3. DiversiThemes

Aside from our DiversifYA interviews, we host DiversiThemes every last week of the month. Every DiversiTheme highlights a different topic, and this way we hope to give you all sides of diversity. If you have an idea for a DiversiTheme, you can always email us. We’d love to hear from you!

May 2013 – The trouble with interviews

I still do think there are universals that humans from all racial backgrounds share, and that’s based on science, not me being a jerk. (Although you can argue that modern science, like everything else, is biased toward whiteness. Science does have a long history of being totally freakin’ racist. But I digress.) Science says that people in every society smile when they’re happy, enjoy music, cry (even if in some societies that’s considered uncool), tell jokes, get violent sometimes, have sex, have some kind of religion, etc. If my saying that is unfair, I guess I’m going to continue being unfair, because if there are no human universals then I might as well give up being a writer, because I will not be able to write anyone.

In May we kicked off DiversiThemes with our feature “The trouble with interviews”, namely, how hard it can be to write about diversity in general terms, with two fantastic point and counterpoint posts by author Shana Mlawski (HAMMER OF WITCHES, Tu Books 2013).

June 2013 – Writing Diverse Kidlit

Diversity in fiction is important to me because it seems right. It seems fair. It seems logical that the future would be diverse.

In June, we explored writing diverse kidlit! The fantastic Andrea Cheng told us what it was like to write a biography in prose about an enslaved young potter, as well as many other diverse books here, and the amazing Karen Sandler joined us to talk about her YA sci-fi series, spanning TANKBORN,AWAKENING, and the upcoming REBELLION, here.

July 2013 – Twins!

The perks to being a Black woman and a Latina woman? I would have to say that since I’m both it’s easy for me to connect with women or people of these two identities. Being black and being Latina are synonymous to me. To be both is something I don’t take lightly, it’s made me a stronger person and it’s made me a stronger writer.

Guinevere and Libertad Thomas joined DiversifYA for a special double twin interview, where they both share their experiences with being Afro-Latina.

August 2013 – Other

I have eight girls in my high school level Girl Scout troop. Seven of them are bicultural and/or biracial. Several of them have immigrant parents. They all function like your typical American high school girl. Except they look at everything with a global lens, and they aren’t afraid to date outside of their own ethnicity. When I’m stuck or questioning something in my work, I think about them. They are my core audience.

Suzanne van Rooyen wrote about her experiences with the way “immigrant” is perceived in European culture–and how flawed preconceived notions are. And spread out over two days, Sara Fujimura and Suzanne Kamata, shared their experiences with living in Japan and raising a Japanese-American family (part one and part two).

September 2013 – A Publisher’s Perspective

We have been publishing diverse books for twenty years, so we are proof that it can be done, that diverse books can sell in large enough quantities to sustain a company for two decades. Many people seek out diverse books, especially educators. When we connect with the right audiences, diverse books can be a very easy sell.

In September, two wonderful LEE & LOW guests joined us for a DiversiTheme about publishing Diverse kidlit. Keilin Huang, Marketing & Publicity Assistant, and Hannah Ehrlich, Marketing & Publicity Manager. You can find their answers to our questions here and here.

October / November 2013 – Diversity and Sexuality, a round table discussion

…Probably largely because of those assumptions (though certainly not entirely), I have yet to have any sexual relationships. I’ve had exactly one kiss, which I don’t even count for a variety of reasons, and that’s the extent of my experience. It’s frustrating because I want to have sexual experiences. I’ve been ready for a while, but I can’t find a partner. I realize that’s a reality for a lot of people, that’s it’s not a unique situation, but it’s hard when I know so many people automatically discount me because of my disability. It’s difficult sometimes not to slip back into believing I’m wholly undesirable and that I’ll never have any sexual relationship.

In October and November DiversifYA hosted a wonderful round table discussion centering around diversity and sexuality in YA literature. You can find parts one through six here: one, two, three, four, five, six.

Coming up…

Over the next couple of months we’ll be talking about… diverse holidays, writing diverse kidlit, body imagine and fat culture, and much, much more! 

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