Wednesday, April 30, 2014

#WeNeedDiverseBooks - For My Family and Yours

This is my family.

We don't look like every other family on the block. We don't look like any family on the block, or any family that we know. We are okay with that - we are who we are, we love each other, and we are very happy.

But we do feel, on many occasions, that it would be nice to see ourselves reflected in the pages of the books we read.

And I know we're not alone in that. While there are some fantastic diverse books out there, it does take work to find them. It should not be that hard for a child to open a book and see all kinds of people represented - especially people who look like them, and like their family.

Enter the We Need Diverse Books Campaign. Conceived as a reaction to coming events at BookCon, the We Need Diverse Books project aims to communicate to publishers and decision makers the demand for books that represent ALL readers.  By coordinating activities via social media, the hope is to demonstrate how critical it is for kids to see themselves in the pages of the books they read.

The best part is - YOU can participate in this initiative as well. Over the next three days, May 1-3, let your voice be heard on this subject. Buy books to Diversify Your Shelves. Donate diverse books to your classroom or library. Take a photo of your family with a sign that tells why diverse books are necessary. Write a blog post, tweet, post a photo on Instagram or Facebook - find a way to shout to the world how important it is to have more books that mirror our world. No matter what you do, use the hashtag #WeNeedDiverseBooks to add your voice to the conversation!

The team of brilliant authors, publishers and industry peeps behind this initiative, spearheaded by Ellen Oh, is listed here. Go check out these folks - follow them, read their blogs, buy their books and tell them how important this issue is to you! I'll be sharing as much as I can, through posts on Twitter and Facebook. And of course, we will continue to feature reviews on diverse books here on the blog.

My hope? That there will grow to be so many diverse titles on the shelves at my library and bookstore that we'll open a book purely by chance and read about a family that looks like ours. Not today - but maybe, if we keep the message going, someday soon.

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