Grassroots organization files for incorporation as a non-profit organization in the state of Pennsylvania, and welcomes its first advisory board members, authors Grace Lin, Jacqueline Woodson, Matt de la Peña, Cynthia Leitich Smith, and Cindy Pon
New York City, NY (July 28, 2014) More than just a hashtag, We Need Diverse Books is a grassroots organization created to address the lack of diverse, non-majority narratives in children’s literature. We Need Diverse Books is committed to the ideal that embracing diversity will lead to acceptance, empathy, and ultimately equality. Its mission is to promote or amplify diversification efforts and increase visibility for diverse books and authors, with a goal of empowering a wide range of readers in the process.
In order to accomplish its mission, We Need Diverse Books reaches out to individuals and groups involved in many levels of children’s publishing—including but not limited to publishers, authors, distributors, booksellers, librarians, educators, parents, and students. “Incorporating will give us the legitimacy and standing we need to move forward with our mission,” says Lamar Giles, VP of Communications. “We have many exciting projects in the works.”
In addition to a Diversity Festival planned for 2016, We Need Diverse Books plans to initiate a grant program to support diverse authors, bring Diversity into the Classroom with collaborations with First Book and the National Education Association, and develop a “diversity toolkit” for librarians and booksellers.
Inaugural advisory board members includes Grace Lin, Jacqueline Woodson, Matt de la Peña, Cynthia Leitich Smith, and Cindy Pon. “Each of these members has a history of advocating for diverse books, and is a pioneer in the field of children’s literature. They will not only increase our visibility as an organization, but light the way going forward,” said Ellen Oh, President of We Need Diverse Books.
On the heels of its enormously successful panel at the inaugural Book Con, the We Need Diverse Books team has been invited by the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association (NAIBA) to present the first ever diverse author signing and reception, and present panels at the Baltimore Book Festival, National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), the American Library Association (ALA), and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), among others.
In 1947, Dr. Marie Daly became the first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. in Chemistry when she graduated from Columbia University. A trailblazer in the field of biochemistry, Dr. Daly researched the connection between high cholesterol and heart disease. #WomenInSTEM (Photo courtesy of Albert Einstein College of Medicine, D. Samuel Gottesman Library Archives)
When you say you’re a feminist…I hope you really know what that means. It means standing up for women of color.
Standing by black women who must deal with being referred to as welfare queens or ratchet.
Being a feminist is standing beside immigrant women who deal with wage theft, unsafe working conditions, and being referred to as leaving anchor babies in America.
It means standing beside Native American women who face domestic violence and rape at unprecedented rates.
It means standing beside Muslim women who choose to live out their faith and face Islamaphobia, sexism and ignorance constantly.
It means standing beside Asian women who have been misrepresented in the media to be thought of as only submissive and quiet.
Please recognize that feminism impacts the lives of every single one of these groups…but we are all women
Pointe by Brandy Colbert (Penguin, $17.99). Four years after Theo’s best friend, Donovan, disappeared at age thirteen, he is found and brought home and Theo puts her health at risk as she decides whether to tell the truth about the abductor, knowing her revelation could end her life-long dream of becoming a professional ballet dancer. “At its heart, Pointe is about a girl’s emerging awareness of having been manipulated by someone she believed she loved. Fresh and poignant, Pointe is a fabulous read!” –Morris Award-winning author Stephanie Kuehn. Read Stephanie’s full review! Ages 14+
Check out more of our staff summer reading recommendations here!