Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Thanks Simon and Schuster

There has been a lot of focus on publishers Whitewashing books this past week. I think this is a very good thing if publishers realize people are paying attention, things will change. At the same time I think publishers who are getting it right should be talked up. The first publisher I said thank you for recognizing kids of color was Candlewick

Today its Simon & Schuster. I've been thinking about doing this post for awhile now. Though I knew it was time when realized Bleeding Violet - Dia Reeves debut novel is published by an S&S imprint. I just finished the novel and really enjoyed it. (review to come) I loved the main character Hanna. Its very rare to see a YA fantasy novel with a main character of color written by an author of color. If that's not shout out worthy I don't know what is.

I don't know when I started paying attention to who publishers what, but I do especially when it comes to diversity.

1Two of a Kind by Jacqui Robbins Illus by Matt Phelan

2Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx by Jonah Winter Illus. by Edel Rodriguez

3 Long Shot: Never Too Small to Dream Big by Chris Paul Illus by Frank Morrison

4 Little Cloud and Lady Wind by Toni Morrison and Slade Morrison Illus by Sean Qualls

5Night of the Living Lawn Ornaments by Emily Ecton

6Olivion's Favorites by Troy Cle

7Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

8Shooting Kabul by N. H. Senzai

9The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon

10Perfect Shot by Debbie Rigaud

11The World Is Mine by Lyah B. LeFlore

12Shine, Coconut Moon by Neesha Meminger

13Sweet, Hereafter by Angela Johnson

14 Good Fortune by Noni Carter

15Keep Sweet by Michele Dominguez Greene

16Dark Dude by Oscar Hijuelos

17He Forgot to Say Goodbye by Benjamin Alire Saenz

18 Voices in First Person: Reflections on Latino Identity by Lori Marie Carlson

All of these titles are 2009 and 2010 releases with the exception of three. Of these 18 titles at least seven are about kids of color or in the case of author Emily Ecton's book feature a kid of color and have nothing to do with race.

Robbins Two of a Kind is a wonderful story featuring two kids of color that has nothing to do with race (and would make a great read aloud)

I love Morrison's cover for Long Shot. Its a wonderful picture book but I really wish it was an early chapter book . There are not enough early readers that feature boys of color. If Long Shot was such a book it would sell it like candy. A lot of young kids love the NBA, and its so hard to find good sports books for early readers.

I love that not only is there a Black protagonist (Ty) in Ecton's series but he is also on the cover. I haven't read not read Night of the Living Lawn Ornaments yet, but I enjoyed the first book in and loved the second one The Curse of Cuddles McGee. Ty is on the cover of all three books. Buy this book - support cover diversity and get a very good laugh all for the low low price of $6.00

Magoon's Rock and the River cover stands out for me, because its rare to see a male protagonist of Color on the cover of middle grade novel. Magoon won the 2010 John Steptoe award for new talent

Perfect Shot is a part of S&S romantic comedy series. Rigaud is the first Black author to be published under this line. To me this is huge. Author's of color aren't given the opportunity to tell more stories. Perfect Shot is another story and a very good one. When and if you buy this book (only $7.00) you're saying three things. 1) YA with kids of color on the cover can sell 2) You want new stories with kids of color 3) You want to laugh

Laflore's The World is Mine is a great page turner. I love the cover I think it speaks to its intended audience and the Black male protagonist is front and center.

I like Meminger's Shine Coconut Moon cover but I do wish we could see the models face. Though I am very happy the cover has a model and not sun rays or something Shine Coconut Moon was a Smithsonian Notable Book for Children 2009

There is really nothing to say about Johnson's Sweet HereAfter cover but love it, especially when kids of color seem to be dissappearing from covers even when they are the main character.
Good Fortune is Carter's YA debut. Its also a story about slavery. Yes, another story about slavery but I will happily read this one because Simon & Schuster is giving so much more.

Thanks Simon & Schuster, please keep the diversity coming. Also it would be very nice if you invested more money in getting the word out on these books. People can't buy want they don't know about. I am sure somewhere someone is wondering where they can find a middle grade fantasy book that features a kid of color. If only they new about Troy Cle's Olivion's Favorites the second book in a series that stars Louis Proof, a Black protagonist


rhapsodyinbooks said...

Wonderful idea to talk up those who do it right!

Lenore Appelhans said...

Love that you are doing this!

I just reviewed Bleeding Violet and a lot of people are commenting that they're really interested in it now.

Leila said...

The cover of Sweet, Hereafter is gorgeous -- I haven't come across that title. I'll have to find a copy.

Doret said...

Jill - I really like doing this, and yes publishers should get some credit when they're doing it right.

Lenore -Bleeding Violet is a great, nice and strange.

Leila - I believe Sweet, Hereafter is final book in a trilogy

Anonymous said...

Excellent post and point! Two of a Kind looks really cute, and I'm a big fan of Morrison, but have yet to read her children's books. Great list.

Zetta said...

good job, Doret--giving praise where praise is due...

Anonymous said...

Doret, you give such thorough information. I admire your sense of fairness!

MissA said...

I agree, we do need to spotlight the positive. I'm going to start mentioning the publisher of the book I review (and go back and update my old reviews) than I want to see what is the most diverse publishing. I think it's going to be Random House, Harper Collins or Simon & Schuster.

I love the cover of Sweet, Hereafter and it is the final book in a triology (I need to read the first two!) And I really enjoyed Perfect Shot, I'd recommend it to all :)

N.H. Senzai said...

I have loved working with my editor and the uber talented team and S&S -- they've made the road to publishing SHOOTING KABUL an amazing experience!
NH Senzai

April (BooksandWine) said...

I really need to pick up a copy of Shine Coconut Moon, it sounds fantastic.

I really like the cover of the Rock and the River.

And ahh Sweet, Hereafter looks great too!

I cannot wait to blow some cashola on new books!

Colleen said...

April - "Shine, Coconut Moon" is really good; I enjoyed it a lot. (It's in my upcoming Feb column at Bookslut.)

I do wish publishers would get away from the dang headless models though...why do they keep doing this?

Great post Doret!

Charlotte said...

I will dutifully look for Olivion!

Charlotte said...

Ok, I've requested the first one!

Kate Coombs said...

What a great list! Thanks, Doret!

Debbie Rigaud said...

Thanks, Doret, for your continued support. Much appreciated.
p.s. Passing on your list to my S&S editor!

Kaethe said...

While we're giving Simon and Schuster some love, I'd like to mention The Cronus Chronicles, which feature the male character of color, Zee, on the paperbacks. Zee is one of the two main protagonists, and according to the author, S & S never had any sort of issue and were always very supportive of her choice. I like this series much more than the Percy Jackson books, which are also about Greek gods, in part because Zee isn't relegated to a sort of magical negro role, although his heritage isn't a big deal, either.