If you already know what Color Me Brown links are, skip this part and get to sharing and commenting! If you are new hold on a sec. Color Me Brown (CMB) links are ones relating to race, literature, class and gender. Sometimes all of the above. Usually they are are about race and/or gender but almost always literary-based. I love compiling the links and getting to shine a light on posts that I think are fantastic or new ones that others share with me.
Sylvia at What If Books talks about the prevalence of racism in speculative fiction.
I've heard the argument that speculative fiction addresses the problems of racism because it often explores issues of xenophobia, bigotry, segregation, et cetera with humans vs. elves, aliens or mutants. And I think that's great! That's what speculative fiction is all about, exploring the human condition by examining it through a different lens. But I have to wonder, why is it usually white humans vs. elves, aliens and mutants? Where are the humans of color interacting with those elves? Are we to assume that the hairy monster is a person of color? Or that the default skin color for a hero is pale? If POC even exist, they are sidekicks, villains, spear-carriers. They are not the heroes. They don't get the limelight or the screen time. How can one say that these stories address racism when POC simply don't exist, or are restricted to the token sidekick? Addressing xenophobia is not the same as addressing racism; it's even worse because it ignores the problems of real life POC.
Mitali Perkins highlights 3 Border-Crossing YA/MG books
In a poignant, funny, and unforgettable middle-grade novel called Inside Out and Back Again (HarperCollins, March 2011), Thanhha Lai remembers how her family escaped Vietnam before the fall of Saigon. American and Vietnamese characters alike leap to life through the voice and eyes of a ten-year-old girl—a protagonist so strong, loving, and vivid I longed to hand her a wedge of freshly cut papaya. This tenderly told tale transports readers to the time immediately after the Vietnam War and sheds light on the life of young people displaced by war.
Charlotte honors the women of the Ivory Coast
I had a light hearted post in mind for this evening in honor of International Women's Day, which is today....but then I read the news.
Last Thursday, in the Ivory Coast, thousands of women marched peacefully to protest the dictatorship that has clamped down on their country. They were met by the army, and were fired at. Seven women were killed.
From the Associated Press article I read: "The brutal slayings last week occurred when soldiers in armored personnel carriers opened fire on a crowd of female demonstrators who were armed with nothing more than tree branches, symbolizing peace."
Since then, fear of the army has kept the women from marching again, until today. Today, International Women's Day, they took to the streets again, knowing that they would be facing the guns that had fired on them last week.
A review of Jazz in Love at Amaterasu Reads
This book is a thoroughly delightful mix of a unique culture, teenage angst, humor and romance. You want a real protagonist with real life problems? Jazz is here. It can't get anymore real than what Jazz went through in this book.
For once I am glad I am brought up the way my parents did. They're strict most of the time, but as I grow up, I learned that whatever they were doing is for my own good. Jazz learned that lesson the hard way. She's a member of the advance program in her school, bullied because of her intelligence when she was younger, and along with the impeccable school record comes the expectation for her to be the perfect Indian daughter as well, which she is so not.
I guess when you knew what it feels like to have total freedom, you'll probably want to feel it all the time. The restriction Jazz feels and experiences comes from her very own culture, deeply rooted in her family's ways and tradition and its not something bad.
28 Days Later has ended but since I haven't linked to all the interviews yet you will see them for quite some time! Check out this interview over at The Brown Bookshelf with Jewell Parker Rhodes
You’re an award-winning author of novels for adults. On your website, you share that writing a children’s book is a dream come true for you. Why?
My childhood was difficult. Books and my Grandmother’s “porch stories” stirred my imagination and kept my spirit alive. I always wanted to write a story that perhaps, one day, would inspire a child when they needed it most.
You wrote your first children’s book at eight years old. Here’s what you say about it on your website: “It was a very thin book, bound in yellow construction paper, and illustrated by me!” How did that early experience put you on the path to publication?
My teacher brilliantly arranged for me to read my story, “The Last Scream,” to my elementary school classmates. It was an amazing experience to see, feel, and hear my classmates’ responses. I had always valued the connection and communication I felt with books and with different authors, but reading to my classmates, I felt the power of my own storytelling.
As much as I try to be everywhere at once, I'm sure I missed some great links. Share them in the comments!