Bookish News Roundup: January 2016

I’m late with this news roundup but here’s a list of exceptional announcements I came across in January. I will just give the gist for each to make this quick. If you’d like to know more, just click on the link.

The Publishing Industry: White, Female, Straight

We already know that there’s a lack of diversity in the publishing industry but a recent survey by Lee and Low Books helped to illustrate to what extent this is so. According to the results, the overall industry is dominated by Whites, women, heterosexuals, and those without a disability.

Click to see the chart, which also shows data according to industry level (editorial, sales, etc.). A list of publishers surveyed is also provided. (Lee & Low Books)

Hong Kong Booksellers Go Missing

Five employees from a publishing company in China known for producing books that criticize the Chinese government went missing. It’s possible that Chinese security officers detained the employees because they were working on a book about the former love life of President Xi Jinping. (Yahoo News)

Author Matt de la Peña Wins the 2016 Newbery Medal

On January 11, the American Library Association announced that Matt de la Peña, an author of young-adult novels, won the 2016 Newbery Medal for his second picture book, Last Stop on Market Street, which is illustrated by Christian Robinson. The book also won a Caldecott Honor for its illustrations.

Last Stop on Market Street follows CJ, an African-American boy, and his grandmother, as they take a city bus through their neighborhood after church. While CJ questions Nana along the way about various things he lacks, she gently reminds him of all the beauty and special encounters they experience on their journey.” (Publisher’s Weekly)

Children’s Book with Smiling Slave Pulled

Scholastic has stopped distributing the recently published, illustrated children’s book A Birthday Cake for George Washington because of the backlash the book received on the smiling slaves it features.

“The book, written by Ramin Ganeshram and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton, tells the story of Washington’s slave cook Hercules. Critics such as the School Library Journal argued that the book presented an unrealistically sunny portrait of slavery; the hashtag #slaverywithasmile spread a similar message.” (NCAC)

Read more:

Associated Press

National Coalition Against Censorship

YA Book Bloggers Get Catfished

A woman posing as a publicist at Penguin Young Readers contacted book bloggers to get them to review her books. The woman, who used the name Corinne Rosanna Catlin, would offer ARCs to bloggers in exchange for reviews. However, a blogger at Bookish Antics caught on to her scam when he noticed that the “ARCs” seem to have been bought. (Publisher’s Weekly)

#1000BlackGirlBooks

Upset with the abundance of white male protagonists in the books she reads, 11-year-old Marley Dias devised a new way to give back to her community. She started a book drive to collect 1,000 books that have black girls as the main characters. The books will be catalogued and donated to a book drive in Jamaica, where Dias’s mother is from. (Philly Voice)

Akata Witch to be Distributed in 9 African countries

Nnedi Okorafor announced that the United Bank of Africa will distribute 24,000 copies of the Nigerian edition of her young-adult, fantasy novel Akata Witch (retitled What Sunny Saw in the Flames) in nine African countries. (Brittle Paper)

I’m excited for this news. I think many children of the African Diaspora can see themselves represented in some way in this book. I hope this also means we can expect the sequel soon. 😉

Smithsonian to Publish Graphic Novels

I guess it’s a sign that comics and graphic novels are gaining prominence in the literary world when the Smithsonian decides to publish a series of them based on exhibits at its museums. I think it’s a cool idea.

The first graphic novel, Wrong Wrights, is “about a group of kids on a visit to the museum.” It’s geared toward middle-graders and will be out on February 23. (Galley Cat)

Quick notables:
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