Oh, and there is a rant, too. Won’t be long I promise, but I need to get it off my chest.

Hi. 🙂

I was reflecting about the news this morning, and how they can put you down before you even start the day: deadly flood (again), oil spill worsening, an inspiring Nobel Peace Prize giant tragically losing his great-granddaughter… And the list can go on. Then, I thought of the wonderful children’s writers & illustrators community, and hope kicked back in. Let me quickly recap about what can be done:

o Writers unite to help flood victims in Nashville is wrapping up business soon. You can place an order for the last items, t-shirts, through this Sunday. It will make a difference!

o Here you can donate to the National Wildlife Federation, to help save as much animals as possible endangered by the oil spill. I thank the Story Siren for sharing the link on her blog.

o As for President Mandela and his family, prayers can’t hurt…

Yesterday I read a post that I really liked about Gay Pride, in which writer Andrew J. Peters shares a little bit about Europe and his personal experience. That reminded me of the LGBT challenge. Hopefully I can catch up this summer.

The rant: the following made me furious yesterday, an article about the state of Arizona shutting down Ethnic Studies classes, forbidding public schools to teach them. The information first came out in May 12, 2010. It resurfaced again recently since the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) requested more information on the reasons behind the ban.

It aggravates me because it is not an isolated matter. The Ethnic Studies department in my school is in danger of being terminated as well, due to “budget cuts.” My anger relates to where the cut is being made when a country and its states are in financial turmoil: EDUCATION seems to ALWAYS take the hit, and I find this unacceptable, especially considering that the cost of education (for the state and the country in general) is not the source of the problem. It seems to me that the future of an entire generation (our children, younger siblings) is being sold off. It is setting everybody up for failure and more problems to come.

The people -decision makers- not realizing the importance of diverse teaching styles, as well as teaching and talks about cultural diversity in the classroom need to read the Harvard Educational Review of Winter 2009, titled Consejos, (meaning “words of wisdom” in Spanish) and focused on the undergraduate experience of Latina/o students in the U.S. I received it from the MultiCultural Review, and its content pertains not only to the Hispanic community, but to any culture represented in a school campus.

In February an event labeled Compton Cookout erupted at UC San Diego, prompting the officials in several campuses to hold emergency classes for faculty and students, promoting cultural diversity and understanding. Incidents like that one should be taken into consideration before dismissing cultural topics from schools’ curricula, in my opinion.

Moving on to more enthusiastic, great news.

I read the interview of Terra Elan McVoy, author of Pure at Doret’s Happy Nappy Bookseller blog. I think you’ll like it, too. Purity rings, its topic, got my attention.

Author Jessica Leader interview (by Ari at Reading in Color), who is having a huge giveaway for her book Nice and Mean made me pause. She shares the feedback she got from some of her beta readers, whose culture is depicted in the book. Some of the themes of the book remind me a little bit of the Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri.

Congratulations to Heidi R. Kling for the launch of her debut novel Sea, set in Indonesia! Her book tour includes the degustation of Indonesian food at some location(s). Yum! You will hear more about the book in the future, in this blog, but I can already give you the following keywords: a mother who possibly disappeared in the Indian Ocean leaving a daughter behind; a psychiatrist dad, Tsunami orphaned children, and a possible romance.

Kuddos to PoC Reading Challlenge for compiling a list of Multicultural Literary Awards. If you know of any that didn’t make it into the list, please head over to contribute! 🙂

What about the Elephant, you ask? Well, just in case you missed it, bookseller and author Elizabeth Bluemle wrote a fantastic, analytic and much needed article about cultural diversity in children’s literature, for Publishers Weekly’s blog. It is titled the Elephant in the Room. Elizabeth Bluemle calls out publishers while providing suggestions to improve the lack of cultural diversity in the kid lit landscape. Understanding how important and how much of a deal breaker her missive is, would you, pleaaaaaaaase, spread the word (and possibly watch history being made)? Thank you.

Are you still there? This was quite a long post. Guess I set you up for the whole weekend. 😀
To leave you on an additional mood cheering note, enjoy the following video, which is the audition of a group called Future Funk, for America’s Got Talent. These kids are amazing, aren’t they?

Edited @ 5:33 PM. Chasing typos. A pass-time.

10 thoughts on “In Case You Missed It: Gay Pride, Elephant, Awards List & Funk!

  1. Thanks for the plug Nathalie. I love your politics and your spreading the word about how the writing community can get involved.


  2. I’ve been seeing Sea all over the blogosphere. I cannot wait to read it.

    I read about Pure on Goodreads and added it to my wish list–looks good.

    I am sorry for Nelson Mandela’s loss.


  3. Pure is a good read. It deals with issues in a ‘nice’ way but really makes you think about commitment and integrity.
    The AZ thing is interesting. I did a little more digging and found that The new law threatens to withhold 10 percent of state funding from any school district or charter school that offers classes that are designed for one particular group, “advocate ethnic solidarity,” “promote resentment of a race or class of people,” or “promote the overthrow of the United States government.” I guess the law is really aimed at Mexican Studies programs in Tuscon and the Supt. there says his program is in full compliance with the law and will continue. Think about it: Mexican studies classes are NOT meant just for Mexicans!
    “Arizona’s superintendent of public instruction Tom Horne sees the law as a victory in a two-year quest against classes in Tucson schools that he believes cause Latino students to resent whites.” (sources: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Education/2010/0513/After-immigration-crackdown-Arizona-targets-ethnic-studies) Like this entire issue won’t build resentment!
    This is just one more incident that needs to build solidarity with POC because it affects programs for all ethnicities!


    1. Medeia, Edi,

      I can’t stay long online (busy, busy weekend), but wanted to say thanks for the insight you shared. Edi, thank you for the article and the additional information. I think this is such an important topic. I am wondering about languages classes, too. Mandarin classes are NOT only intended for Chinese of Taiwanese, though in my area they (students) might represent the majority in the class, because several were born in America but are not necessarily fluent in Mandarin. In these classes we learn more than the language, we learn about the culture as well. The ethnic literature class I once took was very diverse population wise. My West African anthropology class was filled of people of all descends, not just Blacks.

      Are these classes next to receive the ax? Obviously no. Ethnic Studies classes are needed, too.

      Will be back! Thanks for that conversation. 🙂


  4. Nathalie,

    A few generous writers from the class of 2011 (with books coming out then) have risen to the call. They are providing a FREE online conference complete with professional support. Registration starts July 1 http://www.WriteOnCon.com.

    This was really great of them. It’s a wonderful opportunity for writers to develop our craft. I hope many will take advantage of it. The authors say they have space for 10,000 participants.


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