I did a recent post over at Color Online
Here's the first part.
Children's blogger, Betsy Bird of Fuse #8 Production, over at School Library Journal recently announced a new poll. The Top 100 Children's Fictional Chapter Books. Everyone has until January 31, send along there 10 top middle grade choices of all time. When I saw the announcement, I knew that the majority of my selections would feature kids of color. I would love to be to able to vote for Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth , Paterson's Bridge to Terabithia, Konigsurg's The View from Saturday or any number of middle grade novels with White protagonists that I love and deserve to be on the list. But I can't. With my picks I am striving for a little color balance. I don't feel bad or guilty about the way I will vote. I love color in fiction but I am not blinded by it. I don't lower my standards or exceptions simply because a book has characters of color.
I decided it was best to post it over at Color Online, since that blog gets more traffic. I figured more people would see it.
I have not sent in my top 10 MG choices yet. I know what 6 of my choices will be, though I am actually waiting until I read a few more MG titles like Naming Maya by Umi Krishnaswami before I fill the final spots.
TheBrownBookshelf has announced the author's and illustrators who will be interviewed for their annual 28 Days Later It's wonderful list of artist as always.
I just got The Phantom Tollbooth from the library, and while I can tell that I would have LOVED it at the right age, I just can't read it now; I'm too old!!! :--) But it's clever and has a great message, and really could have been shown in any color of character whatsoever! One day (soon we can only hope) authors and illustrators will take a race neutral book like this and pick a different color for illustrating!!!
Contributing some color balance is a good idea. I just looked at the Best Children's Books and Best YA Books lists on Goodreads, to get some idea of what people choose in a "popularity contest," and there are virtually no characters/authors/illustrators of color included.
I seriously agree. My Top 100 Picture Books Poll was a near all-white landscape. Please please please, everybody vote and color it up.
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