Category Archives: News

We Need Diverse Books

You might be aware of the American charity We Need Diverse Books, set up in 2014 by a group of children’s book lovers (mainly writers initially, rallied by Ellen Oh) with the mission to put more books featuring diverse characters into the hands of all children.

We recognize all diverse experiences, including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, Native, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities*, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities.
*We subscribe to a broad definition of disability, which includes but is not limited to physical, sensory, cognitive, intellectual, or developmental disabilities, chronic conditions, and mental illnesses (this may also include addiction). Furthermore, we subscribe to a social model of disability, which presents disability as created by barriers in the social environment, due to lack of equal access, stereotyping, and other forms of marginalization.

WNDB

Last night Knights Of, a newish and brilliant UK based publisher who are working so hard to improve inclusivity and diversity in publishing, invited Dhonielle Clayton, WNDB co-founder and Chief Operating Officer (an entirely voluntary position) to speak about the feasibility of starting something similar in the UK. The meeting was attended by aspiring and established authors, owners of small independent publishers, people who worked for larger publishers in all stages of book production and promotion, Inclusive Minds ambassadors, and of course some librarians!

We Need Diverse Books pin

The meeting was over in a blink of an eye with so much to talk about. The projects that WNDB manage are amazing:

  • Publishing internship programmes with stipends and mentoring to help break into the “Big 5” American publishers, mainly based in New York.
  • Speaking to marginalised students about publishing as a potential career.
  • Grants/mentoring/retreats for writers.
  • Making it easy for teachers and librarians to find diverse stock for their schools and libraries (and parents/teens themselves to find new titles) by creating the Our Story app, which highlights good books with diverse content from marginalised creators and even provides resources for many of the titles for educators to use.
  • Starting a book award for new books by and about diverse people, The Walter Dean Myers Award for Outstanding Children’s Literature, getting thousands of copies of these titles into the hands of children and young people across the country.
  • Fundraising to pay for all of this!

There was lots of discussion about the differences between the US and UK education system, book suppliers, nurturing homegrown talent, the problem of volunteer burnout, how to decide what to target first, what is already being done and by whom, funding, and including everyone. Dhonielle made it clear that their first priority in the US has been to get people from marginalised backgrounds into the publishing industry and actually producing the books, closely followed by getting those books into the hands of children that need to see themselves as heroes in what they’re reading. Afterwards I asked her whether, when talking to students about going into publishing, they discuss also becoming a “gatekeeper”, ie librarian/bookseller, and she said they do but (but) there’s no point having those conversations if these children don’t yet have a passion for books and reading.

A twitter account appeared after the meeting and already has over 500 followers:

So if you think you have something to contribute or want to know more then do get in touch with them, this will be a really exciting project to get involved in!

Live-action Warhammer 40K TV Series

The news popped up this morning on a Whatsapp group in South Africa, my friends were geeking out about the news that Games Workshop and Big Light Productions had landed Frank”The Man in the High Castle” Spotnitz as show-runner and Executive Producer on a forthcoming live-action Warhammer 40K television series.

I have been a fan of the Warhammer 40K Universe for quite some time! Mostly thanks to picking up a copy of Necropolis by Dan Abnett in a charity shop on the Sidcup high street in 2003. After devouring that I hunted down the other Gaunt‘s Ghosts books that were in print back then and then discovered the Eisenhorn trilogy (also by Abnett).

It is around Eisenhorn that the live-action series is being planned.

Now if you don’t know anything about Warhammer, the first thing you should know is:

It is the 41st Millennium. For more than a hundred centuries the Emperor of Mankind has sat immobile on the Golden Throne of Earth. He is the master of mankind by the will of the gods and master of a million worlds by the might of His inexhaustible armies. He is a rotting carcass writhing invisibly with power from the Dark Age of Technology. He is the Carrion Lord of the vast Imperium of Man for whom a thousand souls are sacrificed every day so that He may never truly die…

Eisenhorn is an Inquisitor – one of the people that goes out amongst the stars to meet new species and annihilate them as well as searching for traitors, heretics, mutants, psykers and anyone else who may be an enemy of humanity. It is a big universe and the place is just filled with enemies.

I have high hopes for this series!

You can read the full press release here:

https://www.warhammer-community.com/press_releases/games-workshop-and-frank-spotnitz-to-create-live-action-warhammer-40000-tv-series/

Every Child has the Right to… The Children’s Laureate Charter

By now you should have heard that Cressida “How to Train Your Dragon” Cowell has been appointed as the Waterstones Children’s Laureate for 2019-2021.

Not content to just take up the reins, she has hit the ground running, with the announcement of the Children’s Laureate Charter.

This ambitious list forms the blueprint for her two years as Laureate, and is one that sees her drawing from Pennac’s Rights of the Reader, the campaign to save libraries and from further afield – calling for creative subjects to be retained as well as fighting to save our increasingly imperilled planet.

Championing the rights of young people in literature and beyond is no small task and I am sure that like me you will be supporting and amplifying her efforts in encouraging young people to read and gain agency in their literaery choices and beyond!

Congratulations on becoming Children’s Laureate Cressida! I will support you in any way that I can!

Library Workers share Concerns with CILIP Employer Partnerships

A group of Library Workers have written an open letter to CILIP‘s Board of Trustees regarding concerns about CILIP’s Employer Partnership Scheme, particularly their recent announcements of partnerships with GLL and the Ministry of Defence.

You can read the letter here

If you wish to add your name to the letter you can send an e-mail to: openlettertoCILIP@protonmail.com

Melvil Dewey, “Father of Modern Librarianship” and racist creep

Melvil Dewey’s name is most often associated with Librarianship due to the Decimal Classification System that carries his name.

But did you know that he also championed spelling reform, and was an early promoter of winter sports.

As Melvil Dui (spelling reform) he was one of the founders of the American Library Association.

Less well-known was his persistant sexual harassment of women – his unwelcome hugging, unwelcome touching, certainly unwelcome kissing  were noted by biographer Wayne A. Wiegand.

When he opened the School of Library Economy at Columbia College he requested a photograph of each female applicant due to his belief that “you cannot polish a pumpkin”.

Then there were his racist and anti-semitic views, at the Lake Placid Club, a place where Dewey envisioned educators finding health, strength and inspiration at modest cost; he banned African-Americans, Jews and others from membership.

Many people at this point may think that his views were common and accepted at this time but they contributed to a petition demanding Dewey’s removal as State Librarian because of his personal involvement in the Lake Placid Club’s policies, this led to a rebuke by the New York State Board of Regents causing him to resign.

He was later forced out of active mebership of the American Library Association after he made physical advances on several members of the ALA during a cruise to Alaska.

In 1930 he was sued for sexual harrassment by a former secretary that cost him over $2000 to settle out of court.

At the 2019 ALA Annual Conference his name was stripped from the Melvil Dewey Medal – awarded for creative leadership of high order, particularly in those fields in which Melvil Dewey was actively interested: library management, library training, cataloging and classification, and the tools and techniques of librarianship.

Find out more about Melvil Dewey here:

https://www.stuffmomnevertoldyou.com/podcasts/librarians-part-1.htm

https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1905/02/15/101408654.pdf

https://www.latimes.com/books/la-et-jc-dewey-name-removed-library-association-20190626-story.html

All-new Teen Librarian Newsletter

The all-new Teen Librarian Newsletter will launch in July!

If you were a previous subscriber or want to become a subscriber, you may do so by clicking on the link below:

https://mailchi.mp/0a73cd6985a3/teenlibrariannewsletter

Candy Gourlay in Los Angeles

Los Angelinos have a rare treat coming up this Saturday! They will have the opportunity to meet award-winning Filipino author Candy Gourlay at Philippine Expressions Bookshop in San Pedro.

For full details of Candy’s book talk, please follow this link: www.facebook.com/events/567085910451494/

Calling time on Teen Librarian Monthly

Today marks the 13th Birthday of Teen Librarian Monthly, it is at times hard to believe that it lasted as long as it has! The very first issue of Teen Librarian Monthly was two pages in length; the last one (in its current format) is five pages.

It has not really changed much over the years – the layout has changed, I started using a new header although I have reverted to an improved version of the original for the anniversary issue. I think my writing has improved over the years.

The decision to call time on TLM was not an easy one, I am hoping to resurrect it in a new format using one of the many online newsletter services that have grown up over the years.

I will be testing them out over the upcoming months to see how they work and decide which one (if any) meet my needs for a simple email newsletter service.

If anyone has suggestions on what they would like to see in a future TLM please do e-mail me or comment below.

The full archive of Teen Librarian Monthly is accessible at https://teenlibrarianmonthly.wordpress.com/

Pen&inc. CILIP’s new Magazine Celebrating Diversity & Inclusion in Children’s Literature

I have been looking forward to Pen&inc. since it was first announced in the CILIP Diversity Review of the Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Awards report!

Now it is here! If you are a CILIP Member you will soon receive a physical copy in the post with the latest issue of Information Professional.

If you are not a member of CILIP – do not fear! You can still read a copy of this fantastic publication online!

It is essential reading for anyone interested in equality, inclusion and children’s literature!

Just click on the cover image below and you will be taken to the digitcal edition.

The 2019 Little Rebels Award Shortlist: Propaganda, War and Autocrats

The Little Rebels awards shortlist was released whilst I was away, and it is a fantastic bunch of titles for children (aged 0-12) which “promotes social justice or social equality, challenges stereotypes or is informed by anti-discriminatory concerns.”

Government propaganda, militarization, misjudged Western ‘aid’ and the UK’s participation in the slave trade are just some of the themes highlighted by this year’s shortlist for the Little Rebels Award for Radical Children’s Fiction.

Small, independent publishers figure strongly on the shortlist, including titles from HopeRoad and Lantana Publishing. Anne Booth makes her second Little Rebels Award appearance (Girl With A White Dog was shortlisted in 2015) and former Little Rebels Award judge, Catherine Johnson, is shortlisted for her historical fiction novel, Freedom, an account of the UK’s role in the slave trade which takes the 1781 Zong Massacre as its cue.
 
The full Little Rebels Award 2019 shortlist (for books published in 2018) is:
Across the Divide by Anne Booth – Catnip Publishing
Freedom by Catherine Johnson – Scholastic
The Ghost and Jamal by Bridget Blankley – Hope Road Publishing
The King Who Banned the Dark by Emily Haworth-Booth – Pavilion Children’s Books
The New Neighbours by Sarah McIntyre – David Fickling Books
Running on Empty by S E Durrant – Nosy Crow
Tomorrow by Nadine Kaadaan – Lantana Publishing

 
War and conflict are recurrent themes while receiving very different treatments: Across the Divide explores the pacifist movement and the militarization of local communities; picture book, Tomorrow (by Nadine Kaadan who moved to London following the onset of the Syrian conflict), portrays civil war through the eyes of a family forced to stay indoors; The Ghost and Jamal exposes young people as the real casualties of wars and critiques Western charitable ‘interventions’ in conflict zones. Two of the shortlisted titles foreground disabled characters as significant voices and agents: The Ghost and Jamal’s protagonist has epilepsy and AJ’s parents in Running on Empty have learning disabilities. Durrant’s novel, set in Stratford (London), stars a working-class family struggling under the pressure of financial hardship and a welfare system ill-equipped to support them. Picture book, The New Neighbours, hints at themes very familiar to previous Little Rebels Award shortlists -the treatment of refugees and pre-conceptions about new arrivals- while the protagonist of the third picture book on the list, The King Who Banned the Dark, is an autocrat who instills obedience in his citizens through imagined fears.
Fen Coles, Co-Director of Letterbox Library, said of the shortlist: “From a king who bans the dark to a tower block community fearful of the ratty (!) newcomers, the Little Rebels Award shortlist demonstrates again that weighty topical themes can be brought to the youngest minds in ways which are playful, provocative, thoughtful and fun. Social divisions, conflict, the rise in far right parties and ideologies, threats to democratic rule as well as very home-grown human rights abuses such as the Windrush scandal are all ‘live’ topics which children are hearing about through ubiquitous social medias. The Little Rebels titles continue to offer young people and children texts to help them navigate, question and make sense of the fractured world which surrounds them”.

From the press release

I’ve seen all except 2 of these so will have to seek them out, what I’ve seen/read though is fantastic. Do have a browse of the award’s site for the history, past winners, and current judges! The winner will be announced on 10th July.