What I Can Do

Posted by on Nov 16, 2016 in Children's Literature, Race, Writing Process | 0 comments

Around the Neighborhood

I love the art for this book–it’s warm and clever and bright and joyful and energetic. But oh, I do wish that the mom and baby were not both pink.

I don’t usually do politics on this blog (I’ve got Facebook for that!) but, like a lot of us, I’m dismayed, to put it mildly, by the election and the rhetoric swirling around us. And I’m thinking about what I can do. This is not all I have planned, but for the record:

  • I’m not going to write a book with only white characters ever again. I’m sorry for the times that I have. I’m sorry for the times that I thought I’d write a more inclusive, more representative, more accurate book “later,” after I got this or that particular idea finished. It’s later. I’m on it.
  • I’m going to ask my illustrators not to paint/draw/pixelate only white characters. There is a touchy etiquette dance between authors of picture books and their illustrators, and we word people have to be careful not to tell the picture people how to do their work. I’ve erred on the side of being too polite here. I’m not going to do that anymore.
  • There will be gay characters in my books. There will be gay parents who are trying to do right by their kids. There will be gay boys kissing their sweet boyfriends, lesbian girls kissing their adorable girlfriends.
  • There will be immigrant characters in my books who are trying hard to adapt to a new place and a new language and to the loss of a homeland and who are not taking anything away from anybody else just by existing.
  •  I will try my hardest to make every book that I write an exercise in empathy, in getting into another person’s mind and heart. Because I’m pretty darn sure that’s the only thing that’s going to save us.

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