It's the holidays! Now that my teens are maturing, they are beginning to make the "gift shift." Their wish-lists are still important to them, but there's less focus on "Whaddya get?" (have you seen the Target ad?) and more on "What did you give?" -- finding a perfect little something for a special friend or teacher.
|It's the holidays! Time to overindulge ... on poetry.|
You'll find all the poetry treats at Paul's blog,
These Four Corners this week.
On my gift list this week are two groups working to promote social justice and diversity in the literary community.
SPLIT THIS ROCK
Split This Rock is a Washington, DC based non-profit, known for its large biennial poetry festival. The next one is scheduled for April, 2016. Split This Rock sponsors a youth poetry slam team, organizes workshops, hosts readings, and runs contests. I'm thankful for the organization's focus on "socially engaged poets." You can read more about this non-profit's mission at the Split This Rock website.
You can also donate here. (You can specify that you'd like your donation to be used for youth programming. Watch this video if you'd like to know more.)
Here is a poem about recent protests in Ferguson, Missouri from the Split This Rock blog.
After the Darren Wilson Verdict: Civic Center Park. Denver, Colorado
by Nahshon Cook
When I arrived
With hair as short as ants
Was telling protesters
How those cops
Wanted them to riot.
She said, They want
To beat you
With their sticks
And take you to jail
Because the “Establishment”
Has just thumbed
It's nose at you
Be sure to read the poem's finale here.
It's amazing how quickly We Need Diverse Books has grown. It started as a hashtag this past April -- a call on Twitter for increased diversity in children's books. Authors, librarians, and readers pointed out that every kid deserves to see him or herself represented in literature. This includes increased cultural and ethnic diversity, but also more (and more complex) LGBTQ and neuro-diverse characters. I am all for that.
One of the things that pushed WNDB from movement to organized non-profit was a panel scheduled for this spring's Book Expo America which pretty much ignored the whole diversity issue. (Read an article about the resulting protest here.)
Although WNDB's Indiegogo campaign closed on 12/10/14 (with over 182% of their goal reached -- hooray!), you can still donate. Go to this page and click on "Donate" to support programs like WNDB's awards and grants in honor of children's author and poet Walter Dean Myers.
You can find Myers' poem, which inspired the title poem of Sharon Creech's novel in verse LOVE THAT DOG, here: "Love that Boy."
I'm hoping Marieke Nijkamp of We Need Diverse Books will visit Author Amok soon! We're trying to work out a good time.
Do you know of a literary organization committed to social justice? Tell us about it in the comments, and I will add it to this post with a shout-out to you.
Enjoy this season of giving, everyone.