Saturday, September 5, 2009

E. Lynn Harris Tribute/ Everyone Has A Story

Toni, told me this wonderful tribute to author E. Lynn Harris. When asked if I was going to put it on my blog, I said no. I try to only post about fiction books that crossover to teen readers. When I saw tribute I quickly changed my mind. 1, its too beautiful and to share and 2, it fits in perfectly. Amy Bowllan is running a must read series over at her School Library Journal Blog Writers Against Racism (W.A.R) Everyday I look forward to reading the next entry. Only three questions. All the answers are very telling, and honest. The final W.A.R. question, In what ways combat the effects of racism and promote tolerance? Harris introduced many readers to their first contemporary Black gay characters. With each new book Harris gave a voice to characters that were ignored. He made it okay for people to start talking about homosexuality. That is what W.A.R. is all about.

In April of this year two 11 year old boys in different states committed suicide. One Black, one Hispanic because of homophobic bullying in school. Read the NYT's article Both stories are sad and senseless. As far as children's books go, these boys do not exist. They are a myth to be ignored. If only that weren't so. If only there were books out that could be discussed openly in the classroom or maybe even read in private, giving a voice to this very real population. Dr. Zetta Elliott, is the author of the bestselling middle grade novel Bird. She wrote a wonderful piece about why the inclusion more stories in children's literature is important and necessary. Its a must read. Posted today on a holiday weekend mind you, and already has 18 comments. So do check it out.

Dr. Elliott speaks her mind


Zetta said...

Thanks for the plug, Doret, and for this touching tribute. I never saw Harris read in public, but he was on C-Span one weekend and all the church ladies were there with their hats on...he talked to them like they were family. It was remarkable...

Doret said...

When he was home in Atlanta, Harris would shop at the bookstore I work at on Sundays. He was always very nice. He deserves all those kind words.

Karen Strong said...

Thanks Doret for posting this link! E. Lynn Harris was such a nice person and he really supported young writers to keep believing in their dreams and to cultivate their craft.

Here in Atlanta, he was always very gracious to his readers and if he found out that you were a writer--he was always very open with sharing advice about the craft.

Now, I'm off to read Zetta's post!

Amy Bowllan said...

Doret, thank you for sharing this tribute. I will definitely be sharing it with my faculty members, and librarians.

I appreciate your kind words, too.