Saturday, March 28, 2015

#StoryGirls Run This World: Complete March 2015 Booklist Celebrating Diverse Girlhoods

It's been an amazing month for celebrating #StoryGirls over on Twitter! Just in case you missed any of my daily Tweets from @Ebonyteach, here's the complete list:

Monday, March 2, 2015

Unstoppable #StoryGirls: A Women's History Month Interview with Sharon G. Flake

Thank you for signal boosting my February 2015 #AARI15 picks! I hope that many of you were able to participate in NCTE's 25th anniversary Read-Ins, and spent the month savoring the wonderful world of African American children's and young adult literature for Black History Month.

To launch my March 2015 #StoryGirls hashtag, this month's featured blog post is an interview with award-winning author Sharon G. Flake. Her 2014 middle grades novel, Unstoppable Octobia May, was my first daily Twitter recommendation for March 1, and leads a month of #StoryGirls from all backgrounds and walks of life. I first met Sharon at NCTE 2004, which was the very first national educational conference I attended. It has been more than a decade since then, but I have been consistently impressed by Sharon's talent for capturing authentic voices of young people, as well as her sincerity and commitment to authentically representing their lives.

Sharon G. Flake exploded onto the literary scene with her novel The Skin I'm In in 1998, and was named a Publishers Weekly Flying Start. Since then she has become a multiple Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award winner and has been hailed as the voice of middle-grade youth as well as a Rising Star by The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books. Many of Sharon’s novels have received ALA Notable and Best Books for Young Adults citations from the American Library Association. Her writing has been applauded for its on-point narrative that explores issues affecting teens from all walks of life. She currently lives in Pittsburgh. Please visit Sharon’s website:

Sharon is a phenomenal woman, and her accomplishments tell the tale. From Maleeka in The Skin I'm In, to all the many different portraits of girls' lives in the anthology Who Am I Without Him?, and on to Autumn in Pinned and Octobia May in The Unstoppable Octobia May, Sharon has a long bibliography of girls who rock. Late last month, she was gracious enough to respond to a few interview questions.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Diversifying the Metaphors We Read By: Why I’m Participating in the 2015 National African American Read-In

In the six months since I last updated this blog, my microphone has gotten a tiny bit larger. Thanks to a few journalists interviewing me about the landscape of today’s children’s and young adult literature, and being invited to write occasional children's book reviews and op-eds, my words are reaching an audience far wider than I could have imagined just one year ago.

Thank you for sharing my initial research and ideas-in-progress with your friends, and thank you for sharing and attributing my ideas more broadly to the general public. As I complete my initial work on The Dark Fantastic this year, I hope to continue to grow this site as a resource useful for anyone interested in theorizing, researching, and critiquing diversity in speculative fiction and media. Please watch this space for a redesign that will be easier on the eyes soon.

This was a post that I intended to write in September 2014, but life being what it is, have only just been able to edit and finish today. The serendipity of finding the critic’s path means that I now have a special interest in promoting the work of diverse children’s and young adult authors, illustrators, screenwriters, and filmmakers. That serendipity has led me to look beyond my individual perspectives and lived experiences to the larger culture.

Here's why I think we need to diversify the metaphors we use to read the word and the world (Freire & Macedo)... and why my next step will be to participate in the 25th Annual National African American Read-In, sponsored by NCTE's Black Caucus, during February 2015.