belpré celebration. But I would also have liked to go to AILA’s award reception and hear Tim Tingle‘s acceptance speech and Joseph Marshall III’s acceptance speeches. I would have liked to see more non-Asians at the APALA awards dinner. I would have liked to see more white people at all of these events. And I would like ALA to make it so that our events don’t overlap, that our events aren’t so prohibitively expensive and inaccessible, to make it easier and more affordable to be members of all ethnic caucuses. Because we have shared struggles, because we can and should learn from and with one another, and because we want to and should celebrate together as well.

[Side note: check out this MPR interview Matt and I did together in February, and the photos from when we hosted Matt and Christian’s Last Stop on Market Street book tour in May.]

Monday, June 27

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the ALA post office is the place to meet nice people. The post office employees got there early to set up boxes and make it easier for us to move through the line. People shared pens, tape, stories. I ran into several friends, most notably Carla Reimer, who headed our YALSA President’s Program task force. We looked at each other’s outfits and laughed; we were both thinking, “I’m relieved to see you’re wearing jeans and a t-shirt to our program. It’s the last day of ALA and I am tired.”

After sending 3 boxes of books to my office (shhh… don’t tell my husband how many books I got!), I took one last stroll through the exhibit hall. It was worth it – I picked up an ARC of Laurie Halse Anderson‘s Ashes and had a great conversation with Lerner’s Carol Hinz. I also ran into my student Chayse, who joined me for the rest of the day until I left for the airport.

My last official event was the YALSA President’s Program – 3-2-1 Impact! We had the honor of curating and inviting programs that had influence and impact regarding diversity and inclusion. I was really taken by STeP, which provides life skills for teen moms. They are doing excellent, important work.

Jamie and me!

Lunch with my new friend Gloria

After a final lunch with Chayse, Gloria, and Jamie, I went to the ALSC Charlemae Rollins’ President’s Program on library spaces. I got there late, but it was interesting to learn about how the environment affects learning, playing, etc. At least I got to say a final goodbye to Nina Lindsay and some other friends, plus my St. Kate’s students and I took this photo!

Tasha McLachlan, Chayse Sundt, and me

And then the airport, I ran into Clara Chu and her partner, my MLIS colleague Tony Molaro, Tu Books Stacy Whitman, Ramsey librarian Anna Haase Kruegger, and RWW blogger and librarian Sam Bloom. It was a lovely way to end the conference. I got home after midnight, but the next day I got my kid to daycare on time and was at work by 9 am. Jason Reynolds said, “If you doing this work, this award is yours too,” so, because there is work to be done, I went to work. Our award is equity. Our award is justice. Our award is freedom. “Clap CLAP.


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