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View Full Version : "We Need Diverse Books": Twitter Campaign goes Viral



aruna
05-02-2014, 08:30 PM
This seems to be something that could help change the thing we have all been griping about here:

http://www.salon.com/2014/05/01/weneeddiversebooks_goes_viral/

#weneeddiversebooks (https://twitter.com/search?q=%23WeNeedDiverseBooks&src=hash)

The trouble is, for me, I am happy to give my reason but I have no idea how to use a hashtag! :) How do I add a comment?

aruna
05-02-2014, 08:38 PM
Campaign starts tomorrow, May 3d:


By May 3, the final day of the campaign, get ready to put your money where your mouth is and buy a book that has some diversity.
There will be a Diversify Your Shelves initiative to encourage people to put their money where their mouth is and buy diverse books and take photos of them. Diversify Your Shelves is all about actively seeking out diverse literature in bookstores and libraries, and there will be some fantastic giveaways for people who participate in the campaign!
http://www.salon.com/2014/05/01/weneeddiversebooks_goes_viral/

aruna
05-02-2014, 08:44 PM
According to Publishers Weekly (http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-industry-news/article/62094-diversity-social-media-campaign-goes-viral.html)the campaign has already gone viral -- Yay!

Even before the official launch time, the hashtag, #WeNeedDiverseBooks, had gone viral, with 27,796 Tweets from 8,988 contributors recorded at 10:45 a.m. By 5:00 p.m., there were 46,672 tweets from 13,459 unique contributors, with 82,272,930 timeline deliveries, and with the numbers changing by the second. “It’s kind of lit a spark in people,” Oh said. “All of these voices are coming together.”

kuwisdelu
05-03-2014, 03:58 AM
We have sister discussions over in YA (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=289506) and Writing for Kids (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=289278).

kuwisdelu
05-03-2014, 03:59 AM
Here is a good critique by the Cooperative Children's Book Center (http://ccblogc.blogspot.com/2014/05/culturally-genericneutral.html) of the Culturally Diverse Books Selected by SLJ’s Review Editors (http://www.slj.com/2014/05/diversity/culturally-diverse-books-selected-by-sljs-review-editors/#comments). The intentions are good, but it still has some, uh, issues...

Roxxsmom
05-03-2014, 07:58 AM
In fact, it's interesting that ten of the thirteen books in the Generic/Neutral category were actually written by people who belong to the culture about which they are writing, while only seven of the thirteen Culturally Specific books were. The only book on the list with Native American characters was written by a white author. It was classed as "Culturally Specific." It makes me wonder how If I Ever Get out of Here by Eric Gansworth would have been classified if it had been included on the list. Would it have landed on the Generic side because the main character likes The Beatles?



Interesting. It seems like they're (the people who compiled the original list) implying that people from outside a culture can write the inside perspective better, while someone from inside the culture writes a "common ground" (if that's what they meant by culturally neutral--I'm not sure about that) perspective better?

Huh?

kuwisdelu
05-03-2014, 08:13 AM
Interesting. It seems like they're (the people who compiled the original list) implying that people from outside a culture can write the inside perspective better, while someone from inside the culture writes a "common ground" (if that's what they meant by culturally neutral--I'm not sure about that) perspective better?

Huh?

The critique is just the opposite, actually.

Outsiders tend to hyper-focus on the "otherness" of cultures not their own, and don't always get it right (see here (http://americanindiansinchildrensliterature.blogspot.com/2014/05/sljs-diversity-booklist-in-may-issue.html) for the problems with the one novel about Native Americans on the list, written by a white author).

Insiders tend to just write it like it is, because the "otherness" is perfectly familiar, but their culturally-specific experiences and ways of knowing aren't always readily recognizable to outsiders as such.

They're questioning what "common ground" means. Whose common ground?

Because as it turns out, a lot of the "culturally generic" novels listed are really very culturally specific. Often moreso than the "culturally specific" novels listed. It's just that outsiders aren't equipped with the cultural knowledge to recognize it, because it doesn't fit their preconceived notions and stereotypes.

The outsider has a tendency to romanticize, which will appeal to other outsiders' notions of an ethnic culture.

The insider may tell a story that rings true to other insiders, but will leave outsiders' saying "this isn't very ethnic", even when it is, just in ways that don't fit the outsiders' expectations.

(Not saying it's always that way or has to be that way; it doesn't; but that's the trend.)

Polenth
05-03-2014, 08:21 AM
The trouble is, for me, I am happy to give my reason but I have no idea how to use a hashtag! :) How do I add a comment?

There's no special method. You just type out the hashtag - #WeNeedDiverseBooks - as you would if you were typing it here. Twitter does the technical stuff of linking it all together in the search. I'd recommend copy/pasting the tag to make sure you don't make a typo.

Twitter doesn't care where in the tweet it comes or how it's capitalised. It does care if you add in spaces or don't leave a space before the next word in the sentence (so it needs to be #WeNeedDiverseBooks not #We Need Diverse Books or #WeNeedDiverseBooksbecause).

aruna
05-03-2014, 08:54 AM
BTW I am slightly disappointed that the campaign focusses on children's' books. We need cultural diversity in adult books as well; yet I remember when googling multicultural literature some time ago (and variations of that) all I came up with were children's books. It's as if diversity in adult books just isn't worth talking about -- and of course it is.

kuwisdelu
05-03-2014, 09:02 AM
We need cultural diversity in adult books as well

I agree. But I figure anything that gets people excited and talking about diversity is a good thing. And every child who grows up reading diverse books will eventually want to read about diverse adults as well.

From a pragmatic perspective, I can see how it makes sense that this is happening in children's lit first. It's a smaller world, and this will echo loudly. The adult world will probably have to go genre by genre.

Kitty27
05-06-2014, 10:54 PM
I love it! Anything that brings attention to diversity is a good thing. It also lets writers know there is an audience ready and waiting.

LupineMoon
05-28-2014, 07:46 PM
This is great, though yes, I agree that adult books should also be included, and several authors have touted their adult books. This has gotten me thinking about my own writing and finally given me the gumption (though it hasn't cured my writer's block) to finish my writings about being a bi-racial person with disabilities.

I've got a blog for my fanfic that's got posts addressing this, but I think I might start a blog under my pen name to address these in other lit and talk about why I'm writing what I'm writing. So much writing....