December: A Call to Action

This time of year libraries, books stores, newspapers, EVERYONE is putting out lists.

Best of 2017! Holiday Gift Ideas! So many lists of books. It is wonderful and also, sometimes, overwhelming.

But this year, I have a request to make. This is a book blog. This is not a politics blog. But the two are inextricably intertwined. Since the inauguration, hate crimes in this country have risen. The government has taken actions that have a disproportionately negative effect on people of color, on people of certain religions. So this year, I’m asking you, at the very smallest, most local level, to take a stand for diversity, inclusion and tolerance.

When you pick up that Best of 2017 list, that librarian penned “Holiday Gift Ideas for your Kid” list, can you please see if it is blindingly, painfully white, or if it is full all the same people that make up our country?

My local library, which I adore, put out a list that had almost no authors of color, almost no characters of color. And as uncomfortable as it made me, I said something. I spoke to the librarian and explained why I was passionate about these lists providing children with a better range of choices. I don’t know if she’ll consider my words when making future lists. I don’t know if I was as persuasive as I’d hoped, but I do know that I tried. I didn’t let it pass unremarked upon.

For many of us, this has been a year of picking up the phone, calling Senators, calling Representatives. It can be harder to challenge someone you see and interact with daily. But it also can be more personal. You have a greater chance of being heard. So if you possibly can, check your list. If it’s great, thank everyone and anyone who had a hand in it. If it’s not, take a stand.

If you need some resources, I think Grace Lin’s Ted Talk on Windows is very powerful.
Angie Manfredi’s list is excellent.
The Falmouth Public Library’s list is also full of wonderful picks.
Consulting Debbie Reese’s American Indians in Children’s Literature list is also always a great idea.

If you have seen any great, diverse, inclusive year end lists, please link them in the comments!

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