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Field Trip Friday: May 2, 2014

Your regular host, the lovely Kate Hart, is chillin' like a villain this Friday. Sarah Enni is posting in her place and apologizes in advance for not being as smart or witty, but assures you Kate will be back next week!


Harlequin has been sold for $455 million to News Corp, and will become a division of HarperCollins Publishers. Wow.

- If anyone doubted that we need continued conversations on diversity, they got plenty of proof this week. There's been a recent groundswell in discussion about diversity in publishing, specifically within KidLit. Because, in case you hadn't noticed, we aren't doing so hot at representation. The School Library Journal released its diversity issue. It crunched numbers and found, "It’s as if there’s some sort of unwritten rule that there can be no more than 100 books published in any given year by black authors and illustrators. That’s about three percent of the total number of books." (Though not everyone is happy with the Culturally Specific and Culturally Generic/Neutral split in SLJ's recommended diverse reads, or the list's Native representation.) As Elizabeth Burns writes, "It matters because it looks like the default setting in reading is white."

The call to diversify KidLit was in the spotlight this week thanks to the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign. You've seen the tweets, the Tumbls, the Instagrams, should join the online Twitter chat May 2 (at 2 PM ET), and tomorrow be sure to head out to your local bookstore and buy books by and featuring POC (check out some recommendations from Elana at Novel Sounds, including our own Stephanie Kuehn)! Use the hashtag and spread the word!

Some agents and and editors are also using the #DiversityWL hashtag to talk about diverse books they'd love to see in their slush piles.

Building on the momentum, S. E. Sinkhorn and Kaye M. introduced Kidlit Revolution this week, "a grand-scale project that intends to take all the words and ideas we've all been throwing around about diversity and turn them into real, tangible action."

And Bogi Takács (also known as prezzey) suggests ways people can become more informed about discussions of race and diversity, while also signal-boosting underrepresented voices.


- The brilliant Janice Hardy looks at several different ways story ideas can appear (I'm an "Ideas From Setting" girl, myself), and how to build a workable plot from there.

- Martha Alderson provides a tool for tracking character consistency across scenes.

- Stasia Ward Kehoe wants to be clear: verse novels can be about anything (and stop asking why she won't just "write normally"). She includes examples to prove it, padding our TBR.

- Junot Diaz writes in The New Yorker that he was desperate to get out of his MFA program at Cornell because "that shit was too white." (via Emily X.R. Pan)


- Mallory Ortberg at The Toast nails it with Flaws Only A Protagonist Can Have. "'Your legs are too long.' How embarrassing!!!"


(Besides that whole "Harlequin to HarperCollins thing. Still, wow.)

- Vox Day, an outspoken bigot, was nominated for a Hugo Award. John Scalzi advocated against refusing to read Vox or other works on the slate. Sunny Moraine said that writing is, and always has been, political: "If you can read something 'on its own merits' and judge it accordingly, entirely separate from its misogynist white supremacist author, bully for you, but please take a look at who you are and why you can say that."

- Steve Bramucci explains what to expect when you're expecting an offer to come any day now... aka when you're on sub.


- Weeks after they were kidnapped from a boarding school, more than 200 Nigerian girls are still missing.

- The White House is putting pressure on colleges to do more to prevent rape and sexual assault on campuses, releasing guidelines and opening a website,, to track enforcement and provide victims with information. Federal investigators released a list of 55 schools that are being examined for failing to handle reported cases of sexual abuse appropriately.

- The FCC has done a total 180 on its Open Internet rule, putting net neutrality at risk. So unless you want to pay our Verizon/Comcast overlords with your firstborn child to watch cat videos online, check out some ways to speak out for Internet equality.

- Alexandra Duncan explains why the way she feels about the word "slut" is similar to how Harry Potter feels about Voldemort, but points out that not everyone feels the same.

- A Connecticut 16-year-old stabbed to death at school might be dead because she turned her killer down when he asked her to prom.

- Elsewhere in Connecticut, another high school was brought to a complete stand-still when Yik Yak, basically an anonymous Twitter, allowed students to blast horrible rumors to the entire school. It went about as well as you'd imagine. (via Kate Spencer)

- And to round it, 60 New Jersey teens literally took a crap on their school and got arrested for it.

- Engineer, musician and writer Matt LeMay had an action item for men in tech who are having difficulty addressing the sexism in their industry: Grow the fuck up.

- The gorgeous and talented actress Anika Noni Rose (voice of Disney's first black princess, Tiana) said she laments the lack of multi-dimensional roles for diverse actors in Hollywood. "I feel I have a responsibility to tell the story of humanity, and unfortunately, the business that I'm in seems to have decided that when your skin's brown, you have one corner to play hopscotch on."

- Star Wars VII released its casting list this week, and while John Boyega is a brilliant move, many were asking: Where are the women?

- The New York Times' new wannabe FiveThirtyEight site, The Upshot, says our economy is in the crapper because boys are too fidgety. And as if that's not bad enough, dudes smell so bad they're ruining scientific experiments.

- Hey! Some actual good stuff happened: The Department of Education says Title IX applies to trans people.

- Natalie E. Illum, who has cerebral palsy, on why she will no longer apologize for her crutches, and contributes photographs to the #BeBeautiful project.


- Those searching for horror plots need look no farther than this roundup of some of the most WTF things people have ever come across at a friend's house.

- It's not "random," but I wanted to end on a more uplifting note, so have a little of Gabourey Sidibe's speech from the Gloria Awards & Gala (whole thing is definitely worth a read):
It's my good time, and my good life, despite what you think of me. I live my life, because I dare. I dare to show up when everyone else might hide their faces and hide their bodies in shame. I show up because I'm an asshole, and I want to have a good time.

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Item Reviewed: Field Trip Friday: May 2, 2014 Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Unknown