Category Archives: Diversity Links

Diversity Digest – November 2014

By Malinda Lo

Author Jacqueline Woodson with her National Book Award for BROWN GIRL DREAMING
Author Jacqueline Woodson with her National Book Award for BROWN GIRL DREAMING

November is a short month, but it’s been big on diversity news and the month isn’t even over yet. In case you missed it, the incredibly talented Jacqueline Woodson won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature for her memoir in verse, Brown Girl Dreaming, published by Nancy Paulsen Books (Penguin). Jackie was one of the authors who joined Cindy and me for our Diversity Tour back in 2011, and her work has always pushed children’s and YA literature to be more inclusive of diverse experiences. If you missed her recent guest post about Brown Girl Dreaming, check it out here, and buy a copy of her book, too.

Unfortunately, Jackie’s win was marred by racist remarks made by the awards ceremony’s emcee, Daniel Handler (a.k.a. Lemony Snicket), which set off a firestorm of discussion on Twitter and other online forums. In response, Handler apologized and acknowledged that his remarks were racist; he also donated $10,000 to We Need Diverse Books and offered to match donations to the WNDB fundraising campaign up to $100,000. (See the whole story, along with Jackie’s response, at Publishers Weekly.) And guess what? As of Monday, Nov. 24th, WNDB confirmed that Handler is sending them a grand total of $110,000. That’s right! Over $200,000 was raised for WNDB in a period of only 24 hours! Is that incredible or what?

Clearly, a lot of people are putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to diverse books — except there’s still a ways to go. Over at The Horn Book, one of children’s literature’s most prominent review journals, editor Roger Sutton posted a brief accounting of his reaction to Handler’s racist jokes at the National Book Awards. Given the title of Sutton’s post, “Being a White Guy in Children’s Books,” you should expect it to stir up a controversy — and it has.

In the many, many comments, publishing industry pros and authors have offered several nuanced responses to Sutton’s post. It is BRACING READING. While reading the comments is generally a bad idea, especially when it comes to posts about race, I recommend reading the comments this time around. It’s an amazing (and sobering) snapshot of where a lot of people in children’s and YA lit are these days in relation to the diversity discourse that has been saturating the internet lately. One could conclude, glumly, that it shows that we have a long way to go, but while I do think that’s true, the discussion also shows that many smart people are paying attention and trying to make a change.

The fact is, this dialogue that everyone in kids’ and YA lit is having about diversity is hard. And just think: If it’s that hard to talk about it, how much harder is it to change one’s actions?

This is a long, uphill battle. I’m a little tired these days. So I was grateful to read this interview with Jackie Woodson at The Guardian in which she says, “I feel like, as a person of color, I’ve always been kind of doing the work against the tide. … I feel like change is coming, and change sometimes comes too slow for a lot of us. But it comes.”

I really hope that Jackie’s right, and I’m very thankful that WNDB is fighting so hard. And you know, their campaign isn’t over yet. It’s gonna take a lot more than $200,000 to change the publishing industry, so if you haven’t given yet, consider giving now.

Cover Girl

I only found one cover reveal to share this month, but it’s a good one. Coming June 30, 2015, from Arthur A. Levine Books is Daniel José Olders YA debut, Shadowshaper:


Add it to your Goodreads now.

Advice Roundup: Thoughts on How To Do Diversity

Are you a reader who wants more diverse books in your local library but aren’t sure how to get them there? Librarian Angie Manfredi offers advice for how you can talk to your local librarian about diversity.

Are you querying a novel with diverse characters and don’t really know how to mention that in your query letter? Literary agent Amy Boggs of the Donald Maass Literary Agency has some suggestions on how to do it.

Are you a writer who is writing about people who are of a different racial/ethnic background than yourself? MariNaomi at Midnight Breakfast offers some useful tips on Writing People of Color (if you happen to be a person of another color)

Are you a book reviewer who struggles with how to mention a book’s diverse characters? Roger Sutton, editor of The Horn Book, has some thoughts on mentioning race in book reviews. (Yes, this is another post from Roger. Yes, I think this one is worth a read, as well as the comments — seriously, the commenters at The Horn Book are high-quality folks.)

Let’s Make a Deal

Here are some of this month’s diverse book deals. If you have sold a diverse book recently (or in the future!) and want to tell us about it, please email us at

Author Robin Talley (Lies We Tell Ourselves) has sold a contemporary retelling of Macbeth titled As I Descended to Kristen Pettit at HarperCollins. The novel, which Talley describes as “a horror novel,” is set around a lesbian couple at a contemporary Virginia boarding school, and involves some gender-flipping of Shakespeare’s play. It’s due out in summer 2016.

Sarah Everett

Everyone We’ve Been and an untitled second book by debut author Sarah Everett have been acquired by Julia Maguire at Knopf for publication in fall 2016. According to Publishers Weekly, Everyone We’ve Been is “about a girl whose heart is broken so badly she resorts to having her memories erased.”

Future Shock and its sequel by Elizabeth Briggs have been acquired by Wendy McClure of Albert Whitman. The science fiction novels are about “a Latina teenager raised in Los Angeles’s foster care system with an eidetic memory is recruited by a tech company for a mission — a trip 30 years into the future,” and the first book is due out in March 2016 (Publishers Weekly).

Brazen, the third book in Christina Farley’s Gilded series, has been sold to Miriam Juskowicz at Skyscape, for publication in September 2015. The trilogy is about a 16-year-old Korean American girl who battles a god of darkness.

What To Read Next

Robin Talley has a list of her top 7 LGBT young adult characters of color.

Disability in Kid Lit put together several great book lists recently, including YA books with deaf teenagers as main characters, YA modern-day fantasy novels with disabled protagonists, and YA non-contemporary fantasy novels with disabled protagonists.

Want a sneak peek at 2015? Stacked has a list of Fabulously Diverse YA Book Covers We Should See More Often and that will be hitting bookshelves next year.

Think About It

We Need Diverse Books hosted a twitter chat focused on LGBTQ books, and if you missed it you can read the full-length Storified version of the chat here.

Author Cammie McGovern (Say What You Will), has some thoughts on writing “Beyond the Magically (Dis)abled.”

Farrar, Straus and Giroux editor Grace Kendall says nothing is holding her back from publishing diverse books (CBC Diversity).

Ellen Oh, president of We Need Diverse Books, talks about her Prophecy trilogy, WNDB, and exoticism at Bloom. She also reminds us exactly why we need diverse books.

Last But Not Least

November is Native American Heritage Month, so Lee & Low has a list of 10 Children’s Books by Native Writers. WNDB held a #SupportWNDB twitter chat focused on Native American representation in books earlier this month, but if you missed it you can read the Storify version here.

I also have two fresh books with Native American characters to share with you. First is Crazy Horse’s Girlfriend by Erika T. Wurth (Curbside Splendor Publishing), a gritty, contemporary novel about a 16-year-old Native American girl which came out back in September (we missed it back then). Second is Joseph Bruchac’s Rose Eagle, an ebook companion novella to his dystopian thriller Killer of Enemies (Tu Books). Both are available now:

Diversity Digest – October 2014

Welcome to another installment of our Diversity Digest! October has been jam-packed with diversity news, posts, and a zillion awesome book cover reveals, but I want to start off by giving a tip of the hat to DiYA co-founder Cindy Pon who orchestrated our first-ever theme month, focusing on middle grade books.

Diversity in YA obviously focuses on YA, but many librarians and readers have asked us for recommendations for books for younger readers, too. If you missed any of our guest posts from wonderful MG authors such as Jacqueline Woodson, Cece Bell, Sharon G. Flake, or Ami Polonsky, you can catch up on all of them here. And while DiYA readers might not read too much MG, please pass the links on to your friends, colleagues, and kids who do!

Diversity in the News

woodson-browngirlThe National Book Award finalists in Young People’s Literature have been announced, and the books are a very diverse bunch: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, Noggin by John Corey Whaley, The Port Chicago 40: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin, Revolution by Deborah Wiles, and Threatened by Eliot Schrefer. Congratulations to all the NBA finalists!

The Guardian reports on modern fairy tale retellings that reinvent tradition, including Neil Gaiman’s new The Sleeper and the Spindle which includes an illustration of a same-sex kiss, and my lesbian retelling of Cinderella, Ash.

CNN takes a stab at what teens will be reading next, and our own Cindy Pon provides some answers, including one that we really hope is true: diversity!

Meanwhile, YA Highway take stock of The Landscape of YA Lit: A State of the Union, and also concludes: diversity!

Think About It

Awards season is now fully upon us, and We Need Diverse Books issued a request for awards judges to remember that some books about minorities contain problematic story lines or representations.

Here’s a long, thoughtful, and detailed interview with Alaya Dawn Johnson (Love Is the Drug, The Summer Prince) at Gay YA.

Corinne Duyvis (Otherbound) asks if diverse characters are only OK as long as they’re not “too diverse” (The Guardian).

Claudia Guadalupe Martinez writes about Pig Park and the Cosmic Race: Diversity and Identity in My New YA Novel at Latin@s in Kid Lit.

Over at YA Highway in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Samantha Mabry writes that “Books help tell us who we are.”

At the end of Banned Books Week, I blogged about a question I get all the time: Have your books been banned? The answer isn’t as simple as you might think.

Two Girls Kissing & Other Covers I Never Thought I’d See

October brought two cover reveals that take lesbian representation to a new level (finally!) in YA. Coming June 30, 2015, is Dahlia Adler’s Under the Lights (Spencer Hill), a contemporary romance about actors in a teen TV show:


And coming July 14, 2015 is Sarah McCarry’s About a Girl (St. Martin’s Griffin), a genre-bending twist on Medea and two girls (who are not white!) falling in love:


Read more about the cover for About a Girl at MTV News.

October also brought a fresh new interpretation on representing gender via the cover for I.W. Gregorio’s None of the Above (Balzer + Bray), coming April 28, 2015:


Read a Q&A with the book’s art director and designer at The Book Smugglers.

Here are a few more covers for upcoming diverse books to keep your eye on:

oct2014-newcovers1 oct2014-newcovers2

What To Read Next

Just in time for Halloween, Lee & Low offers a list of Thirteen Scary YA Books: Diverse Edition.

canales-tequilawormThe Day of the Dead, or El Día de Muertos, is observed in Mexican communities this weekend, and YALSA has some suggestions for YA books that incorporate this holiday.

Stacked put together a YA reading list for Hispanic Heritage Month (it was Sept. 15-Oct. 15) featuring books written by Hispanic authors or featuring Hispanic characters.

Teen Librarian Toolbox rounds up a list of new LGBT YA books released this fall.

Book Riot serves up 5 South Asian YA titles to read as well as a list for Coming Out and Coming of Age: YA LGBTQ Books.

Looking for the best books by or about American Indians? Check out the lists on American Indians in Children’s Literature.

The Guardian offers a UK-focused list of their 50 best culturally diverse children’s books.

Flow charts more your speed than lists? We Need Diverse Books has created a diverse YA flow chart, and here’s one at YALSA’s The Hub focusing on contemporary diverse YA.

Let’s Make a Deal

Here are this month’s new deals for diverse books. If you have sold a diverse book recently (or in the future!) and want to tell us about it, please email us at

charlottehuangGoing Geek by debut author Charlotte Huang has been acquired by Wendy Loggia at Delacorte, for publication in 2016. According to Publishers Weekly, “In the story, a girl is forced to stand up for who she really is – if she even knows – when her friends dump her and she is forced to hang out with the fringe crowd at school.”

Anything Could Happen by debut author Will Walton has been acquired by David Levithan for Scholastic’s PUSH imprint, to be published in summer 2015. According to Publishers Weekly, “The novel follows a gay teen’s coming-of-age in the South, where he must navigate new friendships, small-town traditions, and family history – all while being hopelessly in love with his best friend.”

saenz-benjaminThe Inexplicable Logic of My Heart by Printz Honor author Benjamin Alire Sáenz (Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe), “a YA novel set in El Paso about family and friendship, life and death,” has been acquired by Anne Hoppe at Clarion Books, for publication in spring 2016 (Publishers Weekly).

Free Diverse Short Fiction Online! No $ Required, Seriously

Inscription Magazine, a free online magazine for teens that focuses on short fantasy and science fiction, is now live. Check out their stories “Lord of Time” by Livia Blackburne and “Anjali” by Rati Mehrotra.

The Book Smugglers have also launched their new online short fiction publishing company, and while their stories aren’t always specifically YA, they are YA-friendly. Check out their first story, part of a series of fairy tale retellings, “Hunting Monsters” by S. L. Huang.

The Advice Roundup: Thoughts on How to Write Diversity

Corinne Duyvis reminds science fiction and fantasy writers to mind their metaphors with regard to disabled people and stereotypes (SF Signal).

kohler-nosurrenderChristine Kohler describes the detailed research she undertook while writing her historical novel No Surrender Soldier, about a Chamorro teen boy, set on Guam in 1972 (Cynsations).

Transgender teens Katie Rain Hill and Arin Andrews talk to Stylite about writing their memoirs.

Here’s a wide-ranging interview with author Annameekee Hesik about writing, publishing, and lesbian YA at Gay YA.

Debut author Adam Silvera offers some advice on how to write gay YA books at CBC Diversity.

The NaNoWriMo blog has been featuring posts all month on how to write diverse books. Check them all out here.

Inside the Publishing Business

The Horn Book hosted a Mind the Gaps Colloquium at Simmons College on Oct. 11, 2014, which focused on diversity and the lack thereof in children’s books. Read the recap from Lee & Low here.

Publishers Weekly held a panel about diversity in children’s publishing at Penguin Random House, featuring Alvina Ling (exeducive editorial director of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers), Stacey Barney (senior editor at Penguin/Putnam), and Jason Low (publisher of Lee & Low). Read the (somewhat depressing) report about the panel at PW.

Publishers Weekly also has a pretty thorough roundup of mainstream publishing’s perspectives on diversity in the science fiction and fantasy genres, focusing primarily on adult SFF but also including quite a bit of commentary from children’s and YA publishers: Science Fiction & Fantasy 2014: How Multicultural Is Your Multiverse?.

Last But Not Least

#WeNeedDiverseBooksWe Need Diverse Books has really upped the ante this past month. Not only did it announce a collaboration with School Library Journal and the creation of the Walter Dean Myers Award and Grants for diverse literature, it also launched a $100,000 IndieGogo campaign to fund these and other advocacy efforts.

At only one week into the monthlong fundraising campaign, WNDB has already raised almost half its total goal! Among the perks you could get for donating to WNDB are original holiday notecards, T-shirts, tote bags, agent critiques, and original art by Grace Lin and DiYA’s own Cindy Pon.

If you haven’t donated yet, please consider joining us in supporting WNDB and diversity in YA and children’s literature. Go to IndieGogo to find out more and see all the perks, and #supportWNDB!

Diversity Digest – September 2014

Geetings, DiYA readers! Today we’re launching a brand-new end-of-the-month roundup called the Diversity Digest (we enjoy the alliteration), which will not only round up all the links we post on tumblr over the month, but also recap buzzy book deals and cover reveals. The Diversity Links posts have been going that direction anyway, but we’ve decided to make it official.

(And honestly, Malinda writes this, so she’s not sure why she’s using the royal “we” and has now somehow switched to third person. Ahem.)

Is This Mic On?

Earlier this month, Latino author René Saldaña, Jr. wrote a thought-provoking post at Latin@s in Kid Lit titled, “Forgive Me My Bluntness: I’m a Writer of Color and I’m Right Here In Front of You: I’m the One Sitting Alone at the Table.” Saldaña asks if all those librarians seeking out diversity have looked around recently — authors of color and diverse books are already available, and often being ignored.

Award-winning poet Nikki Grimes drives the point home in her post, “Mister Cellophane” (it’s a song from Chicago with a chorus declaring, “Mister cellophane / ’cause you can look right through me / Walk right by me / And never know I’m there”). Grimes writes, “Could it be that some lack the motivation to seek out the books that are already there?”

Difficult questions, but important ones.

Awards Season Begins!

The National Book Foundation released their longlists for the National Book Award including 10 titles in the Young People’s Literature category. Congratulations to all the longlisters (semi-finalists?), which include several diverse books.

Congratulations also to Cuban American author Margarita Engle, who was honored by the PEN Center USA with the top prize in their Children’s/Young Adult Literature category for her book The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba’s Greatest Abolitionist. You can read more about it at SLJ.

We Know You Judge Books by Their Covers

We were on hiatus in August when the cover for Sarah Ockler’s upcoming novel, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids, was released, but it’s too good to not show you now:


Isn’t that cute? It’s coming out in June 2015 from Simon Pulse.

The trend of actually having characters of color on their book covers (!!) continued earlier this month with the reveal of Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham, starring “Scarlett, a smart, sarcastic, kick-butt, Muslim American heroine, ready to take on crime in her hometown of Las Almas.”


Scarlett looks like she’s up to something. The book comes out in May 2015 from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

Asian American author Kelly Loy Gilbert also had a cover reveal this month, for her debut novel Conviction, which will be published by Disney Hyperion in May 2015.


Isn’t that striking? You can read all about the cover design process with Gilbert’s designer over at the NaNoWriMo blog.

Finally, the cover for Matt de la Peña‘s forthcoming novel The Hunted (Delacorte), the sequel to his thriller The Living, has also been released — and The Living has gotten a makeover for its paperback edition.


Don’t they look cinematic? The Living comes out in paperback Jan. 16, 2015, and The Hunted will be published May 12, 2015.

These Are the Links You’ve Been Looking For

British children’s and young adult author Malorie Blackman was the victim of irresponsible headline writing over the summer that resulted in some awful, racist Twitter trolling. However, Ms. Blackman says that Racist abuse will not stop me seeking more diversity in children’s literature (The Guardian).

Gene Luen Yang, author of the recently released The Shadow Hero, a comic book about America’s first Asian American superhero, gave an inspiring speech at the 2014 National Book Festival Gala earlier this month.

Author Sara Farizan (If You Could Be Mine and the upcoming Tell Me How a Crush Should Feel) reminded us that everyone wants to be a hero sometime.

Here’s a thoughtful interview with award-winning author Meg Medina (Yaqui Delgado Wants To Kick Your Ass) at the National Endowment for the Arts Magazine.

YA Interrobang interviews Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton, co-founders of CAKE Literary, a boutique book packaging company that focuses on telling diverse stories.

Journalist and upcoming debut author Valerie Tejeda asks seven Hispanic YA authors why they (and we) need diverse books (Huffington Post).

Writers, if you identify as Latin@ or if your manuscript includes Latin@ characters, you still have a few days to enter Latin@s in Kid Lit’s Pitch Fiesta!

Need Something to Read?

AfterEllen has outdone even me by posting An Alternative School Reading List: Here Is Every YA Novel With Lesbians. You’ll never be bored again!

One of our readers asked for books about characters with Asperger’s/Autism, and we responded with a few recommendations, but you helped out even more in the comments. Read all the recs here.

Debbie Reese of American Indians in Children’s Literature recommends 10 books about Native people she thinks every American should read.

YALSA’s The Hub has a list of New and Forthcoming LGBTQ Young Adult Fiction for fall and winter 2014.

Kekla Magoon talks to Crazy Quilt Edi about her forthcoming novel, How It Went Down, which comes out Oct. 21, 2014. It deals with the shooting of a young black teen by a white man.

Publishers Weekly delves into Michaela De Prince’s journey “From African Orphanage to the International Stage” as a classical ballerina; her story will be detailed in her memoir Taking Flight this October.

New Deals Ahoy!

Plenty of authors cracked open the champagne this month to celebrate their new and/or debut book deals. Here are the deals for diverse books that caught our eye:

Amy Zhang
Amy Zhang

Chinese American author Amy Zhang (Falling Into Place) has sold two more contemporary YA novels to Virginia Duncan at Greenwillow Books in a six-figure deal. According to PW, “The two books are tentatively titled This Is Where the World Ends and Memento Mori, and both address themes of love and death.” They’ll be out in fall 2015 and 2016.

Américas Award-winning author Laura Resau has sold The Impossible Caravan to Andrea Davis Pinkney at Scholastic. In the novel, “an indigenous boy and a Romani (Gypsy) girl form a friendship in rural Mexico that spans the rest of their lives” (PW) The novel will be published in 2015.

Dhonielle Clayton
Dhonielle Clayton

Dhonielle Clayton, cofounder of Cake Literary and coauthor of Tiny Pretty Things (HarperCollins), has sold a YA fantasy titled The Belles to Emily Meehan at Disney-Hyperion. The novel, scheduled for spring/summer 2016, “focuses on a group of girls who can manipulate beauty, and the dangerous journey of the one belle who uncovers a hidden world of secrets, lies, and cruelty when she is chosen to be the personal belle of the next Queen” (PW).

Latina author and entertainment journalist Valerie Tejeda has sold her debut YA novel, Hollywood Witch Hunter, “in which a coven bent on retaining their youth must sacrifice the beautiful, and the rich women of Southern California, and a society of witch hunters will try to protect humans from a great evil uprising,” to Bloomsbury’s digital publishing imprint, Spark. Look for it in summer 2015.

In Case You Missed It, Because We Did (Oops!)

John Smelcer’s Edge of Nowhere, a survival story about an Alaska Native teen, was published in the U.S. by Leapfrog Press in August and recently received a starred review from School Library Journal. “Seth uses wisdom from his Native Alaskan culture and common sense to survive a summer season of challenges,” states reviewer Naomi Caldwell. “Smelcer’s prose is lyrical, straightforward, and brilliant.”


Vivek Shraya’s God Loves Hair, first published in 2011 but reissued earlier this year by Arsenal Pulp, is a YA story collection celebrating racial, sexual, and religious diversity. The stories are accompanied by the award-winning full-colour illustrations of Toronto artist Juliana Neufeld, and the collection was a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Find out more at Vivek Shraya’s website.


Last But Not Least

It’s Banned Books Week! Which means it’s your annual reminder to take a look at what’s being censored and why. First, check out this article at The Atlantic that asks, Who Should Decide What High School Kids Are Allowed to Read? Then, if you haven’t already, read my analysis of book challenges and diversity. The takeaway is, sadly, diverse books are disproportionately targeted for book challenges and censorship.

Wish you could do something about it? Join in on various Banned Books Week events that are listed here at the official website, and don’t forget to follow the #BannedBooksWeek hashtag on Twitter.

See you next month for more Diversity Digest! (Although looking at the length of this first one I’m a little scared by what I’ve gotten myself into.) — Malinda

Diversity Links – July 2014

We link to a lot of things over on Tumblr, but in case you missed them, here they are rounded up for you all in one place:

Diversity News

In late June, the Cape Henlopen School Board in Cape Henlopen, Delaware, voted to remove The Miseducation of Cameron Post by emily m. danforth from its summer reading list for incoming freshman, citing parental concerns about explicit language. Catch up on the whole story here. Unfortunately, despite much public discussion about censorship and literature, last week the school board voted to remove the entire summer reading list, not just Cameron Post. This is not only a sad end to a wonderful and diverse reading list, but the board’s decision, as former librarian Kelly Jensen noted, “undermine[s] the knowledge and experience of the educators employed by this school to do right by those kids.”

Yes, that is super depressing, which is why we need to take steps to change the way people think about books that depict kids who are different from them. If you’re part of the kid lit blogging community, you can join in by going to the 8th Annual KidLitCon, this Oct. 10–11 in Sacramento, CA. Their theme this year is “Blogging Diversity in Young Adult and Children’s Lit: What’s Next?” And you can submit proposals right now!

Reading Diversity

Latin@s in Kid Lit dedicated all of July to Latin@s in science fiction and fantasy! SFF lovers, go visit them to check out interviews with Guadalupe Garcia McCall, Sara Fine, and Steven dos Santos; guest posts by Stephanie Diaz and Zoraida Córdova; and book reviews too.

Sometimes people read a book and have no idea that a character is not white. (Remember Rue?) Author Justina Ireland has gotten enough questions about the race of the main character in her novel, Promise of Shadows, that she was moved to clarify the fact that her main character is black.

Looking for some great books about disabled characters to read? Check out this list of the Top Ten Schneider Award Favorites of the 2014 Schneider Award Jury.

Latinas for Latino Lit offers up 10 Latino Books for Teens.

Seeing Diversity

To celebrate the publication of The Shadow Hero, Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew’s reimagining of the Green Turtle, the first Asian American superhero, 27 artists have illustrated the superhero in various ways. Check out the master list of artists here. and view many of the Green Turtle pinups at Sonny Liew’s blog. Here’s a fantastic Green Turtle pinup by Dan Santat:

The Green Turtle by Dan Santat

Writing Diversity

Author Corinne Duyvis talks about diversity, getting published, and why her YA fantasy isn’t an “issue book” (xoJane).

Disability in Kid Lit celebrated their one-year anniversary this past month with a slew of interviews (Shannon Hale! Hilary T. Smith! April Henry! Shaunta Grimes! Jennifer Castle! Rachel M. Wilson!), discussion posts (useful both for readers and writers), guest posts (Cece Bell on El Deafo), and more. What are you waiting for? Disability in Kid Lit, folks.

Diversity in Publishing

Scholastic editor Cheryl Klein has some advice on how to build a bestseller with non-white characters (School Library Journal).

Author Shannon LC Cate talks to Gay YA about race and gender histories, the importance of small-press or self publishing, and her debut novel, Jack, about a biracial orphan girl who lived as a man in the 1870s.

Last but not least…

We were saddened last month to hear that children’s and YA author Walter Dean Myers had passed away. A towering figure in the kid lit community and a champion of diversity for his whole career, he will be sorely missed. Read the New York Times obituary here, and read these tributes at The Brown Bookshelf.

Diversity Links – June 2014

We link to a lot of things over on Tumblr, but in case you missed them, here they are rounded up for you all in one place:

Diversity News

This weekend is the American Library Association’s Annual Convention, where thousands of librarians, teachers, and bloggers will converge on Las Vegas for a long weekend packed with books. If you’re going to ALA and you’re also interested in supporting diversity in books and reading, why not tweet about it using the #DiversityatALA hashtag? Find out more at YALSA’s The Hub. To make finding those diverse books easier, we’ve compiled a giant list of events where you can find diverse books and authors, and YALSA has put together a list of diverse YA titles to look for.

In case you couldn’t be at BookCon earlier this month there in person, Eunice Kim has written up a recap of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks panel at BookCon (Rich in Color). You can also listen to an unedited audiostream of the entire panel.

Reading Diversity

We Need Diverse Books has launched a Summer Reading Series in which they recommend diverse books for you to try.

In a School Library Journal series of essays about diversity, Ellen Oh says we should avoid categorizing diverse books as “special interest” only.

Over at YALSA’s The Hub, Kelly Dickinson takes you on a tour of LGBTQ representation in young adult science fiction and fantasy.

David Levithan talks to the Associated Press about LGBT books for young people.

Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, an assistant professor at Penn GSE, has launched The Dark Fantastic, a blog “about race and the imagination in children’s and young adult books, media, and associated cultures.”

CBC Diversity has compiled a list of 14 Books for Children & Teens About the Freedom Summer of 1964.

Need more summer reading ideas? Lee and Low offers up 20 YA Novels for Thinking Adults: A Diverse List.

Writing Diversity

Attention aspiring middle grade and young adult writers of color: Lee and Low is now accepting submissions for its New Visions Award! The deadline is Oct. 31, 2014.

Cynthia Leitich Smith urges authors to write outside their comfort zones (School Library Journal) when it comes to diversity.

Here’s a video of a panel talk held at the Asian American Writers Workshop in New York last month, featuring author Matt de la Peña, Tu Books publisher Stacy Whitman, and others, discussing Stories Untold: Race, Representation, and Politics in Children’s and Young Adult Books.

Author Kirstin Cronn-Mills talks to Gay YA about the research and thought processes that went into writing her novel Beautiful Music for Ugly Children, about transgender character Gabe.

Author Gene Luen Yang talks to School Library Journal about writing The Shadow Hero, a graphic novel about America’s first Asian American superhero, the Green Turtle.

Author Corinne Duyvis talks to xoJane about the publication journey of her debut YA fantasy, Otherbound.

Last But Not Least …

We were thrilled to be recognized by YA Highway for Overall Contributions to the Community and Outstanding Support of LGBT Community during their YA Web Awards. Thank you!

Diversity Links – May 2014

We link to a lot of things over on Tumblr, but in case you missed them, here they are rounded up for you all in one place:

Diversity News

#WeNeedDiverseBooks has been huge over the past month. Check out their official tumblr for all sorts of wonderful testimony from readers and writers from around the world, and take a gander at the amazing media coverage of the #WNDB campaign.

The finalists for the 2013 Bisexual Book Awards were announced, including eight YA books! The winners will be announced May 31.

DiYA co-founder Cindy Pon sold two new Chinese-inspired fantasy novels to Month9Books! The duology, beginning with Serpentine, is set in the kingdom of Xia, and will be published in September 2015.

Reading Diversity

Newbery Honor author Grace Lin notes that We Need Diverse Books and We Also Need People to Read Them.

Ciel Rouge has put together a giant list of 2014 YA Reads Written by Authors of Color.

Author Miriam Forster has put together a list of Asian fantasy novels by Asian and Asian American authors.

Book Riot has a list of 30 Diverse YA Titles To Get On Your Radar.

School Library Journal’s special diversity issue was released May 1. Catch up on all the articles here.

MTV has a list of 21 Diverse YA Books That Need To Be Movies — Now.

Writing Diversity

Author Lisa Yee offers A Rambling Rant on Race and Writing.

S.E. Sinkhorn of #WNDB and YA Flash has some advice for her fellow straight white writers on diversity.

And ICYMI, here’s DiYA cofounder Malinda Lo answering a frequently asked diversity question, Should white people write about people of color?

Diversity Links – April 2014

We link to a lot of things over on Tumblr, but in case you missed them, here they are rounded up for you all in one place:


Over the last couple of months there’s been a groundswell of public support for and concern about diversity in children’s and young adult books, and in reaction to that a campaign has just launched to bring even more awareness to the issue: the We Need Diverse Books Campaign. Taking place over three days, May 1-3, #weneeddiversebooks was organized by a group of authors and bloggers  and we are excited to take part in it! Follow We Need Diverse Books on Tumblr and check out the #weneeddiversebooks hashtag on Twitter. Take action!

Diversity News

Congratulations to the winners of the 2014 Américas Awards for Children’s & Young Adult Literature!

Congratulations to Sara Farizan for winning the Publishing Triangle’s Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction and the Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBT Fiction for her debut novel, If You Could Be Mine, published by Algonquin Young Readers!

Book Expo America’s BookCon, which is meant for the reading public, not only announced an all white male lineup for their “Blockbuster Reads: Meet the Kids Authors That Dazzle” panel, it also announced an all white lineup of authors — except for Grumpy Cat. Rebecca Jones Schinsky of Book Riot says that Readers Deserve Better Than BookCon, and we agree. After a loud public outcry over social Media, Book Con asked bestselling middle grade author Rachel Renee Russell (The Dork Diaries), who is also African American, to join their initially all-white-male panel of children’s literature authors:

Advocating for Diversity

Ashley Strickland takes a look at diversity and the lack of it in YA literature (CNN), including interviews with DiYA’s own Cindy Pon and Malinda Lo.

Kelly Jensen argues that We Need Bigger Megaphones for Diversity in Kid Lit (Book Riot).

Author Ellen Oh says We Are Still Not Doing Enough for Diversity in Kid lit.

Author Lamar Giles says Don’t BS the Change when it comes to diversity in YA.

Entertainment Weekly issues a report on Kid Lit’s Primary Color: White.

Reading Diversity

Author Mitali Perkins offers 10 tips on seeing race, culture, and power while reading.

Rich in Color highlights Cinco Puntos, “an independent publisher whose mission is to publish ‘great books which make a difference in the way you see the world.’”

Rich in Color offers a list of diverse novels in verse in honor of National Poetry Month.

Mike Jung, a Korean American author of middle grade fiction, writes about his complex reactions to the diversity discussion and reading Eleanor & Park.

Preeti Chhibber takes a look at the issue of authenticity in literature about people of color.

Writing Diversity

Author Zoraida Córdova breaks down What We Talk About When We Talk About Diversity in YA (Latin@s in Kid Lit).

Author Brandy Colbert on writing her novel Pointe, which is “the third book I’ve written about a teenage black girl, but it’s the first in which her race was not the focal point or even a subplot of the story” (Stacked).

Author Joseph Bruchac shares a wonderful essay about Native American identity, stereotypes, and language (Cynsations).

Diversity in the Publishing Industry

Sarah McCarry, aka The Rejectionist, on How to Publish Writers of Color: Some Basic Steps for White Folks In the Industry.

Author Daniel José Older says that “The publishing industry looks a lot like these best-selling teenage dystopias: white and full of people destroying each other to survive” in Diversity Is Not Enough: Race, Power, Publishing.

Simon & Schuster Executive Editor Zareen Jaffery does a multi-part interview at Story and Chai on diversity in children’s literature and the publishing industry.

Daniel Ehrenhaft, editorial director of Soho Teen, blogs about the difficulties of selling foreign rights to YA books about characters of color or LGBT characters at the Bologna Book Fair (CBC Diversity).

Editor Yolanda Scott says that “that despite my best intentions, my predominantly white upbringing, educational background, and chosen profession have not adequately prepared me to be as racially and culturally sensitive as I would like” (CBC Diversity).

Ruth Tobar, Chair of the 2014 Pura Belpré Award Committee, says that while there are excellent books being published about the Latino experience, there are not enough of them (CBC Diversity).

Author Lamar Giles (Fake ID) shares his experiences with diversity and the publishing industry.

Last but not least…

Here are five things you can do to support diversity right now.

Diversity Links – March 2014

We link to a lot of things over on Tumblr, but in case you missed them, here they are rounded up for you all in one place:

Diversity News

YA author Meg Medina (Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass) is profiled as one of CNN’s 10 Visionary Women.

The Lambda Literary Awards have announced their finalists for 2014, including these 11 titles in the LGBT Children’s/Young Adult category.

According to People magazine, Oklahoma teens Katie Hill and Arin Andrews, who are transgender and were in a relationship with each other during their transitions, will share their stories in two memoirs to be published Sept. 30, 2014, by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers.

Last week a bunch of upcoming YA covers featuring Asian characters were revealed.

Reading Diversity

Walter Dean Myers asks “Where Are the People of Color in Children’s Books?” for the New York Times.

Christopher Myers writes about “The Apartheid of Children’s Literature” for the New York Times.

At the Pirate Tree, author E.M. Kokie interviews Susan Kuklin about her new book, Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out. Here’s Part 1 and Part 2.

Lynn Miller-Lachmann interviews author Maria E. Andreu about her new novel, The Secret Side of Empty, about an undocumented high school senior from Argentina, for CBC Diversity.

Literature OUT Loud: A Guide to Young Adult Literature for Trans Teens, a book list from librarian Jackson Radish.

Here’s a list of 100+ Asian speculative fiction authors, including those who write young adult.

YA Interrobang offers a list of 10 YA books with Native American protagonists.

Writing Diversity

Author Diana López on Migas, Confetti, and Martha Stewart (Latin@s in Kid Lit), or how she decides which cultural details to explain and which ones to allow the reader to figure out.

Malinda Lo on writing dialogue about race, and why it’s often awkward.

Supporting Diversity

Emerging from a monthlong discussion about diversity in children’s literature on the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s mailing list, here are several suggestions on how you (yes, you!) can support and spread the word about diversity in children’s and YA books.

Author Meg Medina offers her suggestions for what you should do if you want more diverse literature.

Tu Books has a great list of places (bookstores, publishers, etc.) where you can find and buy diverse books for young readers.

There’s More to Making Non-Sexist Art Than Not Being Sexist, just as there’s more to incorporating diversity than not being racist.

Last but not least…

Don’t forget to enter our massive anniversary giveaway of 55+ diverse YA books! The deadline is March 31, 2014.

Diversity Links – February 2014

We link to a lot of things over on Tumblr, but in case you missed them, here they are rounded up for you all in one place:

Black History Month

Librarian Hannah Gómez on some of the problematic aspects of Black History Month and how to change things for the better: How to Have the Same Old, Same Old Black History Month

Looking for historical fiction about African Americans? Check out librarian Kelly Jensen’s Black History in YA Fiction: A Time Line at Book Riot.

The Brown Bookshelf celebrates Black History Month with its annual 28 Days Later campaign, spotlighting emerging and established children’s book creators of color.

The Publishing Business

Donna Bray, Co-Publisher of Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Children’s Books, in an interview with CBC Diversity on the challenges and joys of publishing diverse books.

Scholastic/Arthur A. Leving Books Editor Cheryl Klein explains the complexities of publishing diverse books.

Writing Diversity

Author Cynthia Leitich Smith on Writing, Tonto & The Wise-Cracking Minority Sidekick Who Is the First to Die.

Author Beth Revis asked fellow authors Rae Carson, Alex London, Ruta Sepetys, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Shaun Hutchinson, Marie Lu, Erin Bow, Alexandra Duncan, Shawna Mlawski, and Colleen Houck “Why is diversity important?”

Cindy L. Rodriguez of Latin@s in Kid Lit says The Kid Lit World Needs Gary Soto and Others Like Him.

Reading Diversity

Debbie Reese writes about stereotypes in children’s and YA literature about American Indians, and then suggests seven of her favorite books, going beyond Sherman Alexie.

At Buzzfeed Books, the article Thinking Beyond Pink and Blue explores the new nonfiction book Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out.

Publishers Weekly also writes about Beyond Magenta, including a few words from one of the transgender teens profiled in the book.

Librarian Celia C. Perez asks “Why are they always white children?” at her All Brown All Around blog.

2014 Book Awards Roundup

Here’s a master list of all the 2014 book awards highlighting diversity that were recently announced by the American Library Association, its divisions and affiliates: