Monday, November 02, 2009

Surfing Outside Your Zone

One of the many gifts of new media is an increased democracy in the public square (with thanks to our public libraries, who fight to narrow the digital divide). In her School Library Journal cover story about blogs, Betsy Bird quotes editor Cheryl Klein: “Book blogs have created community—a place where we adults who take children's literature seriously can discuss it seriously and at length, in a forum open to the whole Internet.”

Virtually, as in life, it may be easier to commune with people with whom we have quite a bit in common. The challenge is to tune into voices we might not otherwise hear, listening and learning from people who aren't "like us" at first blush. Good blogs help us cross borders, and sometimes take us to uncomfortable places where we either change our convictions or deepen them through discourse and dialogue. 

Since I don't know how you define your "comfort zone" in the realm of Kid/YA literature, here are a few options to get you thinking:

If you're a woman and typically only read books about girls, peruse Guys Lit Wire.

Live in a mostly white community? Delve into Reading in Color, Crazy Quilts, or Color Online.

If you've never had to think about what it's like to grow up as an American Indian, tune into American Indians in Children's Literature.

Wondering what it's like to be a Latino writer in the world of North American literature? Read La Bloga.

Don't have any conservative white friends who home school? Consider Semicolon's take on literature.

And so on ....

3 comments:

Sherry said...

Thanks for the link, Mitali. I'm looking forward to meeting you in person someday. I don't know when that will be, but it will be fun.

campbele said...

Mitali,
Thank you for reminding us ALL to get our comfort zone! I consider myself so inclusive, but I don't read blogs by homeschoolers or conservatives! But, I'm willing to do so, with an open mind. We all have thoughts, perspectives and abilities to share!

Anonymous said...

This is sorta related since it's out of a lot of people's comfort zone to read about the disproportionately scant number of women writers' works recognized each year in mainstream lit, and the miniscule percentage of minority poets and women poets who win distinguished awards. Try poet Victoria Chang's blog at http://victoriachang.blogsport.com.