Looking at Diversity from Another Angle

5 Mar

i just recently read a response by author, Shannon Hale about an experience she had visiting a school where only the girls were allowed to attend the presentation because her books are deemed “girl” books.  Although many of Hale’s books feature female protagonists, what are we telling students when we only allow girls to hear a presentation like this, but when a male author comes to visit everyone is expected to attend.  And sadly, this isn’t the first time this has happened to Hale, it has occurred in a few other schools as well.

A seven-year-old girl was able to get ABDO publishing to change the name of a series of books entitled “Biggest, Baddest Books for Boys.” Why did she write a letter? Because “You should change from ‘Biggest, Baddest Books for Boys’ into ‘Biggest, Baddest Books for Boys and Girls’ because some girls would like to be entomologists too.”

A number of years ago we had a book discussion for middle school kids (grades 5 – 8) on Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree by Lauren Tarshis.  A boy absolutely loved the book and asked many time about borrowing the sequel when it was published.  Is Emma-Jean a “girl” book? Nope, it’s a book for anyone who wants to read it.

I’ve posted about this issue before, I have the greatest job in the world – finding books that kids want and need at a specific point in time. It’s about providing a kick-butt reader’s advisory interview and knowing a collection. I try and keep up with new literature and although sometimes it feels like my job is never over, I love seeing a kid’s face light up when we’ve found the perfect book.

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One Response to “Looking at Diversity from Another Angle”

  1. Penelope Joy Webster March 9, 2015 at 9:08 am #

    I can’t believe that any school in the 21st century would say that only girls can go to an author reading. The principal must have been a man in his early 70s.

    It reminds me of when I was in High School, and only girls were allowed to take Home Ec.

    I guess as Librarians, our job is really to educate people. I hope that, the next time this happens, the author will refuse to come. As an author, that’s what I would do.

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