Monday, December 03, 2007

Children's authors (and 1 illustrator), part 2 of a roundtable discussion

Be sure to check out Part Two: Can You Hear Us, Now?, a virtual roundtable discussion hosted by author Paula Chase-Hyman over at Blogging in Black.

Last month, The Brown Bookshelf team discussed the topic of why some African American children's authors go unnoticed, in a market that produces so few.

This month Paula poses the question: "Traditionally, books for young black readers have stayed within a comfortable box - they teach history lessons or provide inspirational stories of overcoming - are children’s writers of color held to a higher standard than their white counterparts when it comes to content?"

To that question I offered the answer: "No, I don’t believe we are held to a higher standard. However, I do believe that black authors are often put into a box. I can write whatever I want, however, it has a better chance of getting published if it fits inside that box.

Your words, “comfortable box,” are interesting. Let’s open the box and take a look inside. Who are you going to find in there? And who gets to determine what’s comfortable?

Inside, you’ll find agents, editors, editorial boards, sales and marketing teams, booksellers. These are the people who define what’s comfortable. I have to wonder how the ‘comfort box’ would be affected if more people of color were found inside.

I’m not suggesting the publishing industry needs to recruit black people. As a people, we have to care so much about change that we bum-rush the box, and start climbing inside.

I believe it’s possible to break down the barriers of the box, by wrapping our out-of-the-box content with a well-written, compelling story."

Read the discussion in it's entirety at Blogging in Black.

1 comment:

Rinda M. Byers said...

Yes, the story rules! There MUST be something universal in a story for it to connect to many different types of people, I believe. Only then do we communicate, only then do we transform