The American Booksellers Association and the grassroots organization We Need Diverse Books (WNDB) are working together on a number of efforts to keep the need for non-majority narratives in the spotlight.
We Need Diverse Books recently launched an Indiegogo campaign, a portion of whose proceeds will go toward developing educational kits for teachers, librarians, and booksellers in conjunction with ABA and School Library Journal. Building on author Grace Lin’s recommendations for pitching diverse titles (presented in her diversity cheat sheet at BookCon this year), the kits will provide a WNDB sign for in-store displays, title lists with hand-selling tips, shelf-talkers for recommended and comparable titles, a young adult reads flow chart, and bookmarks and stickers. The kits will be sent to booksellers via the Children’s White Box mailing in spring 2015.
We Need Diverse Books will also use funds from the Indiegogo campaign for the Diversity in the Classroom program, the Walter Dean Myers Award and grant program, promoting diverse programming at conferences and events across the country, and hosting the inaugural Children’s Literature Diversity Festival in Washington, D.C., in 2016.
The Indiegogo campaign runs through November 24.
Booksellers will have the opportunity to learn more about We Need Diverse Books and the diverse books movement at Winter Institute 10, to be held February 8 to 11, 2015, in Asheville, North Carolina.
We Need Diverse Books Vice President of Development I.W. Gregorio, author of None of the Above (Balzer+Bray, April 2015), will be joined by author Renée Ahdieh (The Wrath and the Dawn, Penguin) at the WNDB table at the Winter Institute’s Consultation Station. The Consultation Station will be open in the Skyline Room of the Omni Grove Park Inn on Tuesday, February 10, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Wednesday, February 11, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Also at Winter Institute, the ABC Group panel “Campaigning for Diversity — Expanding Your Inventory and Customer Base” will bring Gregorio together with author Pam Muñoz Ryan (Echo, Scholastic) and booksellers Elizabeth Bluemle of The Flying Pig in Shelburne, Vermont; Cynthia Compton of 4 Kids Books & Toys in Zionsville, Indiana; and Sara Hines of Eight Cousins in Falmouth, Massachusetts, in a conversation on the need for diversity in children’s books and the steps that can be taken to reach new readers. The panel will take place on Monday, February 9, from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. See the full Winter Institute program here.
“WNDB is absolutely thrilled to have been invited to be on the diversity panel,” said Gregorio. “We think our panel and Consultation Station at Wi10 are going to be crucial learning experiences not only for the Wi10 attendees, but also for WNDB as we tailor our educational and outreach efforts to the needs of independent booksellers. If we want to move the needle, we’re going to have to work together as an industry. WNDB can’t wait to continue the vital discussion on how to get diverse books into the hands of the children who need them the most.”
We Need Diverse Books organized following BookExpo America’s announcement of a predominantly white male author lineup for the 2014 trade show. The #WeNeedDiverseBooks hashtag calls on the public, authors, and book industry professionals to show their support for literature featuring people of color, those identifying as LGBTQIA, and those with disabilities.