Category Archives: Reflecting Realities

#BAME authored books currently eligible to be nominated for the 2018 CILIP Carnegie Medal

The CILIP Carnegie Medal was rocked by controversy this year as the long and short lists for 2017 featured no books by Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic (BAME) authors. At the time as a former judge and observer of the CKG Medals I made my views publicly known and am not going to go through most of them here.

I believe that it is possible for books to slip past fairly easily, due to the sheer volume of books published for children and young readers and the limits that publishers publicity departments face with regard to budget, many books are released with little or no official fanfare at all.

I also know that BAME authors do not face a level playing-field when it comes to being published, although the initiatives that have been springing up recently to remedy this is a step in the right direction.

In the interests of trying to help make sure that no authors are left behind, I am promoting all the BAME authors I can find that are eligible for nomination for 2018.

SO! If you are a Librarian and a member of CILIP then good news! You are eligible to nominate two books for the CILIP Carnegie Medal as well as two books for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal – I hope to put together a list of Greenaway eligible titles soon. I am not telling you to nominate books from the list below, but if you have read one or more (as I have) and you think that they deserve a chance at going for gold then nominate them!

  • Randa Abdel-Fatteh – The Lines We Cross
  • S.K. Ali – Saints and Misfits
  • Amy Alward – Potion Diaries Going Viral
  • Sita Brahmachari – Tender Earth
  • Jack Chen – See You in the Cosmos
  • Michaela DePrince – Ballerina Dreams (illus Ella Okstad)
  • Lorraine Gregory – Mold and the Poison Plot
  • Swapna Haddow – Dave Pigeon Nuggets (illus Sheena Dempsey)
  • Polly Ho-Yen – Fly Me Home
  • Catherine Johnson – Blade and Bone
  • Patrice Lawrence – Indigo Donut
  • Irfan Master – Out of Heart
  • Taran Matharu – Battlemage
  • Sandhya Menon – When Dimple Met Rishi
  • Kiran Milwood Hargrave – The Island at the End of Everything
  • Nick Mohamed – Young Magicians
  • Pooja Puri – The Jungle
  • Bali Rai – The Harder they Fall
  • Chitra Soundar – A Jar of Pickles and a Pinch of Justice (illus Uma Krishnaswamy)
  • Chitra Soundar – Pattan’s Pumpkin (illus Frane Lessac)
  • Angie Thomas – The Hate U Give
  • Alex Wheatle – Straight Outta Crongton
  • Nicola Yoon – The Sun is Also a Star
  •  
    If you have already made your choices then speak to colleagues that have not yet nominated! ALL members of CILIP are able to nominate – not just the ones working in Children’s & Young Peoples Librarianship.

    I will add more authors and titles as they pop up on my radar. If you know ones that are eligible please leave a comment and I will add them!

    The Inspiration Behind When Dimple Met Rishi By Sandhya Menon


    I firmly believe that marginalised teens need more books where they’re allowed to be happy, to make friends, to fall in love, to chase their dreams, and to have that perfect ending. When the opportunity to write When Dimple Met Rishi, a light YA rom-com, presented itself, I couldn’t believe my luck!

    I’ve always been a huge fan of writers like Sophie Kinsella and Jenny Han, and although I’d never written a light YA before, I knew that that reading experience would help immensely. While I wanted to show that Indian-American teens have many of the same hopes and fears as the rest of the population—and to make people laugh and swoon, of course!—I also wanted to give the culture the space and respect it deserved on the page. That’s why I put in nuances and experiences that would (hopefully!) ring true for other teens living in the diaspora.

    But above all, I wanted When Dimple Met Rishi to resonate with teens who’ve ever felt like they don’t belong or that their families simply don’t get them. That’s a very universal experience, I think, and you don’t have to be Indian-American to experience it!

    The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas


    Every now and then a book will come out of nowhere and hit you so hard that you don’t know whether you are coming or going!

    For me The Hate U Give is that book!

    It had me openly weeping on a train by page 26.

    It stoked anger within me – against the systems that keep people down, that normalise the murder of children at the same time as denying them fair and equal choices, freedoms and education.

    I am a child (and adult) of privilege; growing up white and male insulated me from what most of the world experiences. Having a conscience and sense of social justice I naturally gravitate left and believe that the inequalities of the world have to be fought and the systemic racism and patriarchialism of the world as it is need to be challenged and dismantled. What I do not have are the experiences of those that are not white and male.

    The Hate U Give has been my first experience of seeing the world through the eyes of a person that lives in a world that judges her and her friends and family by the colour of her skin and gender.

    It has been said that writing is a political act, and it cannot be more true with The Hate U Give, reading this novel is activism. But it is more than that, to merely describe it as a political novel or an ‘issues book’ would be to diminish it. This is a story about life, love, family, community and loss. For people who daily experience the acts contained within its pages, this book is a mirror showing themselves and their lives; for communities disconnected from these experiences it can act as bridge to understanding and building empathy.

    To Angie Thomas I say want to say thank you! With this book you have strengthened my resolve to fight for and with my friends and colleagues for a better world.

    To everyone else I say – read this book!

    If you know people that say things like “All lives matter!” in the face of the Black Lives Matter movement and the institutionalised oppression and murder of those whose skin colour does not resemble their own, or they believe that we live, love, work and play on a level playing field then buy then a copy. While you are doing that, buy yourself a copy, The Hate U Give is a book for everyone.

    Thug Life: TuPac Shakur:

    Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Octavia Butler, John Jennings and Damian Duffy

    I’m black, I’m solitary, I’ve always been an outsider!
    ~ Octavia E. Butler

    Octavia Butler has been described as the greatest science fiction writer of her generation, not the greatest female science fiction writer or the greatest African-American science fiction writer, she is simply put, one of the greatest! Her words cut across class, race and gender and have found a home in the collections of millions of readers the world over!

    She was awarded two Hugo Awards, two Nebula Awards and the PEN Lifetime Achievement Award. She was also the first science fiction writer to win a MacArthur “Genius” fellowship.

    Kindred is one of her best-known novels; the tale of Dana, a modern young woman swept back in time to an earlier period in history, in this case the antebellum South, a time of cotillions, southern gallantry and all very romantic unless, like Dana, you happen to be black…

    Kindred is a story of contrasts, of kindness, humanity and cruelty, of a modern world (in this case 1970’s California) where people are free to live their life and marry whomever they please and a time where people are treated as chattel, bought, sold an abused as they are considered less than human.

    This graphic novel version of Kindred, adapted by Damian Duffy and John Jennings with the agreement of the estate of Octavia E. Butler is a beautiful hardcover, with an eye-catching dust jacket that looks as perfect on a shelf with novels as it does with other works of graphic art.

    Damian Duffy has pared back Octavia’s text, preserving the essential story but making it flow perfectly for this graphic adaptation; John Jennings brings the text to life with his amazing artwork, imbuing the characters with movement on the page without glossing over the bloody and brutal mistreatment of humans by their fellow man. He has captured the cold cruelty of the slave owners in contrast with the pain and damaged humanity of the slaves. This is not a pretty story, no matter the beautiful artwork that adorns the pages; indeed it is shocking to modern liberal sensibilities and makes uncomfortable reading to be confronted by callous indifference to human suffering, but is necessary to remind ourselves how easy it is for us to dehumanise others and although we have come far, there is still a distance to go before we treat each other equally.

    Kindred is rightly considered a classic of the science fiction & literary genres. Duffy & Jennings’ version is a perfect gateway for readers to encounter Octavia’s work.

    Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Octavia Butler, illustrated by John Jennings and adapted by Damian Duffy. Published by Abrams ComicArts (£15.99)

    Refugees, Immigrants & Asylum-Seekers: a short list

    This list is a companion to http://teenlibrarian.co.uk/2015/11/20/book-list-refugees/

    As we become immersed in the 2016 Christmas it is important to remember that the reason for the season was a refugee for a large part of his early life, not only that he was the son of a single mother from Palestine.

    We are exhorted to welcome him into our hearts, what do you think the chances are of he and his family being welcomed to seek sanctuary in the UK in this day and age?

    I have put together a short list of books about refugees, immigrants and asylum-seekers for readers of all ages below.

    refuge-booth
    Refuge by Anne Booth and Sam Usher, it is the Christmas story seen through the eyes of the Donkey, simply told with beautiful illustrations it is a timeless work that could be the story of a refugee family today.

    Refuge is published by Nosy Crow

    Alpha SOFTCOVER 13mm.indd
    Alpha: Abidjan to Gare du Nord by Bessora and Barroux, translated by Sarah Ardizzone is a heart-breaking, award-winning graphic novel detailing the journey Alpha takes from his village in Cote d’Ivoire to Europe. With a visa this would only take a few hours but for refugees it is a dangerous, life-threatening journey of many months.

    Alpha is published by Barrington Stoke
    sun-star-yoon
    The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon a love set in New York City, between Daniel a Korean-American and Natasha the daughter of illegal immigrants from Jamaica and the 12 hours they spend together before her family is deported.

    The Sun is Also a Star is published by Penguin

    arrival-tan
    The Arrival by Shaun Tan is a wordless graphic novel detailing the arrival of a migrant in a strange, foreign land. The Arrival is a masterclass of wordless storytelling, showing through imagery the difficulty migrants often face when arriving in an alien culture.

    The Arrival is published by Hodder Children’s Books

    falling-star
    Every Falling Star by Sungju Lee and Susan McClelland is the chilling memoir of Sungju Lee’s life as a street child and later his escape from North Korea to a new life in Canada.

    Every Falling Star is published by Amulet Books

    journey-sanna
    The Journey by Francesca Sanna is a picture book that has an effect like an unexpected punch to the stomach. After the death of her husband in a civil war, a woman takes her two children on a journey towards safety. I have never read a picture book that affected me so deeply, perfect for discussing war and refugees with readers of all ages.

    The Journey is published by Flying Eye Books

    An Updated (but still incomplete) List of British BAME Authors for Children & Young People

    *last edited 30/07/2018*

    When the list of books for the 20th anniversary of World Book Day in 2017 was released last week it was notable for being lily-white. I was surprised that a day purporting to celebrate books across the world was limited to authors that are from a small part of it and decided to take a look at British authors for children and young people in the UK that have a BAME (Black, Asian, and minority ethnic) heritage. While putting the list together I was helped in this endeavour by a number of brilliant friends and colleagues on twitter and facebook.

    This list is not complete so if you have suggestions for more authors (*and edited to include illustrators) or if you are an author or illustrator with a BAME heritage then please do let me know in the comments beneath this post.

     

    Sophia Acheampong

    http://www.lovereading4kids.co.uk/author/Sophia-Acheampong/gd/Sophia-Acheampong.html

    Ade Adepitan
    https://www.johnnoel.com

    @AdeAdepitan

    John Agard
    https://literature.britishcouncil.org/writer/john-agard

    Shweta Aggarwal
    http://devandollie.com

    @devandollie

    Patrice Aggs
    http://www.patriceaggs.com

    @patriceaggs

    Sufiya Ahmed
    https://mbalit.co.uk/client/sufiya-ahmed/

    @sufiyaahmed

    Mehrdokht Amini

    http://childrensillustrators.com/illustrator/mehrdokht1976/portfolio

    Atinuke
    http://atinuke-author.weebly.com

    http://www.walker.co.uk/contributors/Atinuke-12281.aspx

    Yaba Badoe
    https://www.facebook.com/Yaba-Badoe-118504861506100

    @yaba-badoe

    Rebecca Barrow
    http://www.rebecca-barrow.com

    @RebeccaKBarrow

    Mary Florence Bello
    https://bellapoetry.wordpress.com

    @MissBelloTweets

    Floella Benjamin
    http://www.floellabenjamin.com/

    @FloellaBenjamin

    Malorie Blackman
    https://www.malorieblackman.co.uk

    @malorieblackman

    Sita Brahmachari
    http://www.sitabrahmachari.com

    @SitaBrahmachari
    Aisha Bushby
    https://www.egmont.co.uk/blog/egmont-pockets-debit-from-rising-star-aisha-bushby/

    @aishabushby

    Tanya Byrne
    http://tanyabyrne.com

    @tanyabyrne

    Sarwat Chadda

    @sarwatchadda

    Joseph Coelho
    http://www.thepoetryofjosephcoelho.com

    @PoetryJoe

    Ellie Daines
    http://www.elliedaines.com

    @chirpywriter

    Narinder Dhami
    https://www.narinderdhami.com/

    @narinderd

    Jamila Gavin
    http://www.jamilagavin.co.uk

    Rohan Gavin
    http://rohangavin.com

    Candy Gourlay
    https://www.candygourlay.com

    @candygourlay

    Lorraine Gregory

    https://www.lorrainegregoryauthor.co.uk/

    @authorontheedge

    Swapna Haddow
    http://swapnahaddow.co.uk

    @SwapnaHaddow

    Sam Hepburn (see Sam Osman)

    Polly Ho-Yen
    https://pollyhoyen.com

    @bookhorse

    Yasmeen Ismail
    https://www.yasmeenismail.co.uk

    @YasmeenMay

    Danielle Jawando

    @DanielleJawando

    Catherine Johnson
    http://www.catherinejohnson.co.uk

    @catwrote

    Mariam K
    http://www.lounge-books.com/contributors/2017/6/20/mariam-k

    @helloIammariam

    Nadine Kaadan
    http://nadinekaadan.com/

    @Nadinekaadan

    Savita Kalhan
    http://www.savitakalhan.com

    @savitakalhan

    Peter Kalu
    http://www.peterkalu.com

    @peterkalu

    Muhammad Khan
    http://www.holroydecartey.com/muhammed-khan.html

    @mkhanauthor

    Patrice Lawrence
    https://patricelawrence.wordpress.com

    @LawrencePatrice

    Ayisha Malik
    https://www.petersfraserdunlop.com/clients/ayisha-malik/

    @Ayisha_Malik

    Sangu Mandanna
    https://sangumandanna.com

    @sangumandanna

    Irfan Master
    http://irfanmaster.com

    @Irfan_Master

    Taran Matharu
    http://authortaranmatharu.com

    @TaranMatharu1

    Zanim Mian
    http://www.sweetapplebooks.com

    @Zendibble

    Kiran Millwood Hargrave

    http://www.kiranmillwoodhargrave.co.uk

    @Kiran_MH

    Poonam Mistry

    https://www.poonam-mistry.com/

    @pmistryartist

    Stefan Mohamed
    http://stefmo.co.uk/wp/

    @stefmowords

    Nick Mohammed

    https://www.penguin.co.uk/puffin/authors/nick-mohammed/130313/

    @nickmohammed

    Wilf Morgan
    https://sites.google.com/site/88talesv3/

    @wilf007

    Millie Murray
    https://www.rlf.org.uk/fellowships/millie-murray/

    Natasha Ngan
    http://girlinthelens.com

    @girlinthelens
    Grace Nichols
    https://www.poetryarchive.org/poet/grace-nichols

    Sam Osman
    http://www.samosmanbooks.com

    http://www.samhepburnbooks.com/

    Serena Patel

    @SerenaKPatel

    Anna Perera
    http://www.annaperera.com

    @annaperera1

    Smriti Prasadam-Halls
    http://www.smriti.co.uk

    @SmritiPH

    Yasmin Rahman

    @yasminwithane

    Bali Rai
    http://www.balirai.co.uk/home

    @balirai

    Leila Rasheed
    https://leilarasheeddotcom.wordpress.com

    @LeilaR

    Jasmine Richards
    https://www.jasminerichards.com

    Na’ima B Robert

    @NaimaBRobert

    SF Said
    http://www.sfsaid.com

    @whatSFSaid

    London Shah

    http://www.londonshah.com

    @London_Shah

    Alom Shaha
    http://alomshaha.com

    @alomshaha

    Emma Shevah
    https://emmashevah.com

    @emmashevah

    Nadia Shireen
    https://www.nadiashireen.org

    @NadiaShireen

    Nikesh Shukla
    http://www.nikesh-shukla.com

    @nikeshshukla

    Ranjit Singh
    https://www.lantanapublishing.com/ranjit-singh/

    @RanjittheAuthor

    Chitra Soundar
    www.chitrasoundar.com/

    @csoundar

    Tabitha Suzuma
    http://www.tabithasuzuma.com

    @TabithaSuzuma

    Meera Syal
    https://literature.britishcouncil.org/writer/meera-syal

    @MeeraSyal

    Alex Wheatle
    https://literature.britishcouncil.org/writer/alex-wheatle

    @brixtonbard

    Verna Wilkins
    http://www.gov.gd/articles/spiceword/bios/verna_wilkins.html

    Ken Wilson-Max
    http://www.kenwilsonmax.com

    @kenwilsonmax

    Benjamin Zephaniah
    https://benjaminzephaniah.com

    @BZephaniah

     

    Publishers

    Dinosaur Books

    Dinosaur Books is an independent publisher that produces books for children aged 5 – 14. They aim to publish stories for young readers that combine exciting, page turning adventure with ideas that encourage readers to think.

    Lantana Publishing

    Lantana Publishing is a young, independent publishing house producing award-winning picture books for children. Lantana’s mission is to select outstanding writing from around the world, working with prize-winning authors and illustrators from many countries, while at the same time nurturing new writing talent.

    Knights Of

    Knights Of publishes commercial children’s fiction – distributed through the UK, Ireland and Europe. We’re all about hiring as widely, and as diversely as possible, to make sure the books we publish give windows into as many worlds as possible – from what’s on the page all the way to sales copy.

    Alanna Max

    We are passionate about children’s books and we believe everyone loves a good story! However, some children struggle to find books in which they see themselves and their experiences. So at Alanna Books, we aim to produce stories that are naturally inclusive of a wide range of people and experiences – so ALL children can enjoy them.

    Tamarind Press

    Tamarind Books was founded by Verna Wilkins in 1987 with the mission of redressing the balance of diversity in children’s publishing. Over twenty years later, the world has changed but the problem is still very relevant today. And so, Tamarind still exists to put diversity ‘in the picture’.

    Hope Road Publishing

    HopeRoad Publishing is an exciting, independent publisher, vigorously supporting voices too often neglected by the mainstream. We are promoters of literature with a special focus on Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. At the heart of our publishing is the love of outstanding writing from writers you, the reader, would have otherwise missed.

    Cassava Pepublic Press

    Our mission is to change the way we all think about African writing. We think that contemporary African prose should be rooted in African experience in all its diversity, whether set in filthy-yet-sexy megacities such as Lagos or Kinshasa, in little-known rural communities, in the recent past or indeed the near future. We also think the time has come to build a new body of African writing that links writers across different times and spaces.

    Tiny Owl

    An independent publishing company committed to producing beautiful, original books for children. Established in 2015, our energy and passion stems from our belief that stories act as bridges – providing pathways to new experiences whilst connecting us to here and there. Our stories are visually rich and conceptually meaningful. They give children unique perspectives on universal themes such as love, friendship and freedom and a greater awareness of the diverse and colourful world we live in. We have a range of books from Iranian authors and illustrators including two beautiful tales by Rumi and one from The Book of Kings. We are also developing a programme of intercultural projects, pairing authors and illustrators from around the globe.

    Fire Tree Books

    Building on the powerful legacy of Verna Wilkins’ 30 years in the industry, Firetree books is expanding, updating and refreshing important messages for a new audience in today’s diverse classrooms and homes.
    Firetree presents unselfconscious representations of all children. Our books aim to inspire and entertain readers by depicting the diversity and lives of children in our shrinking, inter-dependent world.

    Jacaranda Books

    Jacaranda Books Art Music Ltd is a fresh and exciting new independent publishing house based in London. We publish adult fiction and non-fiction, including illustrated books, which cross linguistic, racial, gender and cultural boundaries – books in many ways as cosmopolitan as our city.

    A list of inclusive publishers compiled by Chitra Soundar: http://picturebookden.blogspot.co.uk/2018/02/inclusive-indie-publishers-by-chitra.html?m=1

    The Jhalak Prize

    The prize is unique in that it will be accepting entries published in the UK in 2016 by a writer of colour. This will include (and not be limited to) fiction, non-fiction, short story, graphic novel, poetry, children’s books, YA, teen and all genres. The prize will also be open to self-published writers. The aim is the find the best writers of colour in the country.