As I first mentioned in last year's December 9 blog post, my book buddy Carmen and I are starting a reading challenge to coincide with today's inauguration. We want to feature diverse reads, to highlight stories by people of color, by LGBTQ authors, by immigrants and people from other countries. We want to step into the shoes and brains and lives and hearts of people who may be different from us, in hopes of learning the ways that we are all the same—of experiencing our shared humanity. I’m a firm believer that representation matters in literature, not only so that everyone can see people like themselves represented in stories, but perhaps even more important, so that we can see and understand those who are different.
The incoming president and his administration are already beginning to marginalize women, minorities, immigrants, and those who identify as LGBTQ. And I fear it is only the beginning. (As I write this I realize what an inadequate word “marginalize” is for what they are doing to the people who make this country vivid, strong, interesting, diverse, and special.) So, in a small act of defiance against their heartless acts, we are pledging to devote all our reading time to the stories written by these people who the bullies in power are trying to harm. There is an inspiring phrase that I've seen a lot around social media recently: They tried to bury us. They didn't know we were seeds. I like to think of each diverse read that we feature as one of those seeds, planting our reads one by one for a future when we can all blossom. (Side note: interesting post about the origin of that seed quotation here.)
Now I have a favor to ask. We want you to join us in reading, and we've come up with a few ways to make that easier and more fun:
We hope you will share this idea with others, participate, help us make it better, recommend books, post reviews to the Facebook page... You get the idea. But most of all, we hope you will READ!
A small update on The Wonder Spot:
Exciting update from my agent yesterday! Earlier this week she began sending my book out to the editors and publishers she thought would be most interested. The plan is to send it out to small batches of editors at a time, and hopefully one of them will bite! So as I write this, six young-adult-focused publishers/imprints have my book.
Maybe they are reading it right this very second...
Maybe they are falling in love with it...
I’ll keep you posted.