COLOR ONLINE: Celebrating Women Writers Who Make History ~ Doret’s Models (The Happy Nappy Bookseller)

Bonjour!

Re: Last week’s post: “I’m sure most of you are familiar with the fabulous website COLOR ONLINE, a blog that “focuses on women writers of color for adults YA and children,” that is dedicated to empowering young women and children. If not, make sure to click and read away. Color Online regularly features interviews, book reviews, giveaways and essays on literacy and on various cultural issues. It was founded by LaTonya Baldwin, who is also at the origin of Readers Against WhiteWashing (RAWW).

Color Online is maintained by LaTonya and a community of women bloggers that include Doret (The Happy Nappy Bookseller), Tarie (Asia in the Heart, World on the Mind), Ari (Reading in Color), Vasilly (1330V), Ah Yuan (Gal Novelty), Terri (BrownGirl Speaks), and me (though I don’t contribute as regularly as I’d love to, yet).

To celebrate Women’s History Month, it was only natural to highlight Color Online’s work. And what better way to do so than to pick the brain of some of my colleagues? So I asked:
Tell me about a woman writer who made history, whose life inspire you, and/or whom you consider a role model.

On her blog The Happy Nappy Bookseller, Doret offers us the invaluable insight of a bookseller through her books reviews, interviews and essays. Doret, I can’t thank you enough for your help in celebrating women writers this month throughout the blogosphere, and I was particularly excited to read your guest post on Kidlit Celebrates Women’s History Month, titled Women of Color Make their Presence Known.

Here’s Doret’s answer:
“When Nathalie, asked all the other Color Online contributors if we would do a guest post at Multiculturalism Rocks for Women’s History Month, we all said yes. However, when I saw the question, I was very close to saying, “sorry Nathalie I can’t do it.” I am moved by and love many female authors. Black female authors will always hold a special place in my reader’s heart. I will always read them; as much as their writing changes over the years, the core remains the same. It’s the core element that I will forever be connected to.

As much as I love these stories and the women who write them, I am not moved to be more than I am. With that in mind I couldn’t answer this question, yet I felt awful because it was such an easy one. We need people to inspire us and I had no idea who inspired me. When that revelation hit me, it broke my heart a bit. I, too, need an Oprah. Then I remembered, I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America, by Brian Lanker, and all was well again. The book profiles 75 Black Women who made a difference in their various fields.

Right now I have the book open to Jean Blackwell Hutson‘s page. For 32 years, Hutson guided the development of the Schomburg Center for Research for Black Culture. If you are unfamiliar with the Schomburg its a must see library in Harlem, N.Y.

Now I have the book open to Leontine T. C. Kelly‘s page, the first Black woman bishop of a major religious denomination in the United States.

There was a time when I would flip through I Dream a World, and read these different stories and be inspired to do more. In some ways it was my devotional. Don’t get me wrong, I never put these women up on a pedestal and I doubt they’d want that, but there was a time when I would picture myself doing something half as good. With everything up in the air for me right now, I’m ready to go back to these woman for a little much needed strength.”

Wow, Doret! I found out that my library carries that book; a big thank you for recommending it. I wish you to get all the strength you need and more.

COLOR ONLINE: Celebrating Women Writers Who Make History ~ Ari’s Model (Reading in Color)

Bonjour!

Re: Last week’s post: “I’m sure most of you are familiar with the fabulous website COLOR ONLINE, a blog that “focuses on women writers of color for adults YA and children,” that is dedicated to empowering young women and children. If not, make sure to click and read away. Color Online regularly features interviews, book reviews, giveaways and essays on literacy and on various cultural issues. It was founded by LaTonya Baldwin, who is also at the origin of Readers Against WhiteWashing (RAWW).

Color Online is maintained by LaTonya and a community of women bloggers that include Doret (The Happy Nappy Bookseller), Tarie (Asia in the Heart, World on the Mind), Ari (Reading in Color), Vasilly (1330V), Ah Yuan (Gal Novelty), Terri (BrownGirl Speaks), and me (though I don’t contribute as regularly as I’d love to, yet).

To celebrate Women’s History Month, it was only natural to highlight Color Online’s work. And what better way to do so than to pick the brain of some of my colleagues? So I asked:
Tell me about a woman writer who made history, whose life inspire you, and/or whom you consider a role model.

A huge, BIG thank you for Ari‘s (Reading in Color) contribution this week. Dear Miss Attitude, I definitely owe you one! I know you’re busy (making history at Reading in Color, Color Online and to all the places your passion takes you to), so I sincerely appreciate you taking the time for this post. Here’s Ari’s response:

“Toni, Toni, Toni!

A woman writer who inspired me is Toni Morrison, the first Black woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature. I know, I know, how cliché. It’s not even her books that really inspired me. I’ve only read two of them, The Bluest Eye and Sula. Reading both of those books was like watching a train about to collide with something, the stories were so intense, the stories so heart wrenching that I felt suffocated, holding my breath. Anxiously hoping to read that everything turned out fine in the end or haha it was just a dream. Yet, that’s not Toni Morrison’s style. She writes about the most depressing situations but her characters are always young and resilient. They refuse to be broken, they might get damaged in the process of coming-of-age and/or finding themselves but they are never ruined and there is always the faintest glimmer of hope struggling to break through the darkness of the book.

In The Bluest Eye the schoolchildren and Pecola’s father are so cruel; I literally choked on the angry words threatening to leave my mouth. Toni Morrison’s works never fail to produce a visceral reaction in me. It never ceases to amaze me at how her main characters remain friends.

In Sula, Nel and Sula remain friends. They are complete opposites, they hurt each other deeply but there’s something at the root of their friendship that won’t let them sever ties.

The most important influence Toni Morrison has had on my life though is by pushing me to start a blog. One of my all-time favorite quotes is “If there’s a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” I really wanted to find a blog that featured YA/MG multicultural literature. I found a few, but none written from a teenage perspective; thus, Toni Morrison’s quote is the one that really pushed me to go for it (about 1.5 years ago), to start a blog that spotlighted multicultural literature. Now here I am, Reading in Color has done fairly well in the book blog world and while I don’t have the patience to be a writer/aspiring author, I apply Toni Morrison’s quote to everything in my life that I want to change.

Want to increase the diversity selections in libraries that could use some tender loving care? Start your own project (C.O.L.O.R.).

Want to find a list of all the YA books published about Latinos in the 21st century? Create one. So one and so forth.

Toni Morrison’s quote pushes me to be a go-getter because I’m the only one who can make my dreams/goals come true (as cheesy as that sounds). I need to re-read The Bluest Eye and I also intend to read Jazz as soon as I can.

And listen to some Tony, Toni, Tone ;)”

Thanks, Ari!
Dear readers, are you inspired yet? 🙂

Side note: Relief Efforts for Japan post has been updated.