Did Independent Booksellers Get a Free Pass? 

I have noticed that a lot of people have been looking closely at diversity when it comes to books being published, author panels at conferences/book festivals, and book award lists. All of these things bring important awareness to the diversity or lack their of in children’s literature. 

With that being said why is it that the E.B. White picture book list is not being ridiculed? The E. B. White list is created by independent booksellers. This year’s list contains all male book creators. I would expect to see a comment like: didn’t women create great picture books in 2014?



Instead: silence. 

I hope that this is because nobody noticed, but part of me feels like it is because book creators are afraid to call out the people hand selling their books. If it is the later-shame on the people fighting the battle of more diversity in kid lit. 

You can’t point fingers at teacher/library organizations and give a free pass to booksellers. 

If you are going to be in a part if this conversation either be all in or all out. 


13 thoughts on “Did Independent Booksellers Get a Free Pass? 

  1. Thanks for this post, Colby. I Tweeted and posted about this on Facebook on Thursday, but I was surprised by the public nonreaction as well. We writers depend on the goodwill of independent booksellers, but the award voting is clear evidence that there is imbalance in the distribution of that goodwill.


  2. I actually think it’s really unfair to expect the same people who are fighting for diversity with publishers, teachers, librarians, and creators and EVERY PLACE IN BETWEEN to fight Every. Single. Fight. This is just one more in a long line of incidents. At some point, you have to pick and choose where to place your efforts.

    The answer isn’t to call out those who are fighting for diversity, but rather to say “Hey! We need to talk about this as well. You all seem busy, so let me help.” I see folks calling out indies all of the time. Just because this hasn’t gotten the same level of attention doesn’t mean people haven’t noticed.

    Instead of bemoaning the lack of reaction, dig in and help with the work.


  3. Oh, I noticed, but I was so busy figuring out where to put another award sticker on Brown Girl Dreaming that I didn’t think enough about the picture book awards. I am surprised and disappointed that Lauren Castillo’s Nana in the City didn’t make the booksellers’ list — Nanas love to take their grandchildren to independent bookstores!


  4. I missed it, too, but will tweet your post. It may seem unfair to call everyone out, but awareness everywhere is crucial.

    In order for fair and accurate representation of all peoples to take hold and grow, we need everyone to be all in.


  5. I am inclined to believe that 1) many people simply didn’t notice and 2) of those that did notice, many chose to consider the possibility that these Independent Booksellers were not intentionally excluding females.


  6. The way I see this is that I don’t believe the lack of diversity here is intentional. It may just come down to taste and opinion. Maybe think of it this way: when you do your Mock Caldecott each year, are you pointing out to the kids the diversity issue or are you focusing on what to look for in a picture book? It may just be that diversity isn’t the issue at the forefront.

    I do want to see diversity and variety, but when it comes to quality, I’m hoping that whatever someone’s opinion is about books, that if they had to choose between two to give an award or put on a list, that it’s the quality of the book itself and not the issue of diversity that tips the ultimate decision. Since I focus on the books themselves, I guess that’s how I see it.


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