|Screenshot of VOYA website, 1/13/2012|
In September 2011, Rebecca A. Hill interviewed me for an article she was writing for VOYA: Voices of Youth Advocates. The article, "The Color of Authenticity in Multicultural Children's Literature", is in the December 2011 issue of VOYA. Shown here is a screenshot of the VOYA website. I read Hills' article by clicking on the "Digital VOYA" frame shown on the right of the image.
Hill does an excellent job laying out issues that I write about here on AICL.
After posing some provocative questions, she moves into a discussion of the work of Rudine Sims Bishop in Shadow and Substance, and, key moments in the development of multicultural literature. These include Nancy Larrick's The All White World of Children's Books, published in the Saturday Review in 1965, and the vitally important work done by the Council on Interracial Books for Children (CIBC).
Then, Hill features K.T. Horning and the work done at the Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC) at the University of Wisconsin. CCBC has been charting the number of books by and about writers of color and, K.T. notes, they've seen little change from one year to the next. A quote from K.T.:
"Back in the 1980s and into the 1990s, we used to hear that publishers wanted to publish more multicultural books, but that they didn't have authors and artists of color submitting things," Horning said. "The last ten years we have been hearing that [it is] marketing that drives the decisions. The book buyers claim that books with kids of color on the cover don't sell or, in order for the buyers to purchase these books, a kid of nondescript color needs to be on the cover."From there, Hill's article is about the "who can write" debate. That's where she turns to her interview with me where we talked about Little House on the Prairie and the need to do more than archival research when writing a book that has Native characters.
I downloaded a pdf copy of the article from VOYA's nifty "Digital VOYA". If you go to the VOYA site while the December issue is available, you can download it, too. And other articles, as well! The option to read VOYA in digital copy is terrific. (Note: When I talked with Rebecca, I told her about Onate, the Spanish explorer who invaded Pueblo lands and issued orders to have a foot cut off of men and boys who survived a fight between the Spanish and the people of Acoma Pueblo. Columbus may have done that, too. I don't know. )