We are all out here shouting “We Are Here” and nobody can hear us. But if more and more people joined us, we could finally break through the barrier that is keeping us from being heard. The whole idea of #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign is about the need for people to get involved. We need every single person who cares to do something and let their voice join with ours because their one voice might be the one that makes the difference.
In a world where John Green takes up nearly half of the New York Times YA Bestsellers list and can tweet something as innocuous as “The next couple of months are going to be a little nuts around here” to the tune of almost 700 retweets, why aren’t more people like him, with enormous social platforms, giving a little time to these conversations? What does he — or any other of a number of well-positioned, socially-connected YA authors (white men and some white women) — stand to lose from addressing these concerns? Would a reblog or a retweet of one of the first of a series of stories kill their career? Or would it help the voices of those who deserve to be heard get that attention?
When we buy into these ideas about boys and reading, we also make a statement about girls and reading. We believe they’re automatically readers. They don’t need our support or encouragement to be life-long readers because reading is part and parcel of being a girl. Their lives are small, internal. That their interests aren’t in non-fiction or sports books or comics and graphic novels. But we send a mixed message here, since girls should be insulted by the idea that they’re interested in anything “girly,” too.
Start ‘em young with this Guide to Neil Gaiman for Kids!
The Center for Children’s Books is home to more than 16,000 kids’ and YA titles. Check it out.