MULTICULTURALISM: the preservation of different cultural identities within a unified society (Dictionary Reference.com)
There are many defenitions of the word "Multicultural." I really like the one above. It speaks of holding onto, respecting, and preserving the various cultural identities that we each come from.
Are you an Irish-American teen whose ancestors came through Ellis Island to escape the great potato famine? Are you an African-American girl who has learned how to do her hair "just right" from her grandmother, who learned it from her grandmother, who learned it in Africa? Are you a Congolese child currently living in a refugee camp in your neighboring country, Uganda, learning a new language because of a war? Are you a Chinese American teen who grew up in Brooklyn? Are you an Ohio farm-boy growing up in an Amish community there? We live in one world all together, and that's such a beautiful thing! Through the books we give our kids and teens we want to celebrate our global similarities (for they are many)! But many publishers today are also looking for books that celebrate the individual cultural identities that our families, our kids, and our teens hold dear.
As noted on the "Reading is Fundamental" website: "When children see themselves in the books they read at a young age, they are motivated to read more books and read more often. Books are powerful mirrors and windows for all of us."
Children and teens need to be able to see themselves in these "mirrors and windows" that we call books. So this week and next week here on Writermorphosis we're focusing on "multicultural childrens and YA books."
Next week on Writermorphosis we'll have:
Author Interview: tips on writing & illustrating multicultural books from Award-Winning Picture Book Author/Illustrator Don Tate. Don't miss it!
Already writing a multicultural book? Consider these opportunities today:
MULTICULTURAL BOOK AWARDS AND CONTESTS:
1.) The Pura Belpré Award:
This award, named after Pura Belpré, the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library, and established in 1996, is presented annually to a Latino/Latina writer and an illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth. It is co-sponsored by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), and REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking, an ALA affiliate
Here's a great Pura Belpré Book Award Winner!
2.) The American Indian Youth Literature Book Awards
The American Indian Library Association has established the American Indian Youth Services Literature Award. The children's book award was created as a way to identify and honor the very best writing and illustrations by and about American Indians. Potential award winning titles are nominated and selected by members of the award jury, which is composed of seven members of AILA, elected by the membership. Each juror may nominate titles in each category that represent the best in American Indian books for children and youth. Books selected to receive the award present American Indians in the fullness of their humanity in the present and past contexts.
YA Author Sherman Alexie is a prior award Winner.
3.) The Coretta Scott King Book Awards
The CorettaScott King Book Awards are given annually to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values. The award commemorates the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and honors his wife, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood.
4.) The Lee & Low Books New Voices Award
LEE & LOW BOOKS, an award-winning publisher of children's books, offers the annual NEW VOICES AWARD. The Award is given for a children's picture book manuscript by a writer of color. The Award winner receives a cash grant of $1000 and Lee and Lows standard publication contract, including their basic advance and royalties for a first time author. An Honor Award winner receives a cash grant of $500. Manuscripts will be accepted from May 1, 2013, through September 30, 2013, for this year's award, and must be postmarked within that period.
Established in 2000, the New Voices Award encourages writers of color to submit their work to a publisher that takes pride in nurturing new talent.
So - Have fun writing, revising, and submitting your multicultural children's books to publishers and contests this year! Each of us has a multicultural story of our own to share, because each of us as writers have our own unique cultural identity. :)
See you next week for a great interview with tips from Author/Illustrator Don Tate.