Panel- How Can Books and Publishing Better Serve in a Diverse World (What…
Panel- How Can Books and Publishing Better Serve in a Diverse World
"I started to exist when I started reading." -Walter Dean Myers
Moderator: Cherly Klein (Executive Editor of Arthur A. Levine Books)
Panelist: Lisa Yee (author of 10 children novels); Sonia Manzano (actress and young adult author); Sharon Robinson ( author of 6 children books); Varian Johnson (3 novels for children and young adults)
What Books First Made You Exist When You Were a Child?
Each author expressed that the first time they saw themselves exist in a book, was when the protagonist looked like them such as sex or race. V.J-Motown and Didi by Walter Dean Myers; S.M.-When I was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago; S.R.-Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene
What Is Heard From Teachers During School Visits?
V.J.-Teachers utilizing the public library to find books that can connect to their students.
S.M.- When choosing literature the characters and topics should be authentic. Stay away from stereotypes.
L.Y.- Having authors visit or Skype with the students allows the students to see that their is someone behind the words and books that they read. It gets them interested and to see that the author cares about what they are reading.
S.R.- Some schools allow student to lead committees that deals with social issues that is facilitated by a facility member.
How Do You Write/Layer a Story that "Just Happened" to Be About a Particular Culture?
The panel explained that they stay away from stereotypes by creating the character first. The character is written as relatable as possible, the stories are universal, and then race follows.
How Can Teachers Help Nurture the Writing and Reading Talent of a Student Whose First Language is Not English?
S.M.- Teachers can read aloud and ask students to tell stories about their lives and get parents involved.
V.J.- Show kids the trend that being smart is cool.
What Advice Would You Give to an Inspiring Writer?
L.Y.- Read, write, read, write, repeat.
S.R.- Appreciate the feedback that is given.
S.M.- Writing is all about editing until it is perfect. Rewrite, Rewrite, Rewrite.
V.J.- Read a variety of genres because inspiration can come from anywhere.
Where Do You Write Physically?
Each panelist explained that they write everywhere because inspiration comes at anytime. Coffee shops, hotels, home office, airports, wherever there is an inspiration is where they write.
Do You Illustrated While Writing Your Story to Visually See Where the Story is Going?
S.R.- Creates a storyboard with words instead of pictures, Mrs. Robinson has to have a visual as she writes.
L.Y.- Does a lot of research and use the pictures based off of her research to have a visual as she writes.
How to Motivate Older Struggling Readers?
Find books where the character maybe older but the reading level is lower.
Find good picture books and have a conversation about the pictures.
Have students read hi/lo books.
Have students read graphic novels.
Why Do Publishers Limit Reading Ages on Books?
C.K.- Kids want to read about books that are their own age. Capping ages on books gives kids and parents a reassurance of what they should be reading.
How to Get Parents Involved to Read to Their Children?
S.M.-Give parents practical ways to help read to their student such as reading building signs.
How Are Books Publish in Another Language?
C.K.- Books that are purchased by a publishing company of another language can rewrite a book into that language as well as the books that have the most appeal to kids across all races.
Teachers need to be committed to diversity and to purchase books with lead characters of other races. #weneeddiversbooks is a way to express why kids need to see and read books that resemble them.