Children's blogger, Betsy Bird of Fuse #8 Production, over at School Library Journal recently announced a new poll. The Top 100 Children's Fictional Chapter Books.
Everyone has until January 31, send along there 10 top middle grade choices of all time. When I saw the announcement, I knew that the majority of my selections would feature kids of color. I would be to able to vote for Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth , Paterson's Bridge to Terabithia, Konigsurg's The View from Saturday or any number of middle grade novels with White protagonists that I love and deserve to be on the list. But I can't. With my picks I am striving for a little color balance. I don't feel bad or guilty about the way I will vote. I love color in fiction but I am not blinded by it. I don't lower my standards or exceptions simply because a book has characters of color.
I haven't sent my 10 top middle grade choices yet. Haven't even written them down. They're still floating around in my head. Though I am happy they're there because I can remember what I loved about them and why they're deserving of my vote. If you think what I am doing isn't necessary then take a look at the results of last year's 100 Picture Book Poll results. I recommend more then a few of those titles on a regular basis at the bookstore where I work. It's a great list of titles but its also noticeably lacking in color.
I can't complain about last year's results since I didn't vote or take the time to ask others to remember color when choosing their favorite picture books. I am asking now - if you are taking part in the poll, please consider coloring it up. Please take a moment to think about middle grade novels with characters of color like Flake's Money Hungry, Garcia's I Wanna Be Your Shoebox
or Lin's The Year of the Dog.
Great post! Thank you for bringing my attention to this. I'm off to go vote and color it up :) I don't feel guilty either because I'm confident that the Bridge to Terabithia, the Phantom Tollbooth, etc. will make the list. But will books about poc? Probably not, they need our votes.
funny, i just finally watched the Bridge to Terabithia movie. Absolutely loved that book growing up.
Yes yes, please! Everyone should color it up as much as possible. The Top 100 Picture Book poll I did was fun, but white. I don't want the same thing to happen with this poll. Consider color!
Wonderful call to action! Going for a list that represents all kinds--and colors--of excellence in children's books is an exciting prospect.
Thanks for the reminder, especially for Grace Lin's books, they are the near perfect middle grade novels and definitely deserve wider recognition.
But The View from Saturday has Julian Singh, right?
Last day. Did you vote?
Please say yes.
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