As young adult novelists Ellen Oh and Lamar Giles sat together on a panel at a Virginia teen literature conference in early 2014, Oh relished the rare experience of sharing the stage with another author of color. She had already been thinking about an initiative to expand diversity in children’s literature, and that day she wondered: “Why can’t it be like this all the time?”
Both Oh and Giles had grown fatigued with the diversity discussion that repeatedly arose in the children’s and YA books (or “kidlit,” as it’s called) community, only to fizzle out again. Debriefing with Giles after the panel, Oh remembers telling him of her plan: “We have to do something, and we have to do something big.” She asked him, “Are you in?”
A few weeks later We Need Diverse Books, the social media movement that has grown into a well-regarded nonprofit in a matter of months, was born. The founders had already started planning their campaign when, not for the last time, an incident of industry racism gave them momentum. In April, BookCon — a subsidiary of New York-based publishing mega-conference BookExpo — announced a panel of superstar children’s authors that consisted of all white men, while the overall conference lineup was all white people, aside from Grumpy Cat.
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Lemony Snicket’s masterful children’s series A Series of Unfortunate Events has already been decently adapted in 2004’s version directed by… Read More
Halloween is fast approaching, and if you’re the writerly (read: introverted, inside-cat) type, you may be experiencing some anxiety about dressing up in a costume and walking the streets. But take heart: some of your very favorite authors have been known to don a costume from time to time, too. So it must be cool, right? This slideshow is also appropriate for those itching to wear a literary costume this year but who have already worn out their Poe ravens and DFW bandannas: go meta and dress as one of your favorite authors in one of their costumes. Click through to see some amazing writers dressed to the… Read More
Looking for something to read but don’t want to stray too far from the authors you know and love? Seeking undiscovered literary gems to talk about at dinner parties? Want to delve into the backlist of a certain Great American Author? Well, Flavorwire has got you covered. After all, sometimes, amazing books just get lost in the shuffle, whether it’s because they’re before their time, fall out of fashion, or their author has one blockbuster that blots out all the rest. Click through to check out 50 great under-appreciated, under-read, and overshadowed novels by 50 of your favorite… Read More
Last week marked the release of Flavorwire favorite Michelle Tea’s newest novel Mermaid in Chelsea Creek, a YA stunner filled with old magic, grit, love and girls making trouble. To celebrate the book, Flavorwire asked Tea to suggest a few more literary teen girls in trouble, each of them likely to sneak into your garden shed and/or soul. She writes, “I started reading YA when I was a little too young for it, and the many 1970s books I read about teenage girls getting into trouble filled me with an awe and and anxiety that kept me reading… forever. Though I will always have a place in my heart for I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, Lisa Bright and Dark and The Best Little Girl in the World, these more contemporary heroines keep me writing — and reading.”
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Ready your nightlights — today marks the release of The Dark, a wonderful children’s book written by Lemony Snicket and illustrated by Jon Klassen. Irreverent and gorgeous, this book might just be a way for your little one (or you) to conquer an elemental fear. To celebrate the book’s release, we asked Lemony Snicket about some of the things that have scared him, and he sent us this list of the movies that terrified him the most — as a little kid and as a larger kid. Check them out after the jump, and let us know what scares you in the comments.
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This week, while reading an exceptional mini-profile of Sam Lipsyte over at Vulture, we came across a delightful photo of the author performing with his punk band of 20-odd years ago. Inspired, we set to searching out the long-forgotten (or relatively recent) photos of more of our favorite authors and their bands. After the jump, check out our roundup of famous authors rocking out onstage.
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A few weeks ago, Publishers Weekly took to Twitter to ask readers which books they wished more people had read. Duly prompted, since then we’ve been thinking about the books we think are woefully under-read, under-appreciated or underrated, from the “lesser” works of famous writers to mostly forgotten or unacknowledged geniuses.… Read More
Among his many talents, Daniel Handler is the master of painting the precocious youth in moments of existential peril — his alter ego is Lemony Snicket, after all, though we admit we like his lusciously written books for adults even better. In Handler’s newest novel Why We Broke Up, illustrated by the great Maira Kalman, teenagers Min and Ed have, well, just broken up. And now, “arty” girl Min is writing her basketball-playing ex a novel-length letter as to just exactly why, following the trail of their failed relationship’s trinkets and detritus — sugar bowls, ticket stubs — until she reaches the bitter end. The tale is as simple as it gets, but expertly rendered and, as far as we’re concerned completely true to the teenage experience.
We’ve all been through it, whether we’d like to admit it or not, so to ease the pain, we’ve asked Handler (who in addition to being a successful novelist just happens to be the sometime accordionist for the Magnetic Fields — who would have ever broken up with him?) to put together the ultimate playlist to help you get through any breakup, whether you’re sixteen or sixty. Click through to listen to Handler’s picks and let us know which tracks you count on to heal your own broken hearts in the comments.
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It’s the end of the year, which means we’re all up to our necks in Best-of-2011 lists, and everyone’s behind on their reading. But that’s no reason not to forge ahead and check out the new stuff hitting shelves this month — after all, we know you’re about to have some cozy holiday downtime to catch up on everything. In this month’s reading list, you can look forward to crime conspiracies involving thick liquids, ultra-cute microfictions, translated fables, and teary breakups involving pistachios. Click through to check out our list of the ten most interesting books coming out this month, and let us know which ones you’re most excited to dive into in the comments.
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