Monday, November 25, 2013

Literary Events

Here's a list of great literary events that are coming soon!!!

  • A Closer Look at Norman Rockwell: Deborah Solomon in Conversation with Jason Farago at McNally Jackson Books. Date: Today, Monday November 25 7:00pm. Location: 52 Prince Street, New York, NY 10012. Noted biographer and art critic Deborah Solomon, author of American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell, will provide new reflections on the reality of the man who for so many years provided America with an idealized image of itself.

  • Geoff Dyer in conversation with Ben Lerner at McNally Jackson Books. Date: Tuesday November 26, 7:00pm. Location: 52 Prince Street, New York, NY 10012. Two scribes who like to talk about art sit to discuss "writing about looking." Dyer often considers photography in personal and journalistic contexts (e.g., in The Ongoing Moment and Otherwise Known as the Human Condition); Lerner touched on the same in his memoiristic Leaving the Atocha Station.

  • Brooklyn by the Book: Malcolm Gladwell at BPL/Congregation Beth Elohim. Date: Thursday December 5 2013, 7:30 PM to 9:00 PM. Location: 274 Garfield Place, Brooklyn, NY 11215. Gladwell reads and discusses "David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants".

  • Edwidge Danticat: Haiti Noir 2: The Classics at Brooklyn Public Library. Date Thursday January 16 2014, 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM. Location: 10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, NY 11238.  Edwidge Danticat reads and discusses this volume of classic Haitian noir literature by authors such as Marie-Hélène Laforest, Dany Laferrière, Pierre Marcelin, Philippe Thoby-Marcelin and more.

Monday, November 18, 2013


The Joy of Children’s Literature
I can still remember how the joy I felt as a child reading my favorite books, from the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew and Archie Comics to such classics as Tuck Everlasting, The Neverending Story and A Wrinkle in Time. Those books and many others helped shaped the way I read and the way I view the world. We all have our favorite children’s books which are dear to us and have also found recent children’s books that speak to us as adults.
The New York Public Library has an amazing exhibition called The ABC of it: why children’s books matter. This exhibition celebrates the extraordinary richness, artistry, and diversity of children’s literature across cultures and time. If you have any time, please go and enjoy this extraordinary tour given by NYPL.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Lack of Diversity in Children's Literature


As I was thinking about my first blog entry for the month of November, two things happened simultaneously. First, during my book club meeting, the conversation quickly revealed that members felt that they were not represented in the literature that we were discussing. As such, they felt that the articles we had amassed on our topic of discussion was not authentic.  Secondly, a book club member asked for children’s books suggestions for her young niece who happened to be African American. Although ShelfLives, my book club which was formed in early 2002 with ten friends, was meeting to discuss our latest book and although we started to discuss the novel, the conversation quickly turned into the lack of diversity in children’s’ literature.

You see for us, a group of ten professionals from different cultures, it has been something that has also come up when we discussed our own childhood. We never saw ourselves or our families in the books we read as children. This is also something that comes to mind when I am ordering books for the library at my school. I want the students to come to the library and choose from books that reflect true diversity in race, gender, sexual orientation and social class.

Lack of diversity in children’s literature is a real problem that must not be ignored. In a study done last year, the Cooperative Children’s Book Center reviewed thousands of kids' books, and found that only 3.3 percent were about African-Americans, 2.1 percent were about Asian-Pacific Americans, 1.5 percent were about Latinos and only 0.6 percent were about American Indians.[1]  To truly foster a love of reading and to cultivate connections, children need to see their stories and realities reflected in the books they read. 

So, this is my question to my fellow HVLA members; how can we solve this problem? What are we to do for there to be more books with varied content so that children can experience the richness of each other’s stories?

[1] The stories for all project: First ever market solution to the lack of diversity in kids' books. (2013, Jun 13). PR Newswire. Retrieved from