2018 Diversity Audit Resources – The Quest to Create an Own Voices Master List as an Audit Tool
Whenever I talk about doing a YA collection diversity audit (links at the end of this post), the #1 question I get asked, after how in general, is how do you know if an author is own voices or not. It’s a good question that typically takes a lot of research, even for me. I have somewhat of a basis now using my own collection and my first audit, but starting from scratch was a time consuming endeavor that had me checking and double checking lists I found online and cross checking them with my own shelf list. There are lots of good individual resources out there that focus on things like Latinx authors, or LGBTQ authors, or POC authors, but you have to find and navigate each one, which makes the task a bit more cumbersome.
This year, I want to work on creating an Own Voices master list that would help other YA librarians have some starting points for doing their own diversity audits. Some other librarians have agreed to help. Lisa Krok (@readonthebeach), Allie (@alphabeticallie) and I are working on creating a YA Own Voices Master List that we can upload to Google Docs and share with the general public. But it’s quite a task and we are working out the details. It’s a discussion in progress. In the meantime, we could really use your help.
Want to know more about Own Voices? Here’s a brief beginning.
1. Help us create the Master List by sharing resources you know about in the comments so we can add them to our list. A lot of people have done some initial work and compiled great lists, so if you know about them please place a link in the comments.
2. If you have some sort of a spreadsheet already and don’t mind sharing, please consider sending it to me via email. We will make sure that your work is acknowledged.
3. If you are an author who wants to be included, please comment below or email me.
A note about this list: Our goal is to create a tool to help YA librarians assess the make up of their collections in order to build the most inclusive collections as possible. We do not expect that this list will ever be exhaustive or all inclusive because new authors are always being announced and also, some authors may not wish to be identified. For example, we do not want to ever accidentally out an LGBTQ author who does not wish to be identified. We also want to work and make sure that we correctly identify authors in the ways they wish to be identified and respect their right not to be included if they so choose. We are choosing to focus not just on works that include diverse characters, which have value, but on focusing on and lifting up own voices authors to help ensure that we are not just lifting up diverse titles, but diverse authors because as recent research has indicated, children’s and YA publishing is still overwhelmingly white. We want our kids to not only read about characters that look like themselves, but to read about it from an author who looks like them and can remind them that not only can they read diversely, but that they too can grow up to be an author and share their words if they so choose.
We live in an increasingly diverse world, but many areas of our lives do not reflect this. Publishing is one of these areas, and we want to provide a resource to help libraries do the necessary work of making sure that they are purposefully curating inclusive collections. While organizations like We Need Diverse Books does the work on helping to diversify publishing, librarians need to do the work of making sure we are buying the books and building inclusive collections for our patrons.
Please note, for the purposes of this discussion, we are talking about books published as YA. I fully understand that teens read both down and up, but for the purposes of this project we will be looking at YA authors who have published at least 1 title published as YA/Teen.
Current Resources and Discussion
Diversity in Publishing
Cooperative Children’s Book Center: Publishing Stats on Children’s Books and Diversity
Doing a Diversity Audit
Additional Resources: Book Lists and New Releases
Diversity in YA (General)
Book Lists | Diversity in YA – www.diversityinya.com/category/book-lists/
Rich in Color | Reading & Reviewing Diverse YA Books – richincolor.com/
14 of Our Most Anticipated OwnVoices YA Books of 2018 – July through December
Asian American Protagonists
Latinxs in Kid Lit – https://latinosinkidlit.com/
Native American Representation
Some thoughts on YA lit and American Indians – American Indians in Children’s Literature/Debbie Reese
YA Pride (formerly Gay YA) : YA Pride (@YA_Pride) | Twitter
Disability in YA Lit
Religious Diversity in YA
Mental Health in YA
Socio-Economic Diversity in YA Lit
Don’t forget to check out the hasthag #OwnVoices on Twitter
Teen Reads – www.teenreads.com
Book Riot – www.bookriot.com
Barnes and Noble Teen Blog – www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/teen/
YA Interrobang – www.yainterrobang.com
YA Lit – www.yalit.com
Epic Reads – www.epicreads.com
Pop Crush – www.popcrush.com
Bustle – www.bustle.com
Adventures in YA – www.adventuresinya.com
2018 YA Books with (Possible) LGBT Themes (114 books) – Goodreads – please note the possible noted here
*with assistance from TLTer Heather Booth
Complete YA Collection Diversity Audit Series
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About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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