Tag Archives: diversity

Response to Wilder Award Name Change

30 Jun

At its meeting on Saturday, June 23, 2018, the Association for Library Service to Children Board voted to change the name of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award to the Children’s Literature Legacy Award.

This decision was made in consideration of the fact that Wilder’s legacy, as represented by her body of work, includes expressions of stereotypical attitudes inconsistent with ALSC’s core values of inclusiveness, integrity and respect, and responsiveness. ” (ALA website)

You don’t often hear the ALA annual conference make waves in the media, but apparently changing the name of an award is reported on a variety of news sources. The Laura Ingalls Wilder Award “honors an author or illustrator whose books, published in the United States, have made, over a period of years, a significant and lasting contribution to children’s literature through books that demonstrate integrity and respect for all children’s lives and experiences.” (ALA website)

Many people have responded on social media both showing support for the name change as well as frustration and even some misunderstanding.

A few of the common arguments against the name change include:

  • Censorship
    No one has suggested that Wilder’s books be removed from libraries and bookstores.
  • Diminishment of Past Award Winners
    Changing the name of the award does not diminish past award winners or their contributions to children’s literature
  • Above and Beyond Political Correctness
    As you can see from the quote above, ALSC spent a lot of time discussing its core values and how having a prestigious award named for someone who has outdated views and a stereotypical attitude can be offensive and not supportive of inclusiveness and the diversity of the publishing world. Imagine receiving an award named for someone who wrote racially insensitive material if you were Black or Native American?
  • Change the Name of Other Awards
    There is already talk about changing the name of the Theodore Seuss Geisel Award as Dr. Seuss produced a number of political cartoons that were downright racist. Many people have suggested that perhaps naming awards after people isn’t the best practice as cultural views change over time.

My thoughts on the issue are that I think ALSC took a situation that could potentially be difficult to navigate and made a decision that is forward-thinking and supportive of authors and illustrators of color to create a more inclusive award that focuses on the work and not the history of the person it’s named for.

I read (and loved) the Little House books growing up and I think that when I read these books I knew that historical fiction meant that some views were antiquated and not acceptable in today’s society. I think people can make their own decision as to whether they want to read the Little House books, but there are also other titles that can be read in place of or together with Wilder’s books for viewpoints from other authors such as The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich. I applaud ALSC for taking into consideration inclusivity and diversity in today’s society.

Congratulations to Jacqueline Woodson the winner of the 2018 Children’s Literature Legacy Award.


Amazon Kindle to Support Arabic Language Materials

27 Jun

“Amazon announced today that Kindle customers around the globe can now enjoy reading from a growing selection of more than 12,000 Arabic language Kindle books on Kindle devices and the free Kindle app for iPhone, iPad, Android phones and tablets and Fire Tablets. Starting today, readers will find a large digital selection of popular Arabic language titles in the Kindle Store including books from leading authors like Naguib Mahfouz, and Nizar Qabani, best-sellers like Al Aswad Yaliko Biki and Harbo Alkalbi Athania (winner of the 2018 International Prize for Arabic Fiction), classics like Ibn Khaldoun’s Muqadimah, Al-Mutanabbi’s anthology, and Kalila wa Dimna as well as translated English language bestsellers like How to Win Friends and Influence PeopleDiary of a Wimpy Kid, A Tale of Two Cities and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.” (Amazon Press Release)

kindle-242594_960_720This will provide easier access to Arabic titles and other English language bestsellers to the Arabic-speaking population across the globe. I’m not quite sure the reason behind not being able to access Arabic language materials through the eBook format before this time, but whether it had to do with the font or the limited print runs which might mean a smaller audience looking for these titles, regardless of the reason – this makes reading even more accessible around the globe as many people carry cell phones today and can read from the free Kindle app.

This is even more exciting as I hope it means Amazon is looking to reach out to support other languages in the future. From what I can gather on their website, Kindles can currently (and easily) support a number of Roman alphabet-based languages, but often has more difficulty with cursive or character based languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, etc.  With this new support for Arabic, readers can adjust and highlight text as necessary making this support even more helpful.

For more information about Arabic language support, check out Engadget’s article or the article on c|net.

#blogbookaday: What If…

16 May

35959676.jpg“Creativity, the power of imagination, and the importance of self-expression are celebrated in this inspiring picture book written and illustrated by real-life best friends.”

Summary:  “This girl is determined to express herself! If she can’t draw her dreams, she’ll sculpt or build, carve or collage. If she can’t do that, she’ll turn her world into a canvas. And if everything around her is taken away, she’ll sing, dance, and dream…

Stunning mixed media illustrations, lyrical text, and a breathtaking gatefold conjure powerful magic in this heartfelt affirmation of art, imagination, and the resilience of the human spirit. ” (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: A very creative little girl imagines what would happen if she didn’t have a pencil to draw with and so begins her story of creating with whatever tools she has at her disposal. I loved how simple and yet so profound the text was, it was truly beautiful. And the illustrations – a combination of collage and pen and ink really work well telling the girl’s story. This is a must-have book in your collection!

Personal Reaction: I have been waiting, literally for months, to get my hands on a copy of this beautiful book and it didn’t disappoint! I think it’s my favorite cover so far this year and the text and illustrations weave so seamlessly together, it’s just amazing! This is must-have book to encourage imagination and creativity and also makes a great introduction to teaching kids about wants vs. needs or having more than others. I love everything about this gorgeous story. Plus, if you’re a huge nerd like me, you’ll see the little breadcrumb Mike Curato left in the full page spread of the little girl’s room – a character that is very familiar!

Title: What If…
Author: Samantha Berger
Illustrator: Mike Curato
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 10, 2018

#blogbookaday (1)This is a new idea I’m trying on my blog this year that was inspired by @donalynbooks and @heisereads – to provide a brief review of a picture book every day of 2018. You’ll get a brief summary of the story, a review of the content, illustrations and theme, my personal reaction to the book and all the pertinent publication information! Enjoy!

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