Under the Radar

Are you a librarian or parent working to create a diverse book collection in your home or school? Don’t miss Lee and Low’s inventory and list of resources to help you along the way.

Be certain to read The Brown Bookshelf’s feature from Carole Bostone Weatherford on why she entered the print on demand and ebook market.

There is a market, and need for, more multicultural books and ebooks. The number of multicultural children’s books being released each year has plateaued at fewer than 100 titles a year. This at a time when the U.S. population is increasingly diverse.

Several days ago, Zetta Elliott’s post about #weneeddiversebooks discussed the need for those who want more diversity in YA to support self published authors.

I’ve been discussing the barriers faced by writers of color and my colleagues had several ideas, including a collective of indie authors. I think the big review outlets—Kirkus, School Library munecas_front_covercorrectedJournal, Horn Book—ought to devote a column to indie authors so that they can shine a spotlight on the very best self-published books instead of using blanket policies to shut out those truly talented writers who have already been turned away by publishers. But if members of the children’s literature community refuse to change and instead opt to wait on the publishers themselves to do better, nothing will ever change…

I’d had a similar discussion with Amy Cheney just the week before. Amy says that without self published authors, there would be even less for her students to read. She specifically mentioned L. Divine who self published to continue her Drama High series and No Matter What by Jeff Rivera.

I still, still hesitate with self published works even though I know Zetta Elliott, B. A. Binns, Neesha Meminger, L. Divine and Jeff Rivera do good work. These authors know the process and don’t rush a first draft to press. Not everyone has that dedication.

And then there are small presses. While some can rush works through, the majority whose work I’ve read, spend time with writers of color who wouldn’t get a chance with a larger press. They don’t necessarily have the resources for a lot of marketing, but the larger houses that do have the marketing departments don’t necessarily use them on newer writers.

And, we can’t assume anything because a book comes from a major publisher. Biases are still there, editing can be sloppy and research on historic events, cultures or places can be incorrect.

By these standards, we should be willing to give independent authors and smaller publishers a try, but when you consider that these large publishers so seldom give writers of color a try, perhaps we need to really reconsider where our money is going. In Econ class we called it the ‘dollar vote’. Be selective where you spend your money and make it count. Look at the reviews and consider how well Native American culture is being portrayed. They won’t get it right until our dollars vote for the right books.

I really do try to make this easy for you. I have a nice list of authors of color who have published with smaller companies, and I even have information on some of the smaller publishers who have been flying under the #seneeddiversebooks radar. While many publishers such as those listed below are on my Resource Page, the ones I’m presenting today are not.

Pinata Books

RoadRunner Press

Saffron Press

Shen’s Books

Starbright Books

Tara Books

Tiny Satchel Press

Tulika Books

Tuttle Publishing

7th Generation Press

Black Sheep YA is an imprint of Akashic Books.

“Akashic Books is a Brooklyn-based independent company dedicated to publishing urban literary fiction and political nonfiction by authors who are either ignored by the mainstream, or who have no interest in working within the ever-consolidating ranks of the major corporate publishers.”

Black Sheep YA is meant to appeal to reluctant readers and those looking for something not found in traditional publishing. 2014 Titles include Changers Book 1: Drew by T. Cooper and Allison Glock-Cooper and Game World by C.J. Farely.

Jacqueline Guest’s books are published by Lorimer. From her webpage:

Jacqueline is a Metis writer who lives in a log cabin nestled in the pinewoods of the Rocky Mountain foothills JacquelinePortrait2859JGverof Alberta . 

Her award winning books are unique in that many of the main characters come from different ethnic backgrounds including First Nations, Inuit or Metis. Her well-drawn characters face issues common to every child such as bullying, blended families and physical challenges and are strong role models for today’s youth. Jacqueline’s historical novels for young readers’ present Canada ’s vibrant past as an exciting read every child will enjoy. Her young adult mysteries address teenage problems in a sensitive way while still providing a great page-turner.

Her recent books include Free Throw, Triple Threat and Hat Trick.

Na’ima B. Roberts? Too awesome!! Check her out on Wikipedia!

If you’re more visual, She Wore Red Trainers is her current UK release.

It’s love at first glance when Ali meets Amirah, red trainers and all. Ali is still getting over the loss of mother, and trying to come to terms with his identity as a Muslim who likes basketball, motorbikes and wants a gap year in Mexico. Amirah, the gifted artist, has sworn never to get married. But falling in love isn’t simple when trying to remain true to the deen, the spiritual path of Islam.

Watch the trailer and then read the first chapter!

Into steampunk steamfunk? You have to know about Balogun Ojetade, author of the Chronicles of Harriet series, self published by Roaring Lions Produections. Come back sometime. I just bought a copy and plan to review soon. Much more to follow on this author.

Writer of YA paranormal. Author of EDGE OF TRUTH (Sapphire Star Publishing, June 2013). Hopeless chocoholic!
Natasha Hanover

I also just purchased Edge of Truth by Natasha Hanova. Hanova writes YAParanormal, is published by Sapphire Star Publishing and is a blogger extraordinaire!



Paul Ferrante publishes with Fire and Ice, an imprint of Melange Books. Melange is a “royalty-paying company publishing ebooks and print books. We pay authors 40% net royalties on ditital formats and 10% on print.” Self publishing that isn’t sm_RobertosReturncompletely DIY. Ferrante writes the T.J. Jackson mystery series nad has currently released the third in the series, Roberto’s Return.

Something’s Wrong in the Birthplace of Baseball

In life, he was one of the all-time greats, a trailblazing icon who played the game with unmatched passion and style. In death, his mystique only grew, the circumstances of his demise shrouded in controversy and myth. When he passed into legend it was believed his like would never be seen again. But now he’s come back. And it’s up to T.J., LouAnne and Bortnicker to solve the riddle of Roberto’s Return.

Medeia Sharif released Snip, Snip Revenge this April from Evernight Press.

snipsniprevengesmallBeautiful, confident Tabby Karim has plans for the winter: nab a role in her school’s dramatic production, make the new boy Michael hers, and keep bigoted Heather—with her relentless Ay-rab comments—at bay. When a teacher’s lie and her father’s hastiness rob her of her beautiful hair, her dreams are dashed. The fastest barber in Miami Beach has made her look practically bald. With all her pretty hair gone, Tabby doesn’t believe she fits the feminine role she’s auditioning for. Michael is still interested in her, but he’s playing it cool. Heather has taken to bullying her online, which is easier to do with Tabby’s ugly haircut. Tabby spearheads Operation Revenge, which proves satisfying until all of her problems deepen. After messing up, she sets to make things right.

2 thoughts on “Under the Radar

  1. Thank you so much for mentioning my latest release.

    Wonderful post. I’ve had a good experience with SNIP, SNIP REVENGE and the publishing team. I hope diverse books expand in both small and big press.


  2. Thank you for this valuable roundup. I’m especially pleased to hear about Medeia’s new book because I loved the last one I read, which Flux published. I’m also glad to hear about Akashic’s new YA imprint because I’ve been a fan of their adult books for a long time and know they’ll challenge the status quo in the YA world as well.


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