We Need Diverse Books is a grassroots organization created to address the lack of diverse, non-majority narratives in children’s literature. We are committed to the ideal that embracing diversity will lead to acceptance, empathy, and ultimately equality. Our mission is to promote or amplify diversification efforts and increase visibility for diverse books and authors, with a goal of empowering a wide range of readers in the process.
Please join The School of Writing for a discussion on diversity in the Writing for Children/ Young Adult genre. With Una LaMarche and Daniel José Older. Moderated by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton.
Sona Charaipotra is a journalist and author who’s written for everyone from the New York Times to Teen Vogue. The co-founder of CAKE Literary, a boutique book packaging company with a decidedly diverse bent, she spends much of her time poking plot holes in TV shows like The Vampire Diaries and Pretty Little Liars — for work of course. She’s the co-author of the dance drama Tiny Pretty Things and its sequel Shiny Broken Pieces, due July 12 from HarperTeen. She also blogs about books and authors for sites like Parade.com and the Barnes & Noble Teen blog. Find her on the web at SonaCharaipotra.com, or on Twitter @sona_c
Dhonielle Clayton is COO and Sr. VP of Librarian Services for the We Need Diverse Books non-profit. She spent most of her childhood under her grandmother’s table with a stack of books. She hails from the Washington, D.C. suburbs on the Maryland side. She has an MA in Children’s Literature from Hollins University and an MFA in Writing for Children from the esteemed New School program. She taught secondary school for several years, and is a former middle school librarian. She is the co-founder of CAKE Literary, a packaging company whipping up decadent — and decidedly diverse — literary confections for middle grade, young adult, and women’s fiction readers. Her debut novel Tiny Pretty Things with Sona Charaipotra (HarperTeen, 2015) came out last year, and the sequel Shiny Broken Pieces hits shelves July (HarperTeen, 2016). Her YA fantasy series The Belles is coming out soon (Disney/Hyperion, 2017).
Una LaMarche is the author of two young adult novels, Five Summers and Like No Other, and Unabrow: Misadventures of a Late Bloomer, a collection of humor essays based on some of her more questionable life choices. She is also a contributing writer for The New York Observer and The Huffington Post, and blogs at The Sassy Curmudgeon. Una lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son.
Daniel José Older is the author of the Bone Street Rumba urban fantasy series from Penguin’s Roc Books and the Young Adult novel Shadowshaper (Scholastic’s Arthur A. Levine Books, 2015), which was nominated for the Kirkus Prize in Young Readers’ Literature. His first collection of short stories, Salsa Nocturna and the Locus and World Fantasy nominated anthology Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History, which he co-edited, are available from Crossed Genres Publications. You can find Daniel’s thoughts on writing, read dispatches from his decade-long career as an NYC paramedic and hear his music at ghoststar. Please visit his website.
Sponsored by The Creative Writing Program.