Ello - Hey Mindy! Thanks so much for being willing to talk about diversity. As a librarian, do you think there is enough diverse books in YA?
Mindy - They're out there! But you do have to search sometimes. Matt de la Pena writes some excellent books like Mexican White Boy and a fellow Ohioan, Sharon Draper, writes excellent books about minority teens. Angela Johnson is another example. Also the Bluford series, which is written by multiple authors and written for lower level readers is always popular. These are just examples off the top of my head, so yes, the titles are out there - you just need to grab a knowledgeable librarian ;)
Ello - How important do you feel diversity is to our youth?
Mindy - It's important. We live in a shrinking world, and while students in many rural areas live in a "white bubble," that won't always be the case. Especially my kids who are going to college, it's important for them to at least be aware of other cultures and have experienced them through reading, if they don't have any other exposure.
Ello - Do you think kids would read books with diversity if there were more of it or more prominently displayed?
Mindy - Kids go for a good cover, period. Anna Banks new title Of Poseidon is a great example of a gorgeous cover where many readers don't blink at the fact that the MC is black - I'm not sure they even notice.
We do have a wonderful non-fiction title "They Called Themselves The KKK" which has a striking cover. I had a student check it out who makes no bones about his racist leanings. When he returned it, he warned me against giving it to younger readers. He was shocked at the content, and it had an impact on him - no doubt. Unfortunately I think a lot of my male students adopt racist leanings because of their home environment, without realizing what they are embracing. That book opened his eyes about what he was promoting, and his actions have changed.
Ello - So my final question. What does diversity mean to you?
Mindy - Diversity to me isn't just about having choices and options available. Diversity is about actually celebrating the differences, not just accepting them.
Ello - Thanks Mindy for stopping by the blog! It's great to get a perspective from the "front lines!"