Month: October 2015
KitLit TV Celebrates First Year with KidLit Radio
Under the guidance of producer Julie Gribble, KidLit Radio will feature repackaged episodes of StoryMakers and other features in podcast form. Stay tuned for more updates! Our mission at KidLit TV is to create …
Not Quite Middle Grade, Not Quite YA
Falling somewhere between the middle grade and young adult genres, their works are difficult to categorize but nonetheless important. Complex and socially-relevant issues such as bullying, body image, gender, and sexuality …
Mad Libs® LIVE! Makes Its World Premiere November 1, 2015
New York, NY — Book Writer/Lyricist, Robin Rothstein (Samuel French Short Play Festival Winner) and Composer Jeff Thomson’s (Trails) new, interactive family musical, MAD LIBS LIVE! based on the classic fill-in-the-blank …
Navigating an All-White Publishing Industry
By Ebony LaDelle, marketing manager at Simon & Schuster
At this year’s Brooklyn Book Festival, I had the pleasure of meeting one of my favorite authors, Edwidge Danticat. When she found out I worked in publishing, she looked at me and said, “So you’re like a unicorn.” “I’m sorry?” I replied, star struck. “You’re one of the few black people who actually work in publishing,” she said, “You’re a unicorn.”
Growing up in the Midwest, I was fortunate. My mother taught me the power of reading at a young age. She couldn’t afford to buy me a collection of books, but she made sure to take me to our local library. Goosebumps, The Boxcar Children, The Baby-Sitters Club…those books transported me into a world of make-believe.
Make-believe was fun, but it wasn’t until I checked out the first book where I felt the author got ME, that I fully recognized how underrepresented I was. I was in middle school, and on a trip to the library, I saw a cover that spoke to me in ways I had never experienced before. The cover was of an African-American girl who looked to be my age, with almond-shaped eyes and full lips, and the title was The Skin I’m In. The main character, Maleeka Madison, was a smart and tall, skinny, dark-skinned girl who didn’t feel like she fit in, and was insecure about her chocolate skin.
This book was one of my favorites and helped shape my thoughts, ideas, and even my future in publishing. I always considered myself a fan of books, but the thought of working in such an industry seemed unattainable until that moment.
Last week, Publisher’s Weekly released their annual salary survey, reporting that 89% of the people who work in publishing are white. 89% is a staggering number, but I can attest that this industry is still very much white, and it shows in the books being acquired. It’s also one of the main reasons I created Coloring Books, a biweekly newsletter that highlights both adult and children’s books by people of color. Instead of constantly complaining, I want to be a part of the solution. So what can the publishing industry do to help combat this problem?
- As a hiring manager, hold yourself accountable for minority hires. Be honest with yourself. When’s the last time you hired someone of color?
- Volunteer to go to career fairs, high schools, and colleges to speak to minorities about a career in publishing.
- Alexender Chee hit the nail on the head when he said, “if your tastes are not diverse, your life may also not be.” Make a conscious effort to present an accurate landscape of the world we live in; your willingness will be reflected in your social circle, your interests, and the titles you look for. If these things aren’t showing you a community outside of what you know, then it’s time to reevaluate.
- Please stop saying, “there’s not a market for this title.” And this is based off of…? Publishing one book from an author of color does not make you an expert. How many books are published from white authors that don’t make the bestsellers list? And yet these books are published every season. I’ve learned as a marketer that what works for one book may not work for another. But that hasn’t stopped us from publishing books.
- Understand that change takes time and commitment. You’re transforming the way an industry has been run for years. Don’t be overwhelmed or expect a quick fix. This will take years of work. But do your part, and hold others accountable as well. If everyone committed to doing small things, it could have a lasting effect.
Publishers have to realize that little girls like I was are interested in the business, but do not think of it as a viable career. When we see images of white people on the cover of every book in our local bookstore or library, we see make-believe. We see an unattainable world. It wasn’t until The Skin I’m In that I realized a brown-skinned girl like myself could turn my passion for books into a career. It wasn’t until I saw a mirror image of myself that I knew this was a world I could be accepted in.
Ebony LaDelle is a marketing manager at Simon & Schuster and a champion of promoting diversity through her biweekly newsletter, Coloring Books. You can follow her on Twitter at @_coloringbooks.
What Dads Bring to Read-Alouds
According to researchers, dads tend to approach bedtime storytelling with an emphasis on abstract questions and connections. Regardless of potential differences in style, reading together should be a priority for all parents …
Announcing YALSA's 2015 Teens’ Top Ten
The Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. Nielsen (Scholastic) I Become Shadow by Joe Shine. (Soho Teen) To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. (Simon & Schuster) My …
Lisa Yee to Write For The DC Super Hero Girls Book Series
Developed with girls ages 6-12 in mind, DC Super Hero Girls centers on DC Comics characters during their formative teen years at Super Hero High. DC Comics’ icons including Wonder …
Diversity in the News: October 2015
The newsletter is a great resource for librarians, teachers, booksellers, parents and caregivers, publishing professionals, and children’s literature lovers. Find thought-provoking articles, diverse new releases, and more in this month’s issue and …
#DrawingDiversity: 'Draw!' by Raúl Colón
Draw! by Raúl Colón (Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster, September 2014). All rights reserved. @simonkidsuk
Why Libraries Still Matter
The transition to digital opens up new possibilities for the collecting and sharing of information. And though the future of the library is unclear, its role is as vital as ever. The …
Bedtime Stories for All
Reading together each night could be the key to instilling a lifelong love of literacy. Youth services coordinator and parent Lisa G. Kropp shares tips for reinstating the valuable activity at …
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Introduces Comprehensive English Language Proficiency Program to Meet Growing Demand
BOSTON, MA – Global learning company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) today introduced Escalate English © 2017, an intensive English language development (ELD) program. Specifically designed to support intermediate-grade English learners, this …
#BooksThatHooked: Authors Share Which Books Inspired Them To Write
New York, NY (October 27, 2015) – On Wednesday, October 28, 2015, authors on Twitter will share about the books that inspired them to become writers using the hashtag #BooksThatHooked. The …
Hook Kids on Reading with Graphic Novels
Reluctant readers who don’t usually reach for chapter books may find a lot to love in comics. Visual literacy is just one of the many skills that comics help to …
Christopher Myers on Diversity and Respectful Disagreement
Color-blindness is a myth, and anyone who tells you ‘I don’t see race’ (though they may mean well) is lying to you, or to themselves, or both. We all see …
Bestselling Children's Recording Artist Laurie Berkner to Publish Three Picture Books with Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
New York, NY — Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, announced today that it will publish three picture books with award-winning and bestselling …
#DrawingDiversity: 'A Chair for My Mother' by Vera B. Williams
A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams (Greenwillow Books/@harpercollinschildrens, October 1982). All rights reserved.
In memory of the late author and illustrator, Vera B. Williams.
Little Pickle Press Launches YA Imprint
Relish Media’s debut title is a novel in free verse, based on the true story of a teen’s struggle with abuse. The first in a trilogy, Breath to Breath by Craig Lew …
HMH Launches Online Subscription Service
For $9.99 a month, subscribers will have access to a range of HMH e-books, games, and educational material designed for children ages 3-7. The content on Curious World speaks to emerging research …
Goddard Riverside Community Center Honors Scholastic Chairman and CEO Dick Robinson at Annual Gala
New York, NY — Goddard Riverside Community Center will celebrate Scholastic Chairman and CEO Dick Robinson at its Annual Gala to be held Tuesday, October 27th at historic Gotham Hall …