We Need Diverse Books
We Need Diverse Books is a nonprofit organization created to promote diversity of multiple forms in children's literature and publishing. The organization's programming includes funding grants and internships for diverse authors and people interested in publishing, a mentorship program, providing lists of book recommendations for librarians, teachers, and parents on finding books with characters from marginalized backgrounds, and publishing an anthology of short stories featuring multiple authors from diverse backgrounds.
We Need Diverse Books started on Twitter. Following the announcement of a panel of all-white, all-male children's authors at BookCon in 2014, Ellen Oh and other authors and publishing insiders began protesting and discussing the lack of diversity and representation in the field on Twitter using the hashtag #WeNeedDiverseBooks. As the online discussion surrounding the hashtag grew, a core group of individuals decided to formally create a group to continue the movement. On July 29, 2014, We Need Diverse Books filed for incorporation as a nonprofit in Pennsylvania.
WNDB releases an annual report each year explaining what the organization is planning and how they will use the money that has been donated to them. The inaugural 2014 annual report discusses the programs that they plan on starting and where the funds originated. Each year after, the annual reports have been organized by accomplishments from the past year and goals for the next year.
Walter Dean Myers AwardsEdit
The Walter Dean Myers Award for Outstanding Children's Literature (or "The Walter" for short) was created in 2014. Named after young adult author Walter Dean Myers, the award recognizes published, diverse authors who champion marginalized voices in their stories. The inaugural award was given to Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely in 2016 for their book All American Boys. The awards program is managed by co-directors Kathie Weinberg and Terry Hong. In 2018 WNDB changed the categories from a single category of young adult titles to two categories of teen and young readers. Future awards will include both categories.
|The Walter Award||JASON AND REYNOLDS AND BRENDAN KIELY, ALL AMERICAN BOYS||JOHN LEWIS, ANDREW AYDIN, AND NATHAN POWELL, MARCH: BOOK THREE||N/A|
|The Walter Award Teen Category||N/A||N/A||JASON REYNOLDS, LONG WAY DOWN|
|The Walter Award Young Readers Category||N/A||N/A||CAROLE BOSTON WEATHERFORD (AUTHOR) AND ERIC VELASQUEZ (ILLUSTRATOR), SCHOMBURG: THE MAN WHO BUILT A LIBRARY|
Walter Dean Myers GrantEdit
The Walter Dean Myers Grant was established in 2015. The grant financially supports unpublished, diverse writers and illustrators with the overall goal of shining a light of diverse authors and their work. The grant is overseen by Marietta Zacker. In 2015, WNDB granted five writers and illustrators $2,000 each. In 2016, WNDB granted six writers illustrators $2,000 each. The Walter Grant took a hiatus in 2017 and will resume in 2018.
WNDB Internship GrantsEdit
WNDB Internship Grants was established in 2014, but became active in 2015. The program was created to finically support college students who are pursuing their dreams of a career in children’s publishing with an internship at a publishing house. In the inaugural year (2015) five interns received $2,500 each to support their internship sessions. In 2016, WNDB gave out 11 grants of $2,500 each and also invited them to networking events during their intern session. In 2017, nine interns were given the grant and interned across many publishing divisions. Since the program started 13 interns now have full-time publishing jobs. In 2018, WNDB plans to award eight grants to interns.
WNDB Scholastic PartnershipEdit
In 2016, Scholastic and We Need Diverse Books announced their expanded collaboration for the 2016-2017 school year via a series of eight flyers distributed to classrooms via the Scholastic Reading Club.
YA Short Story ContestEdit
In 2016 a program that allowed children of all ages, races, and genders to submit short stories to the company was started. To be eligible for a prize, the stories have to be 4,000 words or less, and applicants have to explain in less than 75 words how the story is diverse. The applicant must also be under 18 years of age to be considered a child and must not have published this writing prior to this contest. The contestant that wins this contest receives a $1,000 grand prize.
- Charles, Ron (3 January 2017). "'We need diverse books,' they said. And now a group's dream is coming to fruition". Washington Post. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
- Sun, Carolyn (1 September 2014). "We Need Diverse Books Inc. formed". Library Journal. 139 (14): 20.
- "Annual Reports". diversebooks.org. Retrieved 2018-09-24.
- Kirch, Claire (16 October 2014). "Diversity Group Announces Walter Dean Myers Award and Grants". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
- Kirch, Claire (20 January 2016). "Reynolds, Kiely win WNDB's debut Walter Award". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
- "Walter Awards". diversebooks.org. Retrieved 2018-09-24.
- "Walter Grant". diversebooks.org. Retrieved 2018-09-24.
- "WNDB 2014 Annual Report" (PDF). We Need Diverse Books.
- "Internship Grants". diversebooks.org. Retrieved 2018-09-24.
- "WNDB 2015 Annual Report" (PDF). We Need Diverse Books.
- "WNDB 2016 Annual Report" (PDF). We Need Diverse Books.
- "WNDB 2017 Annual Report" (PDF). We Need Diverse Books.
- "Scholastic & We Need Diverse Books(TM) announce expanded partnership". PR Newswire. 29 February 2016.
- Baker, Jennifer. "We Need Diverse Books and Scholastic Inc. extend partnership on diversity flyer distribution". Forbes. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
- "The We Need Diverse Books YA Short Story Contest". We Need Diverse Books. Archived from the original on 4 June 2016.
- Begley, Sarah (19 December 2016). "A collection of tales the bind". Time Magazine. Retrieved 9 January 2017.