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We need — and I WANT — Diverse Books

WeNeedDiverseBooksIf you’ve been on the internet at all in the last few days, you’ve probably seen the hashtag #WeNeedDiverseBooks. It’s taken over Twitter and Tumblr, as far as I can tell. To quote the WeNeedDiverseBooks tumblr:

Recently, there’s been a groundswell of discontent over the lack of diversity in children’s literature. The issue is being picked up by news outlets like these two pieces in the NYT, CNN, EW, and many more. But while we individually care about diversity, there is still a disconnect. BEA’s Bookcon recently announced an all-white-male panel of “luminaries of children’s literature,” and when we pointed out the lack of diversity, nothing changed.

Now is the time to raise our voices into a roar that can’t be ignored.

The visual campaign is already well underway, and I was thrilled to include my thoughts. Click on the image above for a closer look, or go here.

But I want to do more. Renee and I are already taking a look at the ratio of diverse to not in our query inbox, and we’ll be posting a status report on that shortly. But rather than just look for it in what I’m already being sent, I want to seek it out. For the next week or so, until May 9th, send me your racially, socially, sexually, diverse and multicultural YA and MG queries with the hashtag #WeNeedDiverseBooks in the subject line, and we will respond within ONE DAY. I still have to be blown away by your story and your writing, but I want to put my focus and attention where it matters — in making sure my bookshelves reflect the diversity of the world we live in, and that my children are growing up in.

If you’ve already sent a query that would fit with this request and are waiting on a response, rest assured we’re going through all of those as well, and we’re going to get caught up as fast as we can.

In Daniel Jose Older’s recent piece on Buzzfeed, he wrote:

The question industry professionals need to ask themselves is: “How can I use my position to help create a literary world that is diverse, equitable, and doesn’t just represent the same segment of society it always has since its inception? What concrete actions can I take to make actual change and move beyond the tired conversation we’ve been having for decades?”

This is my concrete action. Come on. Let’s make a success story.

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