This time we venture further afield in our round-up of news and views pertaining to children’s and YA fiction for a glimpse of what’s happening in other corners of the world. And what better way to kick-off than with the Guardian’s list of the best kiddy and teen fiction for August? Though it’s unlikely that most (all?) of these books will be available to us just yet, it’s never too early to add to one’s to-read list.
Still with the Guardian, Alison Flood writes about a recent study in the UK that shows some trends best described as dire: “Despite a raft of diversity initiatives, the percentage of young adult books written by black and minority ethnic (BME) authors has declined steadily since 2010.” Read the original paper in Publishing Research Quarterly, which took into account 8,500 books published over a decade in the UK. Studies from the US show similar disturbing trends.
These days borders and belonging are hot topics. Refugees and immigrants are being oppressed and vilified in different parts of the world, in different contexts, while vested political interests paint a very different picture in the media. Yet, historically speaking, both immigrants and refugees have been beneficial to the economic, social and cultural fabric of the countries they have decided, or even been compelled, to call home. Maria Burel on Barnes and Noble’s children’s blog compiles a list of books that narrate heart-warming stories of refugees and immigrants’ journeys for middle-grade readers.
To sign off, here’s something a little less dark: The Children’s Book Podcast, hosted by the elementary school librarian Matthew Winner. The episodes feature interviews with authors, illustrators and others involved in creating children’s books. Winner is also a co-founder of All the Wonders, “a collective of working writers, podcasters, filmmakers, and visual artists who feel that great books deserve a life beyond the shelf.” What a lovely idea.