Quick! Support the Indiegogo for We Need Diverse Books

Elizabeth Bluemle -- October 27th, 2014

This just in from the Department of Putting Our Money (and Social Media Efforts) Where Our Mouths Are: the We Need Diverse Books campaign has put together an IndieGoGo fundraiser.

Even if you can’t contribute financially at this time (although every little bit adds up), please don’t miss the wonderful short video featuring kids and children’s book authors and editors—including Matt de la Peña, John Green, Grace Lin, Marie Lu, Lamar Giles, Tim Federle, Jacqueline Woodson, Cindy Pon, and Arthur A. Levine—and share it with your friends, family, and colleagues, who may be in a position to contribute.

Here are some of the great initiatives you’ll be supporting:

1) Diversity in the Classroom: Your donation helps bring diverse authors to classrooms that really need author visits!

2) Walter Dean Myers grants for deserving authors and artists of color whose work deserves a wider audience. (More info in the PW article here.)

And here are some of the perks you can receive for donating:

(1) Signed prints from some amazing artists!

(2) Agent critiques!

(3) Swag packs full of bookmarks, pins, and other goodies, including a poster in the super swag packs.

Over the past several years, I’ve done a lot of reading and thinking and talking about this vital need in children’s books, and have felt pretty deeply immersed in the value of seeing ourselves and others reflected authentically and widely in the books we offer to youth. So I was surprised to discover, in the video, an aspect of this conversation I hadn’t really thought about. It came from Matt de la Peña, who was not an enthusiastic reader as a kid and didn’t discover the power of books until his basketball skills led to a college scholarship. There, he encountered the first book he ever read that moved him nearly to tears (watch the video to find out which one!). He said, “Books became my secret place to feel.”

I think this must be the case for so many young readers, especially for boys whose feelings are not encouraged to be shared. And how are books going to touch these tender souls wrapped in their outer protective layers if those books don’t speak to a variety of emotions and situations that resonate with readers? We need diverse books! For so many, many reasons.

Thanks for everything you readers do to support and learn about and educate others about this great ball of momentum for truly multicultural literature!

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