A Year of Reading Diversely

For 2015 I had a few goals:
Read consciously.
Actively pursue reading diversely.
Read diversely.
Read work by diverse authors, across a diverse spectrum. This included reading books I didn’t want to read (more on this later).
Read a lot.
When I’m writing a lot, reading feels distracting. Too bad, I told myself. I wanted to know more about what was being published.
Listen up.
Listen diversely to what books are being talked about on Twitter

Here are the results:
• I read more than 40 kidlit books. How many exactly, I’m not sure—I didn’t track picture books and early readers. I counted 37 MG and YA books, but since I noticed as I wrote this that I left off Kwame Alexander’s The Crossover, I probably left off a few others as well.

Of the 37:
o 15 were by writers of color/minority writers
o Make that 16 of 38 (just realized I left off Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese)
o 20 were by women
o 10 were by Latinx writers
o 5 were books that actively repelled me, either by subject matter (i.e., romance) or cover art. Interestingly, I liked them all.
o 4 were by Black writers
o 2 were by Native American writers
o 3 were by people who have publically self-identified as QUILTBAG (there may be more, I’m just not sure)
o 4 had QUILTBAG main characters
o 20 had main characters of color
o 26 had diverse secondary characters (I don’t count characters where 3/4 of the way through you discover that their last name is Martinez or Chen, etc.)

15 books had no minority characters at all.
This includes about 6 books I acquired on my three trips to the UK. I wanted to read UK writers; sadly, none of their books had diverse characters.

As far as diverse reading, mission (mostly) accomplished, but looking at how relatively few books I read by Black and non-cis-gendered writers, I don’t feel complacent. I need to consciously search out books by non-Latino minority writers–and given the news that there are no Black authors among something like 176 writers in the 2016 YA debut class, I feel more strongly than ever we have to shop in a way that supports WOC.

My 2016 Reading Goals

• Read 50 YA and MG books
• Read more by non-cis-gendered women
• Read more by Black writers
• Read more debuts
• Read more by writers I don’t know
• Read books by people I read annd admire on Twitter: Justina Ireland, Annie Cardi, Hannah Moskowitz, Daliah Adler, Tristina Wright, Zetta Elliott
• Look for intersectionality

What are your 2016 reading goals?

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