book bans Tag

Open letter to SCWBI + their response

So a week agao I saw Danielle Davis, Sarah Proudman, Hatem Aly, Omar Abed, and M.O. Yuksei draft a powerful letter calling out the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCWBI) for their silence on thousands of Palestinian children being killed by the Israeli and US govt. You can read and sign that letter here: LINK

And this was the Scwbi response. You can read the entire response here.

My thoughts: They are a pro Israeli institution but don’t want to say it plainly. They voice support for other countries but ignore Palestine. I feel like they have been problematic for a long time too. I have a hunch and feeling that the only reason they have included more opportunities and grants for Black folks or people of color is because the people demanded it from the industry. If you’re a former member like me or a current member, let me know what you think right now. What’s your take? Doesnt matter if you agree or disagree with me. I know the talk I see from fellow authors isn’t one of praise. This stance though is wack. It relates to book bans for me too. Why? There are lies groups like them, mainstream US media, and other forces are trying to protect. The truth? Still putting my finger on what that is.

This is a post I wrote about my visit to their conference back in 2010 or 2011. Some things about them were very positive. But I couldnt shake the feeling that Bipoc were ignored or an afterthought back then and I still feel it today. It feels like the few Bipoc, Queer, Muslim creators who are highlighted are not enough and that they are comfortable with the stats where they are. Could they improve? Maybe, but if I have to explain the meaning of genoicde to you in the context of Palestine right now and you still don’t get it, I think you don’t want to see it. I feel like we should build something in their place for those in the kidlit world who do support a ceasefire and who value Bipoc communites from the beginning, not as an afterthought.

To all kid lit organizations, agencies, publishers, etc . Don’t be a quiet org afraid to learn. Speak up and speak out. Talk to children about the Nakba, about ethnic studies, critical race theory, gender, sexuality, politics, etc at a level they can understand. Stop bitching about making white Jewish, white, heterosexual, or conservative families feel discomfort. We all need to know each others actual lived experiences and histories from as many sides as possible or “never again” will be visited upon so many more. Whether your kids are comfortable or not, there are hella kids who are experiencing racism, genocidal governments, anti trans hate, and so many other things already, now.

To get a broader context of who is in the kid lit industry from publishers, editors, and agents check out this survey by Lee & Low Books. Animation needs a survey like this too. Thank goodness for the Geena Davis Institute studying how girls and women are portrayed in film. I know I’m not perfect or the moral authority on anything but I’m glad to see Scbwi called out. I’m glad I’m seeing more kidlit folks speaking out, and I believe we all have more to learn and we all must be brave.

Dig this? Check out this post about the Road to Apartheid or see the trailer for Israelism

My Book in this VICE article


Here we go again, it seems that people just being who they are if that happens to be Gay, Lesbian, Queer, Trans, or gender non conforming seems to really piss White Christian families off. If not enrage them, it really fucking scares them. Check out this article about this town and how they handled books featuring queer children and Queer librarians trying to broaden the minds of local children and families. It was not cool how they essentially forced these librarians to quit. My book with. Laurin Mayeno happens to be the image featured here but really there are so many kids books featuring Black folks, people of color, queer or gender fluid characters that really scare just by existing. Smh
After reading a few more articles it seems that the heart of this issue is that they attacked queer librarians and made them (the key holders of a variety of information, stories, and resources) feel unwelcome; not only in their job but in their town.
Check out this good news pertaining to the book though: Gender Nation