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Publishing in 2005

by Kathleen T. Horning, Merri V. Lingren, Hollis Rudiger and Megan Schliesman

©2006 Cooperative Children's Book Center

This essay originally appeared in CCBC Choices 2006.

Read the essays from other years.

In recent years, we’ve estimated approximately 5,000 new books are published annually for children and young adults. Here at the CCBC, we received approximately 3,000 new books published in 2005. They included most of the books published by large trade publishers, many of which are separate divisions of the same publishing house, as well as books from some of the publishers specializing in informational books for the young, often developed specifically with curricular needs in mind, and many of which are formula series. We also received books from a small number of independent publishers.

Into the Mainstream: GLBTQ Teens and Families

One of the most encouraging trends we noticed in 2005 was publishers continuing to expand the quality and number of books available on subjects once all but invisible in literature for youth, whether it’s parts of the world too rarely seen in the past, such as the Middle East, or books that reflect the lives of individuals in our very own communities.

Among the 3,000 or so books we received in 2005, we noted more than thirty titles, including over twenty novels, about gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (GLBTQ) youth and gay- or lesbian-parented families. Of course the numbers are all relative, and this subject, like so many others, demands even greater visibility. But given the fact that even five years ago it was possible to count the number of books with GLBTQ subjects on two hands (and on just one hand not long before that) these numbers represent a virtual explosion.

More and more we are seeing books in which characters are not defined solely by their sexual identity. From titles such as Ron Koertge’s Boy Girl Boy (Harcourt), about three best friends, one of whom happens to be gay, navigating the inevitable changes that the end of high school will bring to their relationships, to David Larochelle’s Absolutely, Positively Not . . . which takes a poignant and hilarious look at a teen coming to terms with his sexual identity, rich and real characters are now the norm.

James Howe’s Totally Joe is notable for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it features a happy, young gay protagonist. Joe is twelve and has no doubts about his sexuality. He has a crush on Colin, who isn’t so sure about his. Howe magnificently captures the range of feelings about relationships among young adolescents in his novel, which is innocent and sweet and affirming.

There is still a woeful lack of picture books showing families with same-sex parents. But one exceptionally bright—and unusual—exception in 2005 was And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell. This book that recounts how two male penguins in New York’s Central Park Zoo chose each other as mates, successfully cared for an egg given to them by the zookeeper and then raised the chick—named Tango—that hatched is, first and foremost, a terrifically told story. The bilingual picture book Antonio’s Card by Rigoberto Gonzalez (Children’s Book Press) is much more typical of the picture books that have been published in the past as it seeks to raise sensitivity toward children in gay- or lesbian-parented families. The story, about a child who is teased when he makes a mother’s day card for each of his two moms, stands out, however, for its Latino protagonist and text in both Spanish and English.

On a Plateau? Multicultural Publishing

The CCBC uses the term “multicultural literature” to mean books by and about people of color. Many distinct cultural experiences are implied by these four broad groupings. Multicultural books in this edition of CCBC Choices are identified by specific cultural affiliation in the subject index.

In 1985, the CCBC began to document the number of books for children and young adults by and about African Americans each year, fueled by the shockingly low number of books eligible for the American Library Association’s Coretta Scott King Awards. In 1994, we expanded our recordkeeping to include books by and about all people of color. A complete archive of the statistics we have compiled over the years is available on the CCBC website at: http://ccbc.education.wisc.edu/books/pcstats.htm

There has been a huge increase in the number of multicultural books published over the past twenty years, but, again, we note again that the numbers are relative. We can get excited about many individual books, but the fact is that we still have yet to see multicultural literature make up more than 10 percent of the total number of new books published annually. This percentage drops to less than 5 percent when it includes only titles written and/or illustrated by people of color.

CCBC Statistics in 2005

Of the nearly 3,000 titles we received at the CCBC in 2005, we documented the following with regard to books by and about people of color:

• 149 books had significant African or African American content. 75 books were by Black book creators, either authors and/or illustrators (most, but not all, were among the 149 titles with African or African American content).

• 34 books featured American Indian themes, topics, or characters. Of these, only 4 were created by individuals identified as American Indian authors and/or artists. Nine additional Native writers were featured in a single short story collection.

• 64 books were about or significantly featured Asians/Pacifics or Asian/Pacific Americans. 60 books were specifically by book creators of Asian/Pacific heritage (more than 20 of these did not have specific cultural content and are not among the 64 titles noted).

• 76 were on Latino themes and topics. 50 books were created by Latino authors and/or artists (most, but not all, were among the 76 books with Latino content).

It should be noted that these statistics represent only quantity, not quality or authenticity.

Why do these numbers matter? Because children and teens of color need to see themselves in books. Because all children and teens need literature to illuminate the nation and the world in which they live. Because there is no such thing as “the” African American experience or “the” Mexican American experience. There is a multiplicity of experiences within and across cultural groups and racial and ethnic lines. We hope publishers will not only remain vigilant but increase their commitment to publishing books that truly reflect the world in which children and young adults today are growing up.

Laughter and Tears

Among the multicultural books we especially appreciated this year were some of the funniest books we read. They include Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money by Christopher Paul Curtis, Precious and the Boo Hag by Patricia C. McKissack and Onawumi Jean Moss, and Red Ridin’ in the Hood and Other Cuentos by Patricia Santos Marcantonio.

Other books present terrific humor in a deeper context, from Lies and Other Tall Tales, adapted and illustrated by Christopher Myers from the work of Zora Neale Hurston, and Stanford Wong Flunks Big-Time by Lisa Yee.

At the same time, there were several outstanding titles that courageously addressed the difficult issues present in the lives of many children and teens today. Among the most notable were Walter Dean Myers’s Autobiography of My Dead Brother and Sharon G. Flake’s Bang!, both of which deal with the threat of urban violence. We appreciated the fine writing in the short story collection Moccasin Thunder: American Indian Stories for Today edited by Lori Marie Carlson (HarperCollins) even as we struggled with the question of whether the collection as a whole runs the risk of reinforcing rather than dismantling some stereotypes. The fault is not in the stories themselves but rather the collective effect of the ten pieces, rife with alcoholism, drug use, and abuse.

Pondering the Future/Recovering the Past

Books like Bang! and Autobiography of My Dead Brother are titles that challenge readers—teen and adult alike—to think about the future being created today. The picture book Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan by Mary Williams (Lee & Low, 2005) illuminates the mid-to-late twentieth century civil war that has seen thousands of children orphaned in that country, as well as some of the positive outcomes that have come from such terrible tragedy. Deborah Ellis’s Our Stories, Our Songs: African Children Talk about AIDS shows not only courage and kindness but also huge gaps in the response to the AIDS crisis in Africa. These are books that ask difficult questions about our collective humanity—questions that cannot be ignored.

Other books offer illuminating perspectives on the past. Ana Maria Machado’s novel From Another World, a translated book originally published in Brazil, is a contemporary ghost story that addresses the slave history of that country. One of the most powerful and affecting books of the year is also about slavery: Julius’s Lester’s Day of Tears: A Novel in Dialogue looks at the human toll of the largest single slave auction in U.S. history.

The picture book Kai’s Journey to Gold Mountain by Katrina Saltonstall Currier offers a fresh look at the immigrant experience by focusing on Angel Island, the intake center near San Francisco that processed thousands of newcomers from Asia. Marilyn Nelson’s A Wreath for Emmett Till is an extraordinary work of poetry—a heroic crown of sonnets in which the pain ignited by fourteen-year-old Emmett’s murder in 1955 is palpable in a reading experience that is also transcendent.

Additional multicultural books from the 2005 publishing year are among those highlighted in the sections that follow.

Extraordinary Nonfiction

We continue to see authors and editors pay closer and closer attention to the importance of documentation in books of information for youth, and more and more writers are including primary sources in their research. The American Library Association’s Sibert Award is surely drawing even more attention to these critical aspects of excellence in nonfiction.

Outstanding works of nonfiction were among the most engaging books we read in 2005. Susan Campbell Bartoletti’s Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler’s Shadow is a chilling and provocative look at children and teens who marched for Hitler and, in some cases, later rejected his ideas and ideals. James Cross Giblin’s Good Brother, Bad Brother: The Story of Edwin Booth and John Wilkes Booth sheds new light for older children and teens on personal and family history of the man who shot Abraham Lincoln. Let Me Play: The Story of Title IX by Karen Blumenthal will amaze contemporary readers with a look at how opportunities for girls and women over the past thirty years have changed dramatically because of this little law that could. One woman breaking all sorts of barriers long before Title IX was Eleanor Roosevelt, the subject of Candace Fleming’s Our Eleanor.

Tonya Bolden’s fascinating look at the political wheeling and dealing in the United States just after the Civil War makes for captivating reading in Cause: Reconstruction America, 1863–1877. Bolden also wrote a biography of a free black girl growing up in the nineteenth century before, during, and after the Civil War in Maritcha: A Nineteenth-Century American Girl.

We were sorry to have missed Sally M. Walker’s Secrets of a Civil War Submarine: Solving the Mysteries of the H.L. Hunley (Carolrhoda), an outstanding work that blends history and science as it chronicles efforts to recover the wreckage of the first battle submarine, built during the Civil War, and to piece together the story of its crew and its one and only mission. This book came to our attention too late to be included in CCBC Choices 2006.

Like most other young adults in Isreal, at eighteen Valérie Zenatti served two years in the Israeli army. Her fascinating memoir of that time is When I Was a Soldier, which was originally published in France. Journalist Mitch Frank takes a comprehensive look at many elements that have contributed to the conflict in the Middle East in the astonishingly balanced Understanding the Holy Land.

We read a number of engaging works of nonfiction for younger children as well, including April Pulley Sayre’s The Stars Beneath Your Bed: The Surprising Story of Dust, astonishingly lyrical as well as informative; Jonah Winter’s picture book biography Roberto Clemente: Pride of the Pittsburgh Pirates; Margot Theis Raven’s Let Them Play, about an African American Little League team in South Carolina denied the right to play in the state and national championships in 1955; and Jeanette Winter’s The Librarian of Basra, about Alia Muhammad Baker, who feverishly worked to save the books in the library of Basra as U.S. bombs fell in 2002.

Picture Book Lows and Highs

Continuing the trend of the last few years, the number of newly published picture books, especially those of first-time authors and illustrators, was down in 2005 from recent all-time highs. Among the first-time book creators that were published, we especially appreciated Onawumi Jean Moss’s Precious and the Boo Hag, a collaboration with far-from-first-time author Patricia C. McKissack. The funny, pleasingly scary story, told mostly in lively dialogue recounts an African American girl’s efforts to keep the witchy Pruella the Boo Hag at bay.

Becky Birtha (Grandmama’s Pride) was another exciting newcomer to the children’s publishing scene. Ed Briant (Seven Stories) and Elivia Savadier (No Haircut Today! ) are two previously published illustrators who made fine debuts as authors in 2005.

Mary Ann Rodman, author of the novel Yankee Girl (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004), made an impressive entry into the picture book arena with My Best Friend, winner of the 2006 Charlotte Zolotow Award. With a style that captures the genuine voices of young children traveling the sometimes bumpy road to friendship, Rodman creates a story that rings true from start to finish. E.B. Lewis’s illustrations of the African American girls of Rodman’s book give real faces to their distinctive voices.

More realistic characters are brought to life with Bob Graham’s inspired language in Oscar’s Half Birthday. We welcome his humorous and tender portrayal of a biracial family celebrating their child’s first six months of life. Elivia Savadier gives voice to another recognizable family moment—although it’s not a joyful one—when Dominic steadfastly insists that he will have No Haircut Today!

In Zen Shorts, Jon J Muth seamlessly melds everyday experiences of three human children with the impossible: a huge talking panda named Stillwater. Text and illustrations work together to incorporate three traditional Zen meditations into the children’s visits to their new panda neighbor.

Siesta by Ginger Foglesong Guy stands out among books for the very youngest children, as it introduces color concepts via an easy intregrated Spanish and English text. Quinito’s Neighborhood, another bilingual book for preschoolers, written by Ina Cumpiano, offers an overview of diverse community workers. And Linda Sue Park goes far beyond the bilingual norm in Yum! Yuck! A Foldout Book of People Sounds. Universal verbal expressions in a multitude of languages are cleverly paired with a story told in pictures.

Pushing Boundaries

Edgy fiction for teenagers has been in the spotlight quite a bit in recent years, but a few notable books for younger audiences also nudged the envelope of what some think of as “acceptable” topics or treatments. When the frog hero of Jeanne Willis's Tadpole’s Promise eats his former love interest for lunch, first-time audiences of all ages are inevitably stunned. The author’s sly send-up of the typical picture book message of acceptance and loyalty is unexpected, and guaranteed to provoke a reaction. Reminiscent of the response triggered by Chris Raschka’s Arlene Sardine (Orchard, 1998), readers tend to fall into two camps: disgust and horror, or laugh-out-loud appreciation for the book’s unapologetic conclusion. An unscientific sampling has indicated that age is an indicator of response, with children more likely than adults to appreciate the irreverent ending.

Similarly, the lack of any redeeming qualities in the beasts of Meg Rosoff’s Meet Wild Boars either tickles the funny bone or leaves readers and listeners in need of assurance in a book featuring four main characters with—the author firmly professes—no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

While Willis and Rosoff offer unusual humor, Michael Rosen is at the opposite end of the edginess scale with Michael Rosen’s Sad Book. This picture book in which the author describes the sadness he felt, and sometimes still feels, in the aftermath of the death of his son offers both children and teens validation of the intensity of emotions that they all sometimes feel for a range of reasons.

These books remind us that adults are often quick to underestimate the depth of children’s feelings, or their ability to understand and appreciate sophisticated humor.

Easy Does It

The first Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for excellence in beginning readers was given by the American Library Association in January, 2006. We are excited—and hopeful—that this award will have the same positive impact on this type of publishing as other awards, from the Coretta Scott King to the Printz and Sibert, have had on literature for youth over the years.

Even without the Geisel Award, we have seen the number of beginning and transitional readers grow significantly over the past five years. Now we hope that in addition to quantity, we will see increased quality among such books. Children just learning to read deserve more than books that are easy, they deserve books that offer them great stories, or intriguing information.

We were thrilled to see stories such as Bethany Roberts’s fresh and funny Ogre Eats Everything and Susan Hill’s simple, sweet Ruby Paints a Picture. And for those young readers who’ve already developed a fascination with horses, Erica Silverman’s Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa (Harcourt) will delight.

We also know that many children learning to read already show a decided preference for certain kinds of literature, so we appreciate publishers’ efforts to create books to meet the diverse tastes and interests of young children in this accessible format. Amazing Sharks!, Amazing Whales! and Amazing Gorillas! (HarperCollins), are three informational books written by Sarah Thomson that are part of Harper’s I Can Read Series. And Deborah Hopkinson, who has already created many wonderful picture books about historical people and events, is now creating historical fiction in an easy reader format. Her two fine debut efforts are Billy and the Rebel and From Slave to Soldier.

Fantasy, Fangs and Sci-Fi

The phenomenal success of Harry Potter continues to exert a huge influence over the publication of fiction, as evidenced by the continued proliferation of fantasy trilogies, series, and stand-alone works. Although the sheer mass of new books with the words “apprentice” and “volume 1” on the cover might be off-putting to many adult readers, some excellent new fantasy deserves recognition. In this edition of CCBC Choices, the combined genres of fantasy, horror, and science fiction make up almost one quarter of the 79 titles in our fiction categories—an all-time high.

Among the very best of the new fantasy is Rick Riordan’s creative story of twelve-year-old Percy Jackson’s interactions with the Olympic gods in The Lightning Thief, marking an impressive introduction to a new series. Choosing between the practice of magic and an early death or inevitable insanity is the prospect facing the protagonist of Magic or Madness, volume one in a series by Justine Larbalestier. While both Riordan and Larbalestier have published other books, neither has written for a youth audience before.

Two other series with strong debuts this year are Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney and The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan, both first books and both centered around boys entering apprenticeships.

Maintaining the high quality of a promising first book is a challenge many writers attempt but often find elusive. We are delighted to see Suzanne Collins continuing her fine Underland Chronicles into volume three, Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods. Catherine Fisher also keeps to a high standard in The Sphere of Secrets, the second of The Oracle Prophesies trilogy.

Not all new fantasy is multi-volume. The Witch’s Boy by Michael Gruber uses a fractured fairytale format to give new insight into familiar figures in a stellar story of love, anger, and forgiveness.

Vampire fans will be thrilled with two standout works for young adults. Stephenie Meyer’s fresh take on the classic dilemma of a human-vampire romance sizzles with the intense connection between the two main characters of Twilight. The science-thriller-romance combo in Peeps by Scott Westerfeld brings a unique twist to vampire mythology.

Although not as prevalent as fantasy, science fiction also experienced a surge in 2005, with outstanding work for both younger (Siberia) and older teens (The Secret Under My Skin, Spacer and Rat, The Fourth World ).

From Innocence to Experience

One highly noticeable trend that is relatively recent and continued to grow in 2005 is the explosion in the number of original paperbacks published for young adult readers. These titles range from truly literary efforts to pulp offerings designed to appeal to the steamier side of teen interests (or publishers’ perceptions of teen interests). One title that received quite a bit of media attention over the summer of 2005 was Rainbow Party by Paul Ruditis (Simon Pulse), about a teenage sex party. While not a great literary endeavor, the book pulls no punches regarding the potential repercussions of sexual encounters.

Perhaps not surprisingly, this title and others that touch on edgy topics were the subject of a number of media articles in 2005 in which the overall tone was one of sensationalism as writers expressed shock and horror at the content of young adult literature today. Rarely did the articles or reports offer an unbiased look at the books they highlighted. And rarely did they mention any of the examples of truly fine writing for children and teenagers that, edgy or not, would have provided a much more balanced look at literature for youth today.

We certainly read many exceptional novels for both teens and children in 2005, many of which we’ve already mentioned. Among others were crossover fiction—a label some have coined for young adult books at the high end of the age spectrum. The books’ protagonists—usually in their late teens or early twenties—stand, often uneasily, at the juncture between adolescence and adulthood.

Several crossover titles offered some of the finest and most provocative reading of the year. Two of the most outstanding we read were Stripes of the Sidestep Wolf by Australian author Sonya Hartnett, and I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak, also an Australian. Both books deal with young men beyond high school who are struggling with the present and disconnected from the future. Tammar Stein’s debut novel, Light Years, is about a twenty-year-old Israeli woman who has completed her service in the Israeli army and has come to college in the United States to study and to heal: her boyfriend was killed in a suicide bombing.

Among the standouts for younger teens and children are Lynne Rae Perkins’s Criss Cross, a literary effort so intricate and understated that it’s difficult to describe but a joy to read as it uses narrative prose, poetry, and illustration and to capture the interior lives and interactions among five fourteen-year-old teens who are refreshingly, and perhaps realistically, innocent in their encounters. It is a novel that could easily be read by older children as well as younger teens.

Thoughtful readers will relish Laura Gallego Garcia’s The Legend of the Wandering King. Originally published in Spain, Garcia’s story makes unexpected turns as it follows the journey of a young man who finds redemption in the power of love and kindness. And The Game of Silence, Louise Erdrich’s sequel to The Birchbark House (Hyperion), continues the story of young Omakayas, a young Objibwe girl who, with her family, struggles with the inevitable changes to their way of life in the nineteenth century as white settlement expands.

Going Graphic

Five years ago, there were a mere handful of libraries collecting graphic novels. Today, graphic novels have become standard in many public library collections, and in many school libraries, too. And as educators become more attuned to the graphic novel format’s many potential classroom applications, these books are making their way into some classrooms as well.

Many children’s and young adult literature review journals now include regular or periodic reviews of graphic novels. At the American Library Association’s annual meeting in June, 2005, the Young Adult Library Services Association announced the creation of an annual graphic novels list, which will first come out in 2007.

Publishers of children’s and young adult books are paying attention. In 2005, Scholastic launched its Graphix imprint with the rerelease of Jeff Smith’s wonderful Bone (Graphix, 2005). Roaring Brook Press is scheduled to launch its graphic novel imprint, First Second, in 2006. And two of our favorite graphic novels of 2005 came from Random House: Jennifer and Matthew Holm’s delightful Babymouse series. Perfect for elementary-age children, the stories feature an irrepressible young female rodent who deals with decidedly childlike issues in her two debut volumes.

Interestingly, children’s literature is also influencing graphic novels. NBM, in independent comics publisher, launched an imprint called Papercutz with several graphic novel adventures featuring either the Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew. Who can resist a title like Nancy Drew and the Demon of River Heights
(Papercutz), whatever the format?

Traditional comics and graphic novel publishers are still the biggest source for graphic novels for teens and children. Among those we especially appreciated this year are Kazu Kibuishi’s Daisy Kutter, an intriguing fusion of classic western and science fiction with a gun-slinging, emotionally guarded female protagonist up against the bad guys; and Guy Delisle’s Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea, his sadly funny account of the time he spent in that highly repressive country.

I Can Do That!

We are among the first to acknowledge that celebrity publishing gets way too much attention And yet we feel compelled to comment on it yet again. While few in number, these titles written by (or ghostwritten for) actors, politicians, musicians, and others outside the realm of children’s literature often claim a great deal of attention or resources, from marketing budgets to display space in large bookstores. Almost always picture books, their quality, as is to be expected, varies, but it is often easy to tell that the author has not spent a lot of time reading books for children, let alone working on the craft of writing one. As we’ve noted in the past, the assumption seems to be that writing a picture book is easy, an understandable impression if they are reading one another’s books in preparation to writing their own. While they are often heartfelt and well-meaning, it is rare to find a celebrity book that doesn’t hit the reader over the head with a lesson, or tug at the heartstrings in a way that is more attuned to the emotions of adults rather than children.

A new twist in celebrity publishing this year was Billy Joel’s New York State of Mind (Scholastic, 2005), which didn’t require much new effort at all on the author’s part, since the text is the lyrics of his old song of the same name. Rather than being moralistic or saccharine, Joel’s words, while fine in a song for adults, turn out to be far too abstract for a picture book audience, even those who actually live in New York City.

It’s not that a book by a celebrity is necessarily a bad book; but of those we’ve seen over the years, there are so many better books that aren’t as highly promoted and don’t stand nearly the chance of capturing the attention of many consumers—the parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or other well-intentioned adults who aren’t familiar with children’s literature, walk into a megastore, and are immediately overwhelmed. A familiar name can be comforting in the midst of too many (or too few) choices. There is certainly nothing wrong with appreciating a book with a moral, or that touches one’s emotions. The sad thing is what isn’t being seen, or bought, or shared with children. It’s a shame that the highly visible and heavily promoted celebrity books, along with the TV tie-ins and holiday books also prominently displayed, are the primary impression some have of children’s literature today.

Occasionally, a book from a “name” outside the field of children’s and young adult literature is worthy of all the attention it gets. An example from 2005 is Caroline Kennedy’s A Family of Poems: My Favorite Poetry for Children. This outstanding anthology’s depth, breadth, and range are exemplary.

We also continue to see established writers for adults try their hand at writing for youth. These celebrities in the adult publishing world have already proven they have skill and talent. But not everyone makes the shift to writing for a younger audience with ease. Among those that did in 2005 were Peter Abrahams, a noted writer of thrillers for adults whose children’s literature debut—Down the Rabbit Hole—is a fast-paced, captivating mystery for older children and young teens with all the elements of a classic whodunnit. Carl Hiaasen’s second novel for youth is the funny Flush, also a mystery of sorts. Hiaasen’s writing for children and teens monopolizes on the same traits that have made his witty adult books so successful: Florida setting, environmental theme, and offbeat, memorable characters.

Chilean author and playwright Ariel Dorfman, whose personal history makes him a citizen of the world, teamed with his son, Joaquin, to write Burning City, a young adult novel that looks at the global culture of New York City. Finally, Louise Erdrich’s much-awaited follow-up to The Birchbark House (Hyperion, 1999), The Game of Silence, reinforces what has been clear since her first picture book: Erdrich is extraordinarily attuned to and highly skilled at writing for a wide range of audiences.

There are many dedicated authors, illustrators, editors, and publishers striving to give children and teens terrific literature. But publishing is a business and dedicated individuals can only do so much. Publishing companies will support creative efforts to provide more multicultural titles, to seek out more new talent, to translate more books from other languages, to take more risks with books that defy expectations or reflect our society in all its diversity, when they see that such books can have a positive impact on the bottom line. And we have the power to be that positive impact—librarians, teachers, child care providers, parents—all of us who are dedicated to making sure children and teenagers not only have books, but great books in their lives.

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