Are you looking for a curated summer reading list that celebrates books with authentic representations of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color)? The We Are Kid Lit Collective selects books written or illustrated by BIPOC, with attention always given to their intersectional identities.
Again this year, the COVID pandemic made it challenging to find and read books to consider for our list. Publishers don’t send us books, we work to locate them in libraries, we purchase them, or share them among ourselves. When we first began working on this year’s list, we still couldn’t get many books and for a little while after that, finding the capacity to read was challenging. But, we hung in there! Each book gets at least two readings where we look for microaggessions, biases, stereotypes or other forms of hatred and imperialism that too often appear in books for youth. We use critical multicultural theory to guide our practice.
This work makes us keenly aware of how diverse children’s books should be at every level. It continues to be difficult to find chapter books written by BIPOC authors and books with intersection identities in picture and chapter books. It’s not enough to have Asian American books, or Latinx books. These stories need to be written by authors whose ancestry originates from a multitude of countries within these diasporas and there is a need for more to contain stories that center LGBTQIA+ lives and characters with disabilities in nonfictions, poetry, memoirs, graphic novels, plays and fictions. We do the work every year to seek out these books to help parents, grand-parents, guardians and teachers who want books based in inclusion and social justice for young readers. The same diverse elements are remain elusive.
Last year, our list released in the midst of the pandemic and we worked hard to find online sources to support each of the titles. This year, confident that libraries and booksellers are ready for in person visits, we’ve gone back to our traditional format. Still, for several of the months this year, Sujei, Lyn and Sonia and I pushed ourselves to find the stamina to do this work. I’m so proud to be part of this project! I’m proud to work with my friends to release a list that tells the world that Black lives matter, that anti-Asian hatred must end and that children do not belong in cages, or in war zones or trapped behind manmade borders that put their lives in peril. Our list validates the power of story to disrupt, agitate and innovate. Books can be such dangerous things! And, they can incite joy, too!
I hope you enjoy this year’s list.
This 2021 list can be found here https://wtpsite.com/2021/06/05/2021-summer-reading-list/
2021 We Are Kid Lit Collective members: Edith Campbell, Sujei Lugo Vázquez, Lyn Miller-Lachmann, and Dr. Sonia Alejandra Rodríguez.