The #WeNeedDiverseBooks movement was to run May 1st, 2nd and 3rd yet it has continued since. The Twitter and Tumblr movement was started by authors who felt, like many others, that America needs more diverse books for it’s children who are more diverse themselves than ever.
An article on Salon.com points out, “Our fiction is sadly just as dominated by straight white men as the physical world is.” This is the reality we live in even in 2014. One look at the current New York Times Bestseller list proves this, as the top ten is comprised of five white male writers, three white female writers, one African American writer and one Greek-American author. That is not to say there haven’t been more diverse writers there in the past or won’t be in the future, but it is more often than not, the norm.
The movement was started in hopes of bringing awareness not only to readers, but most importantly, the publishing community.
Readers want and need books that they can relate to and relay the truths in their lives. As one Tweet pointed out, tomorrow’s classics need to relay the diversity that we live in today, as opposed to a repeat of the days of Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Twain and so on.
[The Huffington Post has a good collection of some of the most moving Tweets – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/02/we-need-diverse-books_n_5253934.html]
Many Tweets focused on the need for future generations to see themselves reflected in books the way that the current generation was never able to. #WeNeedDiverseBooks so my little ones will recognize themselves in the stories they grow up loving, pointed out writer Sona Charaipotra, along with an adorable picture of her infant daughter.
Another Tweet, which in my opinion is one of the most important viewpoints of this was, #WeNeedMoreDiverseBooks not just so kids can see themselves in stories, but so they can see others. Reading about others will expand horizons and combat ignorance.
Social media has a variety of downsides, however, movements like #WeNeedDiverseBooks help bring light to an important cause.