Around and About

Nicola Yoon announced that her recently released novel, Everything, Everything (Delacorte Press, 2015) has been optioned by MGM.

Mitali Perkins shared that a narrative feature film based on her middle grade novel Rickshaw Girl 11986385_1020320677998638_1992805819758346769_n(Charlsebridge, 2008) is currently in production and planned for a 2017 release.

With all the children’s books that have evolved into movies, have you ever seen a chidlren’s or YA book by a Native American or person of color become a major motion picture? Yes, there are film versions of Watsons Go to Birmingham, and The House of Dies Drear but they were not major releases. I think it’s huge to see these books moving to film and I hope to see lots of support for them.

Quvenzhane Wallis becomes the latest (and youngest?) African American celebrity to get a book deal. Wallis has a four book contract with Simone and Schuster for three chapter books and a picture book.

36287-2Publisher’s Weekly recently released its annual salary survey of the publishing industry. A few takeaways.

  • the average age of those employed in published dropped from the previous year
  • there was little change in the ethnic makeup of the publishing workforce at 89% White and 5% Asian
  • the percentage of women in the industry rose from 74% to 77%. 15% of these with fewer than three years experience were men. 54% of those with more than 21 years were also men.

It will be interesting to compare these results to those from the Lee and Low survey specifically for firms that publish children’s and young adult literature.

Latin@s In Kid Lit is currently running a series on Cuban American authors which has thus far featured reflective pieces from Alma Flor Ada, Meg Medina, Laura Lacamara, Nancy Osa and Margarita Engle. I like getting to know these authors, what it means to be a Cuban American (no, there is no single story!) and discovering a few new books. I can read more critically when I understand what it means to be Cuban American.

The Kirkus article “On Ethnicity and Authenticity” explains what happens when we read critically, when what we bring to the reading differing expectations in what words we’ll use and  how this sometimes derails authenticity.

“…both choices were made to increase the appeal of each book to a general U.S. audience, I can understand it. Broader appeal means higher sales and, arguably, higher exposure of each ethnic minority to children unfamiliar with it. But the trade-off—potential alienation of the culture each book is about—seems tragic to me. If, as we keep saying in our calls for diversity in children’s literature, children need both windows and mirrors, isn’t it working against that goal to give them books that are not truthful to those diverse cultures?”


2 thoughts on “Around and About

    1. Nancy, I think Native American are not in the statistics because they’re not present in a measurable amount in this industry and that’s something we have to notice. I wonder what kind of rounding they did to get 1% African American. Did they round up, or down?

      Then, let’s compare these numbers to overall population numbers for Native Americans and people of color. I’ve mentioned before the disturbing rate at which marginalized people do not have access to employment in the information industry: computers and technology speciailists, publishers, editors, educators, and librarians. I think that’s something we have to be aware of in the Information Age.


Comments are closed.