For anyone who's heard, which were sure you have, BookCon hosted an event to highlight who they thought were the biggest authors in Kid Lit. The only issue? There were all white, cis-gendered, straight, middle aged men.
The issue isnt with their race. It's mainly due to the idea that these are the only powerhouses in Kid Lit, and they all represented the only demographic people seem to cater to in this country. White, middle aged men.
So there's a social media event going on May 1st, 2nd and 3rd, and we were invited to help spread the word. Our book review blog highlights books with main characters from marginalized groups. Mostly the only exception we'll make for a main character who isnt from a marginalized group, is if their love interest is, and plays just a big of part as the main character in the story(sometimes this is the case for dual protagonists, much like our future release of "The Mark of Noba").
The Campaign is called #WeNeedDiverseBooks. It is a visual social media campaign, and anyone interested, we need help to make this thing go viral.
So here's all the women of color authors I have on my shelf. To be honest, this isn't even all of them. Some I choose to omit due to the content not being kid appropriate, and some we authors who I didn't connect with. But overall, I have an extremely colorful shelf. I have about 7 piles with one than one book stacked. This indicates I have multiple books from that author, as it was difficult to fit just one picture full of them all. I have tons more who weren't women of color, and that would have been awesome to show, but that would've been about 50+ more books to show, and I wouldn't have been able to capture it in one picture.
On May 1st at 1pm (EST), there will be a public call for action that will spread over 3 days. We’re starting with a visual social media campaign using the hashtag #WeNeedDiverseBooks. We want people to tweet, Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, blog, and post anywhere they can to help make the hashtag go viral.
For the visual part of the campaign:
- Take a photo holding a sign that says “We need diverse books because ___________________________.” Fill in the blank with an important, poignant, funny, and/or personal reason why this campaign is important to you.
- The photo can be of you or a friend or anyone who wants to support diversity in kids’ lit. It can be a photo of the sign without you if you would prefer not to be in a picture. Be as creative as you want! Pose the sign with your favorite stuffed animal or at your favorite library. Get a bunch of friends to hold a bunch of signs.
- However you want to do it, we want to share it! There will be a Tumblr at http://weneeddiversebooks.tumblr.com/ that will host all of the photos and messages for the campaign. Please submit your visual component by May 1st to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “photo” or submit it right on our Tumblr page here and it will be posted throughout the first day.
- Starting at 1:00PM (EST) the Tumblr will start posting and it will be your job to reblog, tweet, Facebook, or share wherever you think will help get the word out.
- The intent is that from 1pm EST to 3pm EST, there will be a nonstop hashtag party to spread the word. We hope that we’ll get enough people to participate to make the hashtag trend and grab the notice of more media outlets.
- The Tumblr will continue to be active throughout the length of the campaign, and for however long we need to keep this discussion going, so we welcome everyone to keep emailing or sending in submissions even after May 1st.
On May 2nd, the second part of our campaign will roll out with a Twitter chat scheduled for 2pm (EST) using the same hashtag. Please use #WeNeedDiverseBooks at 2pm on May 2nd and share your thoughts on the issues with diversity in literature and why diversity matters to you.
On May 3rd, 2pm (EST), the third portion of our campaign will begin. There will be a Diversify Your Shelves initiative to encourage people to put their money where their mouth is and buy diverse books and take photos of them. Diversify Your Shelves is all about actively seeking out diverse literature in bookstores and libraries, and there will be some fantastic giveaways for people who participate in the campaign! More details to come!
We hope that you will take part in this in any way you can. We need to spread the word far and wide so that it will trend on Twitter. So that media outlets will pick it up as a news item. So that the organizers of BEA and every big conference and festival out there gets the message that diversity is important to everyone. We hope you will help us by being a part of this movement.