subtitle: Only Diversity

Depending on your perspective, my spring break was a bit glum. I chose to put a spin on things by rejoicing in the fact that I spent more days at the gym than at the hospital. I had a few sleep tests which indicated I have sleep apnea. Admitting something so personal on a blog is not something I ever do, but I will if it can help someone else. I was talking with my daughter last night about apnea when she brought up a memory in which someone, a young person who she knows, probably has it, too. Have you ever heard someone snoring and they suddenly stop, kinda like they’ve stopped breathing? Well, they have stopped breathing! While most of the people with apnea are overweight, thin people can have it too. It sounds benign, doesn’t it? Well, while untreated it pretty much affects every system in your body because you don’t fall into deep stages of sleep and you don’t get enough oxygen while sleeping. A few years ago, a young football player died in his sleep because he stopped breathing. The treatment is that bulky machine that Mike wears on Mike and Molly and the cure is either to get your tonsils removed or to lose weight. My tonsils are already gone, so… The technician I spoke with mentioned that a loss of only 20 lbs could make a difference. Only!! only ! So much easier said than done!

Only. Our world can be only.

I was reading a very interesting interview with Holly Black over on Diversity in YA in which she discusses why the cast of characters in her book is so diverse. Her world is diverse! It’s difficult, if not impossible, to write (or teach) what we don’t know. We may want more authors to have diversity in their books, but they can’t/won’t if their worlds are not diverse. And if editors and publishers enclose themselves in all White worlds, they will not understand the necessity for books by and for people of color either.  I wonder how someone’s world cannot be diverse, but I know this is still the reality for many people. I remember my first year in college realizing that there were Black people who lived in all Black worlds from their school to their home, family, and neighborhood. It surprised me that Blacks would have such a dominant presence anywhere in the US because  that wasn’t the case in my world. Students are still able to grow up in worlds that are all Black or all White.

I usually shy away from saying I work for diversity because diversity is about more than color and ethnicity. I find myself challenged in this regard when I read Let’s Get Beyond Tolerance, Diversity In YA and Reading in Color, especially Reading in Color. I enjoy being on this journey with Ari as she expands her concepts, as she grows! I do say that I work to promote literacy for teens of color. As we reach for the mouse or keyboard, for a book or ereader, as we increase the amount of information we take in about the world around us how can our world not become more diverse? How can we not begin, not only to see but to interact with people who have different beliefs or colors? To me, if we’re not growing in our understanding, tolerance, acceptance and inclusion of people of different colors, religions, sizes, sexual preference or income strata then how literate are we? No matter how well we can surf the net or how high our reading level I think we’re illiterate if we only see the world through mirror images. And, books are the safest way to do that!

A new resource to explore and become more diverse is the American Legacy Blog. I’ve added the blog to my Diigo account which I’m in the process of building so that it will have a plethora of resources that address literacy for teens of color.

Finally, new releases for April 

21: The Story of Roberto Clemente by Wilfred Santiago; Fantagraphic Books, 4 April graphic novel

Carmen by Walter Dean Myers; Egmont Books, April

You don’t have a cluby Sarah Cortez; Arte Publico; April

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor; Penguin Books, 14 April

The break up Diarieby NiNi Simone and Kelli London; Dafina, April

Boyfriends and girlfriends by Alex Sanchez; Simon and Schuster, April 2011

Bird in a box by Andrea Davis Pickney; Hatchette Group, April

Now is the time for running by Michael Williams,Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, April

Huntress by Malinda Lo; Little, Brown, April

This thing called the future by J. L. Powers; Cinco Punto Press; April

Enjoy your week!

5 thoughts on “SundayMorningReads

  1. Thank you for sharing this with us. My five-year-old’s sleep is a little off. He snores and I used to think that his asthma was causing his snoring to be so erratic, but after reading this post I’m going to contact his doctor and ask her to run tests. I wouldn’t have known to do so without you sharing your story.

    When I was younger the world I lived in was Black and Mexican. That’s it. If you were anything other than those two, you might as well have been a Martian. It wasn’t until I was almost in high school that I knew or even heard about other races. As an adult I try to always push myself to read things out of my comfort zone: books by people of color or set in a different country or even translated from a different language. Books show us so much of the world that we wouldn’t have known about otherwise.

    Take care of yourself.


  2. Thanks for such thoughtful comments! Vasilly, hearing you say that makes me glad I opened up and shared this. I hope all is well with your son!


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