Episode 26: #OwnVoices
Illustration by Louis Cannel
The second part of Grace and Alvina’s live podcast for the Simmons Institute.
Grace and Alvina discuss what’s On Their Minds, and tying into the Institute’s theme of “Make Way”, they discuss the topic of “Own Voices”. They discuss so-called “authenticity” issues surrounding the background of the author.
Grace discusses observing Asian students at the schools that she visits, and how excited they get meeting an Asian-American author, and how that reinforces how important supporting “own voices” is. She also talks about how she has on occasion pointed out to schools that they’ve only invited white authors to speak at their schools.
Alvina discusses what she sees is the difference between the “own voices” discussion and the “diversity in publishing” discussion. Grace talks about listening to your own moral compass for authors and illustrators in deciding what projects to create, and for gatekeepers, when deciding what books and authors to support.
They both discuss again the importance of having diversity in all aspects of publishing.
They end as always with what they are grateful for:
Grace is grateful for the opportunity to speak at Simmons and be sitting in the gallery surrounded by 20-years worth of her work.
Alvina is also grateful for this opportunity, and is also grateful for timing--that she was able to both speak at Simmons and then fly out to Vancouver early the next morning for a family reunion.
Books, articles, and videos discussed in this episode:
CCBC Diversity in children’s book statistics: https://ccbc.education.wisc.edu/books/pcstats.asp
Project Greenlight race controversy: https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2015/09/matt-damon-apology-diversity-project-greenlight-effie-brown
Kidlit Women interview with Kekla Magoon on “Own Voices”: https://www.kidlitwomen.com/http/kidlitwomenpodcastlibsyncom/2018/7/23/episode-five-conversation-with-nancy-werlin-89ae8-gfzc7-f9zgy-6al6f