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The CCBC’s Diversity Statistics: A Conversation with Kathleen T. Horning

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The Cooperative Children’s Book Center (a research library of the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Education) began documenting the numbers of children’s books by African American authors and illustrators in 1985 — when then–CCBC director Ginny Moore Kruse, serving on the Coretta Scott King Book Award Jury, learned that of the approximately 2500 trade books […]

Another look at “A Second Look”

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Rereading a favorite book from childhood can be a bittersweet experience. Part of what’s so fulfilling about the practice of rereading is that you’re a different reader each time. Your increased knowledge of the story, literature at large, yourself, and/or the world makes subsequent readings of the same story and the same characters richer. On […]

When Google Translate Gives You Arroz con Mango: Erroneous Español and the Need for #ownvoices

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I recently had a Twitter conversation with three writer and librarian colleagues, two of whom are native Spanish speakers, about the use of Spanish in primarily English-language children’s books. The conversation started after one of us wrote about finding incorrect Spanish in a book. Each of us chimed in, able to produce at least one […]

On Zetta Elliott’s “Decolonizing the Imagination” (from 2010)

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Author and teacher Zetta Elliott contributed “Decolonizing the Imagination” to the Writer’s Page column in the Magazine‘s March/April 2010 issue. As a child and young adult, Zetta loved classic British novels; she notes, however, that she “learned early on that only white children had wonderful adventures in distant lands; only white children were magically transported […]

On Hazel Rochman’s “Against Borders” (from 1995)

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“Apartheid has tried to make us bury our books. The Inquisition and the Nazis burned books. Slaves in the United States were forbidden to read books. From Latin America to Eastern Europe, they’ve trashed books. But the stories are still here. I believe that the best books can make a difference in building community.” In […]

Revisiting Julie Hakim Azzam’s “Mommy, Do I Have White Skin?: Skin Color, Family, and Picture Books”

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“My own mother was of Belgian descent and Christian, while my father was a Lebanese Muslim immigrant…Being light-skinned, I assimilated so well that friends were shocked when they came to my house and discovered my father spoke with an accent and my grandmother had dark skin. These experiences were reminders that Arabs could be close […]

Review of Flying Lessons & Other Stories

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Flying Lessons & Other Stories edited by Ellen Oh Intermediate, Middle School    Crown    225 pp. 1/17    978-1-101-93459-3    $16.99 Library ed.  978-1-101-93460-9    $19.99    g e-book ed.  978-1-101-93461-6    $10.99 Edited by Oh, cofounder of We Need Diverse Books, ten stories by (mostly) well-known authors of diverse backgrounds present young protagonists dealing with common themes of growing up […]

Squeaky Little Wheels

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In this time of fear and anxiety about the next four years (and hell, the last five hundred years), it is more important than ever that we teach our children to be critical about the media they consume. What are you watching on TV? What news sources do you follow, are they valid? Oh, and […]

Foreign Correspondence: An Interview with Deborah Ahenkorah: Torchbearer for African Children’s Publishing

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I first became aware of Deborah Ahenkorah a few years ago when I was prospecting the internet for groups working to address diversity issues in children’s publishing. Ahenkorah is the cofounder and executive director of Golden Baobab, the groundbreaking pan-African social enterprise behind the Golden Baobab Prizes for African children’s literature. Golden Baobab not only […]

Family Reading: A place for ALL families

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This has been a rough week for a lot of us. We’ve read in the news and heard firsthand stories of uncertainty and fear from our children and their classmates and from neighbors and friends. The presidential election’s hateful rhetoric has prompted kids to worry about what is to come under the incoming administration: “Will […]