Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Shirley Gale

Promoting Diversity In Children's Literature

Recommended Posts

Hello Troy,

I know I'm a little behind on what has been happening here on AALBC.com, but I just want to let you know how good this site looks and flows. I just visited the homepage and it looks great. I also took time to read and print out a copy of the "Ten Steps to Promote Diversity in Children's Literature" by Wade Hudson. I definitely plan to share it. Even as an author who is out there pushing my own work, I still try my hardest to support other authors--especially us. It's a difficult road toward acceptance and recognition in the literary industry. If we don't support our own, who will? Just like the article says: "You can make a difference!" We, together must make a difference for our struggling reader/learners. We've got to put a cork in that infamous pipeline to prison. Again, if we don't, who will?????

While I am still very busy trying to market and promote my books, I'm going to try to stop by to visit a little more often. Thanks so much for caring.

My best to you always,

Shirley

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You perfectly embody the spirt of AALBC.com Shirley.  We have to support each other.  If you have not already done so reach out to Wade.  He has been fighting for the same thing I have for much longer--and doing a great job!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am going to do just that. I hope he is on LinkedIn too. This is a fight that I definitely plan to help win. I have received awesome critiques from my instructors and peers at Gotham Writers Workshop on The Peanut Butter Trap: Hate Is Such An Ugly Word and The Hunt for the Magic Pearl, Second Edition. CreateSpace has been a Godsend for me.  Both my books shout diversity. I must get them into the hands of our youths. I am on this 100%. Thanks so much for your recognition and support of my efforts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You know I actually do have an issue with the word "diversity."  It depends upon who is using it for example when Shirley uses it I know she means to include Black folks--that is a given.  However when corporations use it, Black folks don't have to be part of the mix, and this is very troubling.

This is troubling because corporations and organizations seeking corporate support for their programs can say they are diverse, which gives the impression that Black people are benefiting, when in reality White women, gay people, Asian people, any demographic but the American Black is benefiting.

I worked for several fortune 100 companies many of these companies boasted about their "diversity," but this diversity does not include us. On paper the figures can be presented to make a company appear very diverse, but a Black person are simply left out --certainly for the income producing roles and higher paying positions.  This New York Times article illustrates this quite well.

In fact over the course of my corporate life things got progressively worse over the past 30 years 

So no I'm not a fan of the word diverse, unless I'm talking about the diversity within Black culture.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Celestial Greatness and Troy,

In this instance, I am using diversity strictly as it pertains to children's literature. As an adult, looking back through my child's eyes, I seem to only remember reading European literature and history in school. I was bored too death because for one thing there was nothing in it that pertained to me and my chitterlings, pigs' feet, collard greens, black-eyed peas, watermelon eating, big crazy family, Black culture. I loved the foods that we ate. It was sustaining and damned good. As a child I had no idea about cholesterol, nor did I care. I just knew that I hated being embarrassed when someone spoke ill about what we ate and it happened more often than I wanted to imagine. I almost fought a lady once when I lived in GA and she had the audacity to talk bad about me, a "N" word eating watermelon. I should have had a book right then depicting me enjoying the biggest slice of watermelon ever!!!! Now look at how watermelon is treated on menus. It's not only delicious, but it is very healthy--and as an a part of the agricultural industry, it can be lucrative for farmers. This is my a wonderful representation of my/our cultural diversity--Black children and their enjoyment of Watermelon. Sounds like a great title to me. Sorry, I get a little carried away at times.

 Back to books. And then when I did got older and could pick and choose the books that I preferred to read, many of them were filled with untruths and outright lies. When I went with my daddy to the White church that he cleaned on Saturdays and Sundays, I would often go into the nursery and look through all the wonderful, colorful children's books. I saw long, straight, blonde hair, blues eyes, and happy endings. Not one of the characters looked anything like me nor did they live in a neighborhood like mine.  So as a result of what I'd read, here's what my confused mind did: I went home and put white towels on my head to cover my nappy hair and pretended to be a blue-eyed Cinderella until my Momma told me to take that shit off my head.

Having shared that memory, I want our children to see themselves behaving on the pages of our books just they are--good and bad. I want them to visit their histories and cultures via the pages of diverse literature--whether that literature pertains to Africans, Latinos/Hispanics, Asians, whomever. I want to see and hear our varied languages--colorful and brilliantly presented. I want to experience our pains, joys, and sorrows on the pages of good books. I want to see our triumphs as well as our failures. This is diversity in literature to me. This is why I write about intelligent R.A.T.S that represent our young males doing battle with intolerant green giants. This is why I write about beautiful dark-skinned mermaid princesses who are courageous, smart and clever survivors. This is only a peek of what  children should see in their literature so that their minds can soar into all sorts of possibilities, so that they can hear rich and varied vocabulary, and so that they can become great and creative thinkers. This is the diversity that I speak of.

Now about hate. Hate is a destructive force. A quick step back into the dark days of our history says so. For that matter, just look around us right now. I don't want to hate to move me. I don't want to teach hate in a way that is destructive. But I do want to make children aware of hate and how to handle it when it comes at them or when they feel a need to use it. I must respectfully disagree--hate is a power that destroys from the inside out if it is improperly handled.  Love, hate's opposite, can be easily transformed into destruction. It is indeed a slippery slope when we speak of these two very powerful emotions.

Thanks so much for the opportunity to exchange views. This is how the power of knowledge is shared and how our great minds are challenged. I absolutely appreciate your input!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...