Tag Archives: I. W. Gregorio

10 New & Debut Asian American YA Authors

In honor of Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, here are 10 new and debut Asian American YA authors for you to check out. Support them today so they can publish more books tomorrow!

Sona CharaipotraTiny Pretty Things co-written with Dhonielle Clayton (HarperTeen, May 2015)
Get to know her: Goodreads Voice: Interview with Sona Charaipotra

Kelly Loy GilbertConviction (Disney-Hyperion, May 2015)
Get to know her: DiversifYA: Kelly Loy Gilbert

I. W. GregorioNone of the Above (Balzer + Bray, April 2015)
Get to know her: One Asian Book is Quite Enough (Diversity in YA)

Fonda LeeZeroboxer (Flux, April 2015)
Get to know her: Get to Know Asian American Children’s Authors: Fonda Lee, Author of Zeroboxer (amithaknight.com)

Stacey LeeUnder a Painted Sky (Putnam, March 2015)
Get to know her: DiversifYA: Stacey Lee

Valynne MaetaniInk and Ashes (Tu Books, June 2015)
Get to know her: Valynne E. Maetani’s website

Caroline Tung RichmondThe Only Thing to Fear (Scholastic)
Get to know her: Me, My Daughter, and the Babysitter’s Club (Diversity in YA)

Aisha SaeedWritten in the Stars (Nancy Paulsen Books, March 2015)
Get to know her: On Asian-Americans and why we are #NotYourAsianSidekick (aishasaeed.com)

Sabaa TahirAn Ember in the Ashes (Razorbill, April 2015)
Get to know her: DiversifYA: Sabaa Tahir

Amy ZhangFalling into Place (Greenwillow, September 2014)
Get to know her: An Indies Introduce New Voices Q&A With Amy Zhang (Bookselling This Week)

New Releases – April 2015

Diva Rules by Amir Abrams (Dafina)

Book Description: Fiona Madison has being popular on lock. She’s everywhere everyone wants to be—and she knows just how to keep frenemies, haters, and admirers guessing. Fiona keeps it cute and knows how to turn a party out no matter how tough things get at home—or how lonely she really is. The only relationship a guy can have with her is BWB (Boo-With-Benefits). Anything more is a major not-going-to-happen…Until someone Fiona never sees coming is suddenly too close, understands her all too well—and is turning this diva’s life upside down…

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (Balzer + Bray)

“After a “goobery nerd” named Martin discovers Georgia teen Simon Spier’s secret email relationship with a boy who calls himself “Blue,” Martin blackmails Simon into helping him romance Abby, a new girl who has been welcomed into Simon’s lunchroom clique. The threat of being outed by Martin forces Simon to come to terms with his sexuality, and his wise insights—Why do only gay people have to come out? Why is that the default?—add heft to a plot that is both hilarious and heartbreaking. … [R]eaders will fall madly in love with Simon.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives by Caitlin Alifirenka & Martin Ganda with Liz Welch (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

“In 1997, a 12-year old girl from Hatfield, Pa., and a 14-year-old boy from Mutare, Zimbabwe, began a pen-pal relationship. In alternating chapters, Alifirenka and Ganda recount how their mutual curiosity led to an increasingly honest, generous correspondence. … Sensitively and candidly demonstrating how small actions can result in enormous change, this memoir of two families’ transformation through the commitment and affection of long-distance friends will humble and inspire.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough (Arthur A. Levine Books)

“The odds against Henry and Flora becoming a couple are significant: Henry is white, Flora is black, and this is Depression-era Seattle. But their similarities outweigh their differences; at 17, they’re both orphans, musicians, and—unbeknownst to them—the current players in the centuries-old contest between Love and Death. … Brockenbrough (Devine Intervention) never sugarcoats the obstacles facing Henry and Flora’s love—whether human prejudices or supernatural manipulations—in this inventive and affecting novel, and the ending … is beautiful.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

Changers Book Two: Oryon by T Cooper, Allison Glock-Cooper (Akashic Books)

“The body-swapping Changer who spent her freshman year of high school as Drew (Changers: Drew, 2014) now spends his sophomore year as Oryon. Changers spend each year as a different version, or V, and must keep their true nature hidden from non-Changer Statics. For Oryon, this means remeeting Audrey, the girl he fell in love with last year as Drew, as a stranger. … Oryon’s winning and witty narrative voice is consistently engaging. Unlike Drew or his parents, Oryon is African-American, and much of what he observes is about race. … Oryon’s humor and insight will keep readers turning pages.” — Kirkus

Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein (Feiwel & Friends)

“In Becoming Jinn, Azra is not your typical teenager, despite going to high school, having a crush on the lifeguard, and avoiding the resident mean girl. When she turns sixteen, she will receive her bangle bracelet that will allow her to grant wishes to humans. Azra is a genie (in training). All her life she has resented this upcoming birthday and being trapped for the rest of her life doing what she is told, rather than what she wants to do. Her birthday arrives, along with the dreaded bangle and some surprises about her unexpectedly strong abilities. … The genie theme is original and appealing (vampire story lines are mentioned for a laugh). Azra is likable; her struggles—even factoring in the genie issue—are real and relatable.” — VOYA

None of the Above by I. W. Gregorio (Balzer & Bray)

“Cross-country runner Kristin Lattimer is devastated when an OB-GYN diagnoses her with androgen insensitivity syndrome, an intersex condition.Exuberant after being voted queen at the homecoming dance, Kristin decides she’s finally ready to have sex with her boyfriend, Sam. Their attempt at intercourse, however, turns out to be prohibitively painful, and Kristin promptly schedules an appointment with her best friend’s gynecologist. Her pelvic exam and a series of follow-ups reveal that Kristin has AIS. … The particulars of AIS are explained in matter-of-fact detail and filtered effectively through Kristin’s point of view. … Sensitive, informative and a valuable resource for teens in Kristin’s shoes.” — Kirkus

The Truth About Us by Janet Gurtler (Sourcebooks)

Book Description: The truth is that Jess knows she screwed up. She’s made mistakes, betrayed her best friend, and now she’s paying for it. Her dad is making her spend the whole summer volunteering at the local soup kitchen.

The truth is she wishes she was the care-free party-girl everyone thinks she is. She pretends it’s all fine. That her “perfect” family is fine. But it’s not. And no one notices the lie…until she meets Flynn. He’s the only one who really sees her. The only one who listens.

The truth is that Jess is falling apart — and no one seems to care. But Flynn is the definition of “the wrong side of the tracks.” When Jess’s parents look at him they only see the differences-not how much they need each other. They don’t get that the person who shouldn’t fit in your world… might just be the one to make you feel like you belong.

Taking Hold: From Migrant Childhood to Columbia University by Francisco Jiménez (HMH Books for Young Readers)

Book Description: In this fourth book in his award-winning memoir series, Francisco Jimenez leaves everything behind in California—a loving family, a devoted girlfriend, and the culture that shaped him— to attend Columbia University in New York City. With few true accounts of the Latino experience in America, Francisco Jimenez’s work comes alive with telling details about the warmth and resiliency of family and the quest for identity against seemingly impossible odds.

Lying Out Loud by Kody Keplinger (Scholastic Press)

“Seventeen-year-old broke-ass Sonny (nee Sonya) can’t bring herself to tell the truth, especially when it means playing a sort of twisted Cyrano via her BFF, Amy, to nab the hot, new hipster boy at her school, Ryder. She finds herself up all hours of the night chatting and instant messaging with him under the guise of Amy, at whose house she’s crashing since her mom has kicked her out of her own house. At first it’s all fun and games (neither girl really wants to go out with him), but when she finds that she truly does have feelings for Ryder, the truth begins to come out, and the cost is high. … Keplinger creates vivid, believable characters that are full of spunk and joie de vivre. She plunges them into an utterly realistic work that feels familiar and contemporary. … Fierce, fresh, total fun.” — Kirkus

Zeroboxer by Fonda Lee (Flux)

“Carr Luka is the king of the Cube, a zero gravity cage fight arena. In his upcoming championship fight, Luka will represent Terrans against a Martian colony and his supporters will cheer, ”Make him float!“ highlighting the grisly implications of a knockout. Luka’s confidence is shaken, however, when a visit to his mother reveals that his physical prowess is a result of illegal genetic enhancements, making his participation in the sport potentially criminal. Zeroboxer is a delicious mix of two genres: sports and science fiction. The colony rivalry and futuristic details are riveting, and martial arts followers hungering for fight action will not be disappointed. … This gripping sci-fi novel will have teens screaming for a sequel.” — School Library Journal

Legend: The Graphic Novel by Marie Lu (Putnam Juvenile)

Book Description: Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a military prodigy. Born into the slums of the Republic’s Lake Sector, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives are not as sinister as they often they seem. One day June’s brother is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Now, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June tries desperately to avenge her brother’s death. And the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together and the lengths their country will go to in order to keep its secrets.

Nobody’s Goddess by Amy McNulty (Month9 Books)

Book Description: In a village of masked men, magic compels each man to love only one woman and to follow the commands of his “goddess” without question. A woman may reject the only man who will love her if she pleases, but she will be alone forever. And a man must stay masked until his goddess returns his love—and if she can’t or won’t, he remains masked forever. Where the rest of her village celebrates this mystery that binds men and women together, seventeen year old Noll is just done with it. She’s lost all her childhood friends as they’ve paired off, but the worst blow was when her closest companion, Jurij, finds his goddess in Noll’s own sister. Desperate to find a way to break this ancient spell, Noll instead discovers why no man has ever loved her: she is in fact the goddess of the mysterious lord of the village, a Byronic man who refuses to let Noll have her right as a woman to spurn him and who has the power to fight the curse. Thus begins a dangerous game between the two: the choice of woman versus the magic of man. And the stakes are no less than freedom and happiness, life and death—and neither Noll nor the veiled man is willing to lose.

When Everything Feels like the Movies by Raziel Reid (Arsenal Pulp)

“Reid introduces readers to Jude, a gay teen who fantasizes about being a movie star. Jude, who has been given the nickname Judy by some classmates, is fairly comfortable with his sexual orientation as well as his desire to wear his mother’s beautiful dresses and makeup. In order to deal with the homophobia he confronts at school and home, Jude slips into his fantastical life as a movie star constantly tortured by paparazzi. … This story is a whirlwind of gender-bending drama with plenty of pop culture references.” — School Library Journal

Taking the Stand by Juliann Rich (Bold Strokes Books)

Book Description: There’s a time for justice. Then there’s a time for action. And Jonathan Cooper knows exactly what time it is.

It is time to lie. To his parents, who think he’s on a ski trip with Pete Mitchell when he’s really gone to Madison to search for one person willing to testify for his boyfriend, Ian McGuire, who is facing the charge of assault and battery. To Ian’s parents, who have erased him from their lives. Even to himself. Because admitting his feelings for Mason Kellerman isn’t an option.

It is also time to face the truth. That Jonathan may have lied for nothing. That he may be powerless to save Ian from a guilty verdict. That whether he likes it or not, it is time for taking the stand.

Fig by Sarah Elizabeth Schantz (Margaret K. McElderry Books)

“Fig is six years old and spends a lot of time worrying about her mother, Annie. Her mother talks of fairy land, feral dogs lurking in the woods, and the importance of rituals. It is only after her mother attempts suicide that Fig learns the truth: her mother is schizophrenic. The story unfolds over the next 11 years, detailing the many ways Annie’s schizophrenia changes her and affects her family. Through it all, Fig remains determined to save her mother. … The teen exhibits many troubling behaviors and is eventually diagnosed with OCD, but her health is overlooked as the focus remains on her increasingly unwell mother. … This dense, literary tale starts slowly, but builds to become an incredibly haunting story about mental illness and family bonds.” — School Library Journal

The Shark Curtain by Chris Scofield (Akashic Books)

“In this novel set in 1960s Portland, OR, 14-year-old Lily Asher hears voices. Not just any voices—Jesus (SOG, as she calls Him), her dead dog, and others regularly make appearances in her mental world. She also feels as though she is becoming a dog, believes that she’s growing a tail, and often randomly barks. Her highly active imagination is frequently misunderstood. The teen is dubbed a ”weirdo“ by her younger sister and has few friends. Her unconditionally loving but completely dysfunctional parents try their hardest to help Lily deal with her schizophrenia. … The family, despite their plethora of issues, genuinely loves Lily and each other. This is a difficult story to read in part because the author brings readers into Lily’s mind so successfully.” — School Library Journal

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman (HarperCollins)

“With lyricism and potent insight, Shusterman (Unwind) traces the schizophrenic descent and return of Caden Bosch, an intelligent 15-year-old and a gifted artist. His internal narratives are sometimes dreams, sometimes hallucinations, and sometimes undefinable, dominated by a galleon and its captain, sailing with an enormous, sullen crew to the deepest point of the Marianas Trench, Challenger Deep. … Shusterman has mined personal experience of mental illness with his son Brendan, whose line drawings mirror Caden’s fragmentation in swirling lines eerily reminiscent of Van Gogh. It’s a powerful collaboration, and crucial to the novel’s credibility.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (Razorbill)

“As one of the conquered Scholar people, Laia has grown wary of the ruthless Masks that enforce the Martial empire’s laws. But the lesson doesn’t hit home until Masks imprison her brother for aiding the Scholar Resistance. Desperate to save him, Laia agrees to spy for the rebels as a slave in Blackcliff, the hellish school where Masks are trained. … Tahir’s deft, polished debut alternates between two very different perspectives on the same brutal world, deepening both in the contrast. In a tale brimming with political intrigue and haunted by supernatural forces, the true tension comes from watching Elias and Laia struggle to decide where their loyalties lie.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

One Asian Book is Quite Enough

By I. W. Gregorio

A groundbreaking story about a teenage girl who discovers she was born intersex … and what happens when her secret is revealed to the entire school. Incredibly compelling and sensitively told, None of the Above is a thought-provoking novel that explores what it means to be a boy, a girl, or something in between.

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When I was at the NYC Teen Author Festival panel on representation a couple of weeks ago, there were a flurry of Tweets that quoted me:

“There’s always diversity within diversity.” @IWGregorio @diversebooks #NYCTAF (Important for all of us writers to remember.)

“There is diversity within diversity…no one book is going to tell every story.” –@IWGregorio at #NYCTAF

“There’s a huge gap in terms of intersectionality in young adult books. We need more diversity within diversity.” @IWGregorio #NYCTAF

In fact, it was A.S. King who first put this earworm of a phrase within my head during the first few days of the We Need Diverse Books campaign, back when we were still “just” a hashtag. As anyone who’s ready any of her books knows, Amy is absolutely brilliant. And here’s some more evidence:

@IWGregorio @TerraMcVoy …I have yet to meet a human being who fits into the box allowed to them by their race, religion, or sexuality.

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Her words mean so much to me because of my experience with my first novel. As so many newbie writers do, I took the old adage to “write what you know” to heart, and unsurprisingly wrote about a second-generation Asian-American girl in Central New York. Like a lot of first novels, that book didn’t sell (though it did land me an amazing agent).

The fact that it didn’t sell didn’t in itself bother me; indeed, looking back, I’m very happy that book never saw the light of day as it clearly wasn’t my best work. What disheartened me was the type of feedback that my agent got from editors. Much of it was all over the map, with one exception: Three different editors from three different publishers said that it was too similar to another book with an Asian-American protagonist on their list.

In all honesty, I think that these editors were probably looking for kind ways to say that the book wasn’t up to snuff. Publishing as an industry was going through a very, very tough time. Of course houses didn’t want to take on a book that was too similar to something they already head – it was difficult enough to market the titles they already head. But still.

What comments like this tell me is: “We’ve filled our quota.”

It tells me that publishers think: “One Asian American book is quite enough, thank you.” And what did I do for my next book, with an intersex main character? I subconsciously whitewashed it. I had internalized the rejection of my ethnicity so deeply that I didn’t even think of making my main character a person of color, let alone Asian.

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Thank goodness that things are changing. At around the time my first manuscript was dying a slow death, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED talk on the Danger of a Single Story went viral (It’s been viewed by more than 8 million people – pic to the left courtesy of amightygirl.com). We Need Diverse Books has give me hope that for my next book, I can revisit the land of thinly-veiled autobiography. Because you know what? No one’s yet told my story, even though you would think that someone had – after all, I spent my formative years in Central New York and went to the same high school that Newbery Honor-winning author Grace Lin went to. I love Grace’s books so much (I’m reading Dumpling Days to my daughter right now). I see a lot of myself in her characters.

imageAnd at the same time, I don’t see myself at all.

Here’s why: Although I’m ethnically Chinese, my father was born in South Africa and grew up in Malaysia. He and my mother (who was from Taiwan) divorced when I was two. I was raised by a grandfather who had lived most of his life in South Africa, and a grandmother who lived the first half of her life in Mauritius, a tiny island in the Indian Ocean just off the coast of Madagascar. Neither of them spoke more than a few words of Mandarin. Because we didn’t travel much, I didn’t have dim sum for the first time until high school. My grandmother cooked South Asian curries for dinner (and my grandfather had a serious addiction to Vienna sausages in those tiny little cans).

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My grandfather meeting the Sultan of Malaysia

Anyone who met me when I was thirteen years old would think that I was such a cliché: An Asian American girl who plays the violin, is a straight-A student & whose (grand)parent is a doctor. Look closer, though, and I’m hardly the “typical” Asian (whatever that means). My school pic shows why: I was one of only two Chinese students in my school. Even today, I speak less Mandarin than some of my Caucasian friends who have lived overseas. I didn’t got to my first traditional Chinese wedding until medical school. And, to my husband’s chagrin, I know how to do a basic Asian stir fry but that’s pretty much it.

The thing is, the more people realize the diversity within diversity, the more stereotypes crumble. ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat hooked me from its first scene, when the close-up of someone getting dressed listening to hip hop pans out to a Asian middle-grader.

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In the end, we’re all just people, none of us defined by race, religion or sexuality. So let’s tell our stories in all our multitudes–and let’s read them so we can see each other in all our complexity


I. W. Gregorio is a practicing surgeon by day, masked avenging YA writer by night. After getting her MD, she did her residency at Stanford, where she met the intersex patient who inspired her debut novel, None of the Above (Balzer & Bray / HarperCollins, April 7, 2015). She is a founding member of We Need Diverse Books™ and serves as its VP of Development. A recovering ice hockey player, she lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two children. Find her online at www.iwgregorio.com, and on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and Instagram at @iwgregorio.

None of the Above is available for purchase here.

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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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 diversityinya@gmail.com.

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!