Friday, February 12, 2010

Anne Reads Books By & About People Different From Her

So there's been a lot of controversy in the publishing world lately regarding "whitewashing" children's books: ie, putting a white model on the cover of a book about a character of color (follow this link to support Readers Against WhiteWashing). Supposedly people don't like to read books about people other than themselves. Never mind that this assumes people of color don't read. It also assumes we read to find ourselves. While this is certainly true at times, I also read to escape myself. I read to travel, I read to experience, I read to learn.

I also hate people telling me what I do and don't read.

Yet yet yet... I read the other day that 13% of children's books published each year in the US contain diversity. I keep track of every book I read. So I went back through my list and counted. Last year I read almost one hundred books. Of those hundred books, five were written by a person of color.

If I believe in diversity and if I believe in promoting it, I need to support it in my reading. So I'd like to join picture book author Jacqui Robbins in her February "Jacqui Reads Herself & Her Children Books By & About People Different From Her"* celebration. While I'm lacking in children of my own to read to, I do want to take up the challenge myself (Anne Reads Books By & About People Different From Her). Okay, I know February is over a quarter-over, and trust me, I'm a little embarrassed, but I was reading a 600+ page fantasy novel (Patrick Rothfuss' THE NAME OF THE WIND) and fell behind the times. However, I would also like this to not be just about February, but the rest of the year. I plan to match the 13% diversity which the CCBC reports (given that I read a hundred books last year, even I can do that math!). I'd like to read more than that 13. I'll definitely let you know how it's going through February and the rest of this year and share my highlights. I will post every book I am currently reading on goodreads, for those of you who may be interested (or those of you already stuck following me).

And please reply in the comments if you'd like to join me! I'd love to have others take up this challenge and report back to me (and/or Jacqui!) about what you've read and found. I seem to have set myself an additional challenge in searching out multicultural British books (a group I'm less familiar with), so if anyone has any suggestions for me, I'd love to hear them!

*By the way, do follow that link to Jacqui's blog, and click through to read more about her February reading and other posts. Her blog is often laugh out loud funny, as well as insightful, thought-provoking and all the rest.


  1. Hurrah! I am finding many, many fantastic books through this project -- many more than February can possible contain.

    Have fun, and thanks for the kind words.

  2. Oh, I'm so glad to hear that, Jacqui! In spending this past week scouring the library's website for books, I've begun to feel hopeful. I think I'm going to discover lots of new wonderful books too.

    Thank YOU for a well needed kick in the backside to get going on this!

  3. What did you think of The Name of the Wind? I enjoyed it quite a bit and the fact that the next book is not out yet is much less annoying when I have been too busy moving all our stuff around to read much since I finished it. We are all settled into our townhouse here in Cary NC. So far we have really liked it. Now that I don't have a list a mile long of things that have to be done today no matter what, we should catch up. We just got Skype set up this week, so maybe we can figure out a time to talk?

  4. Hey Ann! Just sent you an email. As for Name of the Wind, I miss it now that it's done. Totaly fantasy world immersion and it was a perfect cozy read. I was a little disappointed so little happened in 600 pages, but I'll happily read the sequel when it comes out.


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