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The Happy Nappy Bookseller has been running this great series profiling Latino authors of MG/YA books. The series started when she did some research and discovered only 16 MG/YA books published this year in the United States by Latino authors: "More Latino Authors Please/ necesitamos mas autores Latinos". The jumping off point for each of these profiles is the blog post "Authentic Latino voices" by Mayra Lazara Dole, author of Down to the Bone.

"Authentic Latino voices" touches on two issues: one is the question of authenticity and opportunity for authors and editors with a Latino background, which is often raised and for which there are plenty of intelligent arguments on every side of the issue. But the core of Mayra Lazara Dole's post, which I've seen far less often, is about the lack of representation in literature of the diversity of Latino experience:

Latino cultures are as distinct and diverse as ants (which, by the way, have over 280 species). All Spanish-speaking folks don’t share the same culture, heritage, dialect, or culinary traditions.

Also from the Happy Nappy Bookseller, how did I not know about Nerds Heart YA? The contest has the aim of showcasing books that had not received as much publicity as the big hitter books of 2009. This year, the contest focused on diversity, which they defined as books which feature characters, or are penned by authors, who fall within the following categories:
  • Person(s) of Color (POC)
  • GLBT
  • Disability/Mental Illness
  • Religious Lifestyle
  • Lower Socioeconomic Status

I love the idea of making sure we hear about the books that aren't quite so much featured in the echo chamber, even though most of the echo chamber books were also fabulous.

Philip Nel, over at Nine Kinds of Pie, writes about how "Book banners hurt young people". Nel looks at the list of frequently banned and challenged books and notices that most of them depict difficulties faced by children and teens. Nel points out Children in vulnerable populations need to read books that help them make sense of their experiences. On Nel's mind, as on everyone's right now, is the suicide rate of queer teens, but his point is more general.
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