I was helping a customer last week and we really clicked. She was looking for books for her daughters. I suggested two books I loved Hunger Games by Collins and Eyes Like Stars by Mantchev, she got both. The customer already had a book in her hand for herself, Angel's Game (which is really good btw). While we were walking an talking about books I decided I would show her a book by a Black author. Sometimes Black customers don't like to be shown books by Black writers. They don't say anything, but I've gotten the are you showing me this book because I am Black look. Well, Duh. Yes. But I didn't get this vibe from this customers so I showed her the new Carleen Brice book Children of the Waters (reading now, its so good) She got it. Somehow we started talking about Octavia Butler. She loves Butler's writing. When I found this out right away I told her about The Shadow Speaker by Nnedi -mbachu. I was going to stop there but I decided to go for broke and tell her about A Wish After Midnight by Elliott. As much as I enjoyed Elliott's YA titles I have to sell or suggest titles the store can get because the economy is so bad. I made an exception in this case because it would've felt wrong not to tell this customer about A Wish After Midnight because we clicked so nicely, she loves Kindred, and has two daughters.
Besides showing off my wicked selling skills, this story proves that it doesn't have to be all or nothing. I see so many Black customers who either only read Black authors or won't read them at all. Not having to be all or nothing applies to everyone. Yesterday, Susan did a post over at Color Online about being in funk because she couldn't find many reviews featuring characters of color. Our race, gender and all other box checks, shouldn't limit the books we read. I am with Susan, I would love to see more YA books featuring poc reviewed on a regular basis on more blogs.
Finally The Fun - Book Giveaway
Over at Color Online, Susan is hosting a book giveaway. Nine, authors were kind enough to donate a book to the giveaway. Including Brice and Elliott. There are some wonderful books to be won. So check it out and enter. If you commit to writing a review you can get 5 xtra entries (aka a whole hand) If you review books anyway what's one more.
You rock, Doret.
I have the same phenomenon in our library: girls will not read a black book because they feel we're saying they're suppose to or they will only read black because they resent what they were required to read in school.
In the blogosphere, I worry about sounding like a broken record or coming off anti, because you know it's pretty easy to translate a pro message for one thing as a anti message for the opposite.
Anyhoo, thanks for promoting the giveaway and encouraging readers to broaden their reading habits.
Doret, you got MAD bookseller skillz!
I usually won't notice what race an author is, but I can see what you mean about black people wondering if you are giving them books by black authors just because they are black. If I were to walk into a bookstore and a bookseller gave me only books by black authors, I would feel pigeonholed. But I do appreciate when I am shown books from a variety of authors, because it is important to me to read books by all races of authors.
Thank you for your thoughtful post.
Thanks for slipping my book into the mix, Doret! I hope retailers and libraries will start ordering AWAM so more readers can find it on the shelf...
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