Relevant Reading

I know. You’re bored and you want to read something thought-provoking, right? No? Too bad. Here’s a short round-up of some relevant links from the last few months:

What’s the Story? Issues of Diversity and Children’s Publishing in the U.K.
“While it is important for children from BME backgrounds to see children like themselves in the books that they read, it is equally important for young people from other backgrounds to read about children who are different from themselves, and not just in issue-based books which focus on race or difference. Rudine Sims Bishop articulated the influential theory of books acting as both mirrors and windows in her influential essay, “Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors.” She writes, “When there are enough books available that can act as both mirrors and windows for all our children, they will see that we can celebrate both our differences and our similarities, because together they are what make us all human” (Sims Bishop)…”

Industry Q&A with publisher Donna Bray
“Sadly, I simply do not get many submissions from writers of diverse backgrounds. There are probably many reasons for this – the publishing establishment (editors and agents) is largely white (and what might be called “elite” – upper-middle and upper-class; the lack of class and economic diversity is a whole other problem in this industry, but I digress…). Diverse writers may have less access or exposure to the publishing process…”

On Privilege and (a Lack of) Diversity on My Bookshelves
It is important to learn about and talk about the wider systemic, institutional problems with racism in publishing and society in general. But I cannot be an ally without examining how my own personal choices are reinforcing the oppression I profess to oppose, and then changing those behaviors…

And, of course, this is always worth a rewatch:
Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story
“And when I began to write…I wrote exactly the kinds of stories I was reading. All my characters were white and blue-eyed. They played in the snow. They ate apples. And they talked a lot about the weather, how lovely it was that the sun had come out. Now, this despite the fact that I lived in Nigeria. I had never been outside Nigeria. We didn’t have snow. We ate mangoes. And we never talked about the weather, because there was no need to….

What this demonstrates, I think, is how impressionable and vulnerable we are in the face of a story, particularly as children. Because all I had read were books in which characters were foreign, I had become convinced that books, by their very nature, had to have foreigners in them, and had to be about things with which I could not personally identify…”

Share