Diversity literaturesummerlitinstitute2014


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Presentation for 8th Annual Adolescent Summer Literacy Institute, William Paterson University, July 7, 2014 entitled "Deconstructing the Debate about the Lack of Diversity in Young Adult Literature."

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  • We Should Hang Out Sometime by Josh Sundquist (NF) (Little, Brown, Jan. 2015) (Gr. 7-9) By revisiting MS, HS & college experiences, Paralympian, cancer survivor, and motivational speaker Josh Sundquist shares what it was like to grow up as "the guy with one leg." (Differently-abled)
  • Another title in the series of teen with ADHA
  • NF, out October 14, 2014 - memoir where author Shane Burcaw describes the challenges he faces as a twenty-one-year-old with spinal muscular atrophy.
  • Teenaged track runner loses her leg in accident and has to learn to walk again with prosthetic leg.
  • Mondays are Red (2003) & Mango Shaped Space (2005) several of the first books about synesthesia, the mingling of perceptions whereby a person can see sounds, smell colors, or taste shapes. Boy gets synesthesia as a result of his leukemia (Mondays are Red)
  • Suspicious of sixteen-year-old Marnie, a newcomer to their village, the residents accuse her of witchcraft when she discovers that the village madman is not crazy but deaf and she begins to communicate with him through hand gestures. (1999)
  • A boy with Asperger’s Syndrome proves he’s a genius. (2010)
  • Ultra-normal teenager Izzy learns that she has stage IV Hodgkins lymphoma. She undergoes standard treatments, goes through hell but through it all deals with it with humor and survives. (2006)
  • Jeffrey Alper, now in 8th grade, narrates this intense sequel to Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie. He is cancer-free now, but leukemia treatment left Jeffrey with a limp and a brain that is “a little scrambled up.” His best friend, Tad is a cancer survivor too. He helps Jeff take tests and Jeff helps him attempt to walk across the stage at graduation (although his cancer has come back).(2010)
  • Coming out in August, this book is about a 15-year-old Jewish teenaged girl who loses her eyesight the summer before high school after a firecracker misfires into a crowd. She must relearn everything from walking across the street to recognizing her own sisters to imagining colors. Her unintentional situation is contrasted with the intentional suicide of a classmate.
  • It takes place on the lawn of a high school where two former boyfriends try to set a world record for the longest kiss. (2013)
    A 2014 Lambda Literary Award Winner, A 2014 Stonewall Honor Book; Named to the 2013 National Book Award Longlist  
  • Diversity literaturesummerlitinstitute2014

    1. 1. Deconstructing the Debate about the Lack of Diversity in Young Adult Literature Sharon Rawlins, Youth Services Specialist, NJ State Library srawlins@njstatelib.org 2014 Adolescent Summer Literacy Institute, William Paterson University
    2. 2. •What does diverse content in literature mean to you?
    3. 3. Publishing decision makers define it as: Stories that go beyond the white heterosexual middle class (literary agent Barry Goldblatt) Centers on community, including ethnic, religious, LGBTQ (Angus Killick, Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group) From SLJ’s The Diversity Issue, May 2014, “The Publishing Perspective” by Karen Springen, pg. 21-24
    4. 4. While people of color make up about 37% of the population in the United States, less than 10% of books feature diverse characters. Statistics Gathered by the Cooperative Children's Book Center School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison
    5. 5. Year Total Number of Books Published (Est.) Number of Books Received at CCBC African / African Americans American Indians Asian Pacifics/ Asian Pacific Americans Latinos By About By About By About By About 2013 5,000 3,200 68 93 18 34 90 69 48 57 Children's Books By and About People of Color Published in the U.S. Statistics Gathered by the Cooperative Children's Book Center School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison
    6. 6. NJ Census White 73.8% 77.9% Black or African American 14.7% 13.1% American Indian and Alaska Native 0.6% 1.2% Asian 9.0% 5.1% Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander 0.1% 0.2% Two or more races 1.9% 2.4% Hispanic or Latino 18.5% 16.9% (separate from the concept of Hispanic origin) White alone 58.2% 63.0% (respondents who said "No, not Spanish/Hispanic/Latino)
    7. 7. Age distribution of people with daily activity limitations in New Jersey, 2009
    8. 8. Here are eight steps to all-inclusive reading proposed by Lee & Low Books: • Does your book list or collection include books with characters of color? LGBTQ? Differently-abled? • Does it include books with a main character of color? LGBTQ? Differently-abled? • Does it include books written or illustrated by a person of color? Of different nationalities, religions or sexual preference? • Are there any books with a person of color on the cover? Do the characters on the book covers accurately reflect the characters in the book? • Think about your student population. Does your list provide a mix of “mirror” books and “window” books for your students—books in which they can see themselves reflected and books in which they can learn about others? • Think about the subject matter of your diverse books. Do all your books featuring black characters focus on slavery? Do all your books about Latino characters focus on immigration? Are all your LGBTQ books coming out stories? • Do you have any books featuring diverse characters that are not primarily about race or prejudice? • Consider your classic books, both fiction and nonfiction. Do any contain hurtful racial or ethnic stereotypes , or images (e.g. Little House on the Prairie or The Indian in the Cupboard)? If so, how will you address those stereotypes with students? Have you included another book that provides a more accurate depiction of the same culture?
    9. 9. #Weneeddiversebooks campaign ((http://weneeddiversebooks.tumblr.com/) Take these Reading Challenges: “Diversity on the Shelf” (http://bit.ly/1h34M54) “Latin@s in KidLit” (http://bit.ly/1dy5tm4) “Africa Reading Challenge” (http://tinyurl.com/ka2scaw)
    10. 10. For Middle School Readers
    11. 11. Nonfiction for Grades 6 - 12
    12. 12. For Young Adult Readers
    13. 13. Books featuring differently-abled characters
    14. 14. Books featuring LGBTQ or non- heterosexual, or non- cisgendered characters
    15. 15. Books set in or about Haiti (as an example of books on a common theme to tie into CCSS)
    16. 16. The End Thank You!