You probably saw this one coming … by participating in Lee Wind’s and MotherReader’s Comment Challenge, I had already hedged on the resolution “I will not participate in challenges in 2010.” Well, now the other shoe has dropped. I have signed on for the People of Color Reading Challenge.
Do I need to join a challenge to broaden my reading and be more thoughtful in the selections I make? No, and you probably don’t either. But like you, I AM part of a community … an online community that draws attention to books by talking about them, and as a walking, talking resident of Charlottesville, VA.
Although I have not commented on the recent series of cover controversies, I have followed the discussions (link to Colleen Mondor/Chasing Ray). If you have not read the various posts, you need to. Whether you agree with the method or strategy, they are passionate, eloquent, thoughtful, and share views with respect for each other’s positions. You will walk away thinking not only about your own approach to books, but with the eyes of readers of color.
If we want kids to be lifelong readers, then we need to connect them with books that resonate with them … where they are, who they are, and how they see themselves. For me, it is not just about changing book covers, adding more display space, and/or buying/boycotting publishers. It is about modeling a reading life. If we want them to read broadly, then WE need to read broadly. If we want them to be citizens of the global community, then WE need to read books that represent that community AND guide them there. If don’t read things that look/sound/feel interesting to them, then how can we ever hope to create that magic spark we feel every time we pick up a book? [stepping off soapbox]
I have joined the People of Color Reading Challenge. I have officially signed up for 7 to 9 books, but I am going to shoot for 15. If you’re looking for ideas on books to select, then…
- head over to the POC Reading Challenge blog. In the upper left corner is a box that has the link-up pages for each month. You can see what people are reading. Right above that is also an extensive list of authors and books by People of Color.
- visit Diversity Your Reading. On the right side, there are Category lists of authors by region of origin.
- check out the books folks read in 2009 as part of Ali’s Diversity Rocks Book Challenge.
- ask your librarian!
If you aren’t able to participate in the challenge, that’s Okay. I would encourage you to add these two blogs to your reader so you can regularly visit some of the bloggers who are writing about diverse books, add books of interest to your TBR pile, then write a post about these new books you want to read!