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Field Trip Friday: April 11, 2014


Lots of talk about diversity in kidlit: Ashley Strickland at CNN put together a solid article about representation and lack thereof in YA. The comments, however, are a cesspool, and Justina Ireland breaks down some of their arguments with a simple metaphor: "Let’s cut the bullshit and add some variety to the menu." Simon & Schuster editor Zareen Jaffery did a two-part interview about diversity in publishing, and answered questions in the (non-cesspool) comments.*

Kelly Jensen interviewed Laurie Halse Anderson about the 15th anniversary of Speak as well as gender issues in the book world, while VIDA posted a count of gender parity in children's literature, and found "being male still seems to carry some particular advantages when it comes to recognition, prestige, and awards for literary merit." Caroline Carlson made the case for considering whether authors on a panel "will represent a wide, diverse range of backgrounds and viewpoints."

Meanwhile, the homogeneous appearance of BEA's BookCon panel headliners was not met with enthusiasm. After a flurry of discussion on Twitter, Sarah McCarry summarized her arguments with some basic advice for white folks in the industry, and Kate Messner said, "When we gush over writers because they are men, when we say, 'He’s just adorable!' what publishers hear is 'Send us your men. We will buy their books.'

*I was able to read part of this link on my phone, but it's not showing up correctly on my PC. However my computer is a piece and my phone is old. So YMMV.


- "Email and twitter and blogs and Facebook and tumblr do not paint an accurate portrait of life. I am not sitting on my computer all day, available to communicate with you." Shannon Hale explains why authors can't reply to everything.

- On the day of her debut, Brandy Colbert shares five things she learned writing Pointe.

- Christa Desir makes an argument for letting kids approach risk through books, and Lauren Myracle says banning books robs kids of chances to be critical thinkers -- in part because their parents may not have mastered it.

- The Atlantic wonders if the rarity of spouses like Vladimir Nabokov's wife Vera is hindering gender parity in literature.

- If you're naming characters, make note: 36% of US boys' names end in "n."


- Bustle says we need more female friendships in YA, with 8 examples of successful portrayals.

- Joseph Bruchac shares a conversation with a reader about why he doesn't "look like an Indian" (and what you're supposed to call him).

- Katherine Locke examines why we're so uncomfortable with angry female characters.

- Rumor has it Mae Whitman will star in the screen adaptation of former Highwayer Kody Keplinger's The DUFF!

- Dr. Maya Angelou had to cancel her appearance at my local library and her apology is the most eloquent cancellation letter ever.

- National Book Award winner Peter Matthiessen passed away this week at the age of 86.


- Gemma Cooper describes what interested foreign publishers at this year's Bologna Book Fair.

- Nathan Bransford lists 8 ways to tell if you have a good agent, while Janet Reid explains why there appears to be an increase in agents "going off the rails."

- Can you submit your next manuscript on proposal? Suzie Townsend has the answers.

- Erin Bowman tells you which marketing and promo materials actually work.

- The League of Assistant Editors is hosting a Dealmakers evening for agents and editors in YA/Kidlit.


- Go change all your passwords. For real.

- College administrators are seeing an increase in students going hungry. (via Margie Alsbrook)

- Why, Twitter. Why do you insist on trying to look more like Facebook.

- Syreeta McFadden explains photography's inherited bias against dark skin(via Sajidah)

-  This week in "people are the worst": Lawyers are fighting against the placement of a 16-year-old "female transgender youth" in a correctional facility for men up to age 20; a middle-aged white man felt the need to spit on a Muslim teen while riding a MTA bus in Queens; a 16-year-old Pennsylvania student went on a stabbing rampage in his school hallway, injuring more than 20 people.

- This week in "maybe there's hope":


- Not sure how to describe these "Emoji Paintings" by Nastya Ptichek, so just go look at them.

- The One-Star Book Reviews tumblr features some gems such as “Even if you read this book 500 times, it has always the same plot line,” “Mr. Beowulf should be required to repeat his nighttime writer’s class at the learning annex,” and “Advice to Amelia Bedelia: Stop taking everything so G.d. literally.” (via Victoria Marini)

- Mallory Ortberg strikes again with "Dirtbag Little Women."

- "Bookstore cats are are one of many reasons why independent bookstores are superior to chains like Barnes and Noble; even if they don’t have cats, they have cat potential."

- And in case you missed it after nine bazillion FB shares:

Kate Hart

Kate is the author of After the Fall, coming January 24, 2017 from Farrar, Straus and Giroux. A former teacher and grant writer, she now owns a treehouse-building business in the Ozarks and hosts the Badass Ladies You Should Know interview series.

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Item Reviewed: Field Trip Friday: April 11, 2014 Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Kate Hart