We Need Bigger Megaphones for Diversity in Kid Lit | BOOK RIOT

Click through to read via Book Riot a piece on getting more power players in the kid/YA lit industry to talk more about issues of diversity on behalf of those with not as many followers to their name (yet).

via We Need Bigger Megaphones for Diversity in Kid Lit | BOOK RIOT.

 

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African American speculative fiction for kids | Fledgling

African American speculative fiction for kids | Fledgling.

I am currently reading The Golden Hour and have Zetta Elliot’s A Wish Before Midnight checked out from the library. I made it about halfway through Book of Wonders (it’s not bad, just something about it isn’t holding me the way The Golden Hour is). This is a great go to list when looking for new MG/YA SFF books to read.

Click through to check them out!

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10 Great Women of Color Whose Stories You Should Know

10 Great Women of Color Whose Stories You Should Know via Lee and Low book blog

All of these books are presented as children’s books and they look fun and fantastic. Two I’d love to check out are

10 Great Women of Color Whose Stories You Should Know

Pura Belpré, The Storyteller’s Candle / La velita de los cuentos – New York City’s first Latina librarian

and

10 Great Women of Color Whose Stories You Should Know

Zora Neale Hurston, Zora Hurston and the Chinaberry Tree – renowned African American writer

You know, when I finally finish the 4 books I’m reading now and the 2 others I have from the libraries. #raremomentofoveracheiving

Also check out: 25 Empowering Books for Little Black Girls.

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WSJ Article on the Trend of Adults Reading “Kids” Books

 ‘Wonder’ and ‘Dork Diaries’ Are Hits Because of Mom and Dad – WSJ.com

The Wall Street Journal back in December posted this article on adults reading children’s lit. This blog is for all those people. The article discusses “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio, a book about a child with a deformity that shapes his life as he enters school and encounters bullies. The thing about books like this is that they speak to children now, but also to adults who didn’t have an outlet for issues like this when they were children. It is just as important to intellectually feed your inner child as to feed your child.

A lot of adults are secretly reading children’s novels.

Middle-grade books have become a booming publishing category, fueled in part by adult fans who read “Harry Potter” and fell in love with the genre. J.K. Rowling’s books, which sold more than 450 million copies, reintroduced millions of adults to the addictive pleasures of children’s literature and created a new class of genre-agnostic reader who will pick up anything that’s buzzy and compelling, even if it’s written for 8 year olds. Far from being an anomaly, “Harry Potter” paved the way for a new crop of blockbuster children’s books that are appealing to readers of all ages. […]

Loving the term genre-agnostic, I certainly am becoming this way in terms of reading books for all ages, but specifically within “genre-fiction,” so fantasy, sci-fi, and mystery. 

“People don’t think of it as reading down anymore,” says Seira Wilson, children’s and teen-books editor at Amazon. “There’s less of a stigma.”

The article cites Neil Gaiman as having said he was surprised at the number of adults at readings for his children’s novels, which surprises me. Often, Gaiman is a strong believer in “reading when you’re ready,” but this often is applied to children and teens wondering when they can start reading “adult” novels. The reverse can also be similarly true, when you were little, they didn’t have so-and-so book that you specifically related to, but now it exists, so why not read it? A lot of this blog is me looking for and beginning to read fantasy and science fiction children’s/YA books by black authors, because my inner child didn’t get those as a kid.

Blockbuster novelists like John Grisham and James Patterson have launched children’s books series in recent years to extend their reach, often bringing their adult fans along with them. (Mr. Grisham jokingly said that he created his “Theodore Boone, Kid Lawyer” character after Harry Potter knocked him off his usual No. 1 spot on the best-seller list.) Commercial juggernaut Mr. Patterson recently launched a new middle-grade series, “Treasure Hunters,” and will add another, “House of Robots,” next year, further expanding his line of books for young readers, which have sold 27 million copies and now include seven series. Mr. Patterson says he prefers writing kids books to “murdering people on my pages.”

Certainly books to look into!

Many children’s book covers have gotten more muted and mature looking—better for the self-conscious adult reader to pull out on the bus or subway. 

E-readers have certainly helped with the stigma as well,–the book I am reading now “Book of Wonders” is an NYPL e-loan–but I encourage everyone, myself included, to drop the stigma and read what you want to read. And some of the best children’s books are written for children so that they appeal to the parents and teachers reading them ahead of or with their children.

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Adults Can Enjoy Picture Books as Much as Children Do | WritersDigest.com

Adults Can Enjoy Picture Books as Much as Children Do | WritersDigest.com

There are reasons adults can enjoy children’s literature: compelling stories, great narrative and action, exercises in dialogue–all the reasons an adult can enjoy an adult novel. I don’t, however, read too many picture books. I may take a look at one in a bookstore, but for the most part, I don’t read them. This article shows us to, as my blog theme suggests, put away the fear of reading picture books; there are ways an adult can enjoy them too.

The most compelling argument made in the article is the artwork. I’ve posted about my experience at the Gotham Writers Workshop children’s book writing class and part of what we discussed was picture books and the way they are made. The publishers hire writers but their bigger focus is on the illustrators–much like Hollywood hires and pays writers, but the bigger credit goes to actors and/or directors for bringing it to life. The illustrator works really hard in presenting the idea for a children’s book and it has to look different from the other books it might sit near on the shelf. It’s really fascinating and, I imagine, hard work.

Some picture books have museum worthy (or at least classic art inspired) pages. Swirling action and cute characters and realistic animal characters, you name it, it’s in a picture book, and it’s really under appreciated.

So let’s look at some picture books and ignore the toddler giving you side eye about it in Barnes and Noble (or keep it a secret and download them to your tablet…)

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Comic book superheroes save reading, storytelling – WTOP.com

Comic book superheroes save reading, storytelling – WTOP.com.

I was never a big comic book reader, but I’ve always appreciated them for their stories (like how I don’t really like to read epic poems like The Odyssey, but I enjoy the stories that they tell). We always want to look at children’s literature as developing from picture books to middle grade to YA to “adult” novels (with classics taught in school), but when a kid doesn’t want to read, what do you do? This article discusses one way a parent, and a campaign, are looking into fostering a desire to read. Comic books. Some parents look down on comics as a waste of time from other things, but they are reading. They are looking at story and analyzing and enjoying characters and aching to read more.

While one [daughter] is a born bookworm, the other prefers cartoons and anime. Henry didn’t know what to do, so she picked up her old comics and offered them to her daughter. She started with “Archie” and then eventually the 8-year-old graduated to more sophisticated stories like “Zita the Spacegirl” by Hatke.

Children who love television and cartoons (which often gets a bad rap, but as a TV lover as well, I can’t fight against enjoying stories in my favorite form) could transition to reading more if they had more comics. It applies reading with what they clearly enjoy about cartoons: humor and animation, but also talking about, as the article says, a lot of social issues under the guise of myths and superheroes. Comic book children also often become interested in art and illustration. And there are classic stories told in all forms: while a child could watch The Wizard of Oz the movie instead of reading the book, they could also find a cool comic drawn edition of the story and enjoy it that way.

We have to find creative ways to engage kids in reading and enjoying stories. Every child isn’t alike. I know some kids who were reading well below their grade level (while I was reading above mine) who probably could have used their interest in television and sports and given them comics on the subject to help them reach up to their grade reading level. It’s a great idea.

100 Great Children’s Books | 100 Years | The New York Public Library

100 Great Children’s Books | 100 Years | The New York Public Library.

It seems I’ve only read 16 of the books on this list. Time to find another list with more stuff I recognize! No, but some of these do post-date my childhood and some maybe I’ve read and merely forgot about?

How many have you read?

 

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