Some days I look up from a full day of Brown Bookshelf preparation, writing, promotion or whatever is on my plate and I wonder what possessed me to add such a detailed initiative as 28 Days Later onto my workload.
I could plead temporary insanity. But what might my Brown Bookshelf cohorts excuses be? Could it be possible that we’re all a little loopy?
Then I’ll run across something like the 2007 Librarians’ Choices , a list of 100 children’s books and it hits me, “Ohhh yeah…that’s why.”
According to Becky’s description of the program:
The goals of the project are twofold, to develop participant knowledge base about current books for children and young adults and the ability to read and write critically about these books and to use this experience to create a professional resource for others interested in choosing outstanding and intriguing books for the young people they serve.
So I reviewed the list anxiously, hoping to see some newly familiar names to me, in the way of African American authors. But I saw (with respect) the “usual suspects.”
Christopher Paul Curtis, Carole Boston Weatherford and Sharon Draper.
In fairness, Becky points out that they certainly didn’t review all books on the market. But did attempt to make the list as thorough and comprehensive as possible. And I take that on its word.
Speaking unofficially on behalf of other Black children’s writers, it’s hard not to feel invisible when lists like this are announced and only the same authors are mentioned. Especially since some of the authors included on the list are new authors – several were peers of mine in the Class of 2K7.
How are these brand new authors discovered and put in front of the committee?
Are publishers not getting African American children’s authors in front of projects like the Librarians’ Choices?
Are the books by African American children’s authors being considered but not making the final cut?
Obviously, these are rhetorical questions. And I’m neither whining or poking holes at the Librarians’ Choices list. But, it’s a reminder why The Brown Bookshelf has a long road ahead of it.
Here’s to seeing some new names join the trailblazers on lists like these in ’08 and beyond.