Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Thanksblogging II: I'm thankful for progress.

This isn't to say that old stuff isn't good stuff, because quite a lot of it is. But I'm thankful for many important changes, and I'm thankful when the children's literature world recognizes and takes part in them.

I was reminded of this reason to Thanksblog by the announcement this week that ALA is adding the Stonewall Children's and Young Adult Literature Award to its Youth Media Awards. ALA says the award will honor "English-language works for children and teens of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered experience." (Thanks, Shelf Awareness.)

The award joins the ranks of the Coretta Scott King Award, the Pura Belpre Award, the Schneider Family Book Award, and others in honoring good books that don't pretend this is completely a straight, white, typically abled world. When that happens so naturally that it doesn't stand out, that'll be a good thing, and to some degree, it has been happening for a while. There's not much focus on Lisa's race in Corduroy, but it's there. There's little ink spent on the sexuality of Gianna's briefly appearing neighbors in The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z, but it's there. Just like it is in the world.

But we sure need more books that highlight the fact that it's not an all-white, all-straight, all-typically abled world, both for the kids who already know that and for the ones who don't. I'm thankful we have the ones we have, and I'm thankful we're honoring them and giving them a place on the Award Winners shelf, where it's easy to find them.

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