The Diversity in YA Fiction website was founded by authors Malinda Lo and Cindy Pon, to celebrate diverse stories in YA fiction. An exciting spin-off from the website, the Diversity in YA Fiction Tour is set to take place May 7 – 14 across the USA and will feature 25 authors of middle-grade and young adult fiction who just happen to have written books featuring characters who are of color or LGBT.
The idea for the tour came about last summer when the children’s literature blogosphere erupted with discussions of whitewashing book covers. In her article written for School Library Journal Malinda says:
Cindy and I are both Asian Americans, and we have never been disinterested parties in this debate. Last summer, Cindy’s first novel, Silver Phoenix, was repackaged in a way that disappointed many readers because they thought it downplayed the book’s Asian elements. At the same time, I was seeing early cover concepts from my publisher for my second novel, Huntress, which is an Asian-inspired fantasy. Believe me, it was a stressful time for both of us.
From the beginning, we shared a vision for “Diversity in YA” that emphasized celebration. Yes, the number of books published about people of color is fewer than those about white people, but there is no reason to not celebrate the books that already exist. There are so many writers telling stories about unique communities and cultures, from Jacqueline Woodson, who has been writing wonderful books about African-American and queer teens for years, to newcomer Dia Reeves, who is turning YA paranormal on its head with her quirky, bloody escapades featuring multiracial teens in Texas.
Everyone is welcome to attend this celebration of diversity, where there will be the opportunity to hail favorite books and authors, as well as to discover new ones to love. Here’s the tour schedule:
New York | May 13, 2011 at 6:30 p.m.
Focus on LGBT YA with Cris Beam, David Levithan, and Jacqueline Woodson at The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center
New York | May 14, 2011 at 1 p.m.
With Matt de la Peña, Kekla Magoon, Neesha Meminger, Cindy Pon, Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, Rita Williams-Garcia, and Jacqueline Woodson, and moderated by Cheryl Klein at Books of Wonder