Monthly Archives: December 2014

A View from the Alley: The Diversity Movement in YA & Middle-School Literature

So, I’m a writer looking at the world from my back door–not the front lawn, the shopping center, or the rarified atmosphere of intellectual movements. I’m just saying: if you are a group of bloggers or agents or social justice activists, for example, frustrated (unto outrage even) with the lack of books being published about or by people of color, why would you limit your reviews and promotional activities to books published only by commercial publishers? Aren’t you saying, as an advocate, that they are the problem? In other words, they may publish “some” but “not enough” of what we think is missing from the bookshelves.

And by refusing to review self-published books for young people, that are by or about people of color, aren’t you perpetuating the “ghettoization” and inferior stereotyping of self-published writers? Some of these self-published books are being used in classrooms already because teachers recognize their value. Thank goodness they are responding to direct marketing from self-published writers, and not waiting for commercial publishers or well-intentioned but self-limiting activists to tell them what to buy and teach. Change is coming, and there is plenty to praise in the promotion of diversity in literature movement. I just wish I could see it from my alley.