Kid Lit and Japan Relief Efforts Update

Okay, last blog of the day:

Please check the updated post on Relief Efforts for Japan. Several children’s book writers are organizing efforts to help the victims of the earthquake and Tsunami that hit Japan and its surrounding areas. Heidi R. Kling is one of them, setting up an operation SEA4TsunamiVictims.

About SEA: SEA is a novel written by Heidi R. Kling, published in June 2010, which takes place in the aftermath of the tsunami that hit Indonesia in 2004. You can only imagine the amount of messages and cries of distress author Heidi R. Kling has received since the latest catastrophe in Japan.

Heidi is donating 20% “of any new purchase of Sea, whether it be via Independent bookstore, Amazon, Nook, Kindle, discount stores, used online, or from me*, anywhere they sell books— to Doctors Without Borders.” Read her post on the topic here.

Please, tell me if you know of any kid lit initiative, and consider spreading the word.



In Case You Missed It: Gay Pride, Elephant, Awards List & Funk!

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.