I wanted to write “Happy Friday!” but it just didn’t happen – 2 Fridays in a row. Since this was the second time I missed a Friday, I decided I better not wait another week.
I’ve been swamped with work, but I have read numerous tweets, posts, and e-mails about diversity in literature for children and young adults. The topic is not new. It has been discussed on Rutgers Child Lit Listserv for weeks and on several occasions prior to this. (Often from the perspective of should an author who doesn’t belong to culture XYZ write from the perspective of the XYZ culture)
The tweets, posts, etc. that I’ve read focus on the need for diversity in books so readers of every culture, color, faith, size, and ability can a find a character they identify with. Books that reflect cultures and experiences they know well. (Albeit I also saw lots of people using this topic as an opportunity to market their books.) Basically, it comes down to representation, to finding people like yourself in books.
I would like to see more diversity in publishing too, but for a reason I haven’t seen shared yet. I am a white woman who has always lived in the Northeast region of the US. (Although I think most people call Jersey mid-Atlantic, if we quarter the country I’m still in the Northeast.) When I travel in or out of this country, I try to read the local newspapers and magazines and watch the local news. Sadly, I’m not multilingual, so that isn’t always possible. When it is, I do it because I think it gives me a better understanding of the local people and culture.
When I read well-written books with characters of cultures or abilities different than my own, I’m able to see the situation from a different perspective. If I’m really lucky, I get to see the ties that bind us all as one humanity. It takes the limitations off my world.
So my 140 characters or less reason for wanting more diversity in publishing:
Books from other cultures let me see the world in a whole new way and appreciate the ties that bind us.
Have a wonderful week and if you want to see more diversity in books, go buy a book written in a culture different than yours – money talks.