Monday, June 18, 2018

Representation and Kidlit: A Conversation with the Belles and Brujas

The Belles and Brujas Tour to celebrate Bruja Born was one of the best conversations I had the privilege of joining. Zoraida Cordova was joined by Dhonielle Clayton, Samira Ahmed, and E.K. Johnston and it felt like I was listening to a conversation between friends. Each author wrote from a place that acknowledged the lack of marginalized voices in the book industry. Keep reading to hear some of my favorite tidbits from these impressive authors. 
  • The Belles was inspired by Dhonielle's high school diary entries. 
  • Dhonielle wanted to have a discussion on what we do to our bodies to obtain impossible measures of beauty. 
  • "I just write about things I'm upset about." -- Dhonielle Clayton
  • Samira's first experience with Islamophobia was when she was 7 years old (of course by an old white man)
  • Samira wanted to capture the moment in childhood when your world is shattered. 
  • Zoraida was afraid to write Labyrinth Lost because she was afraid of writing latinx characters.
  • "Everyone who comes to my book can find themselves" -- Dhonielle Clayton on The Belles
  • "No one wants to write the truth about our own culture." --Zoraida Cordova on machismo in latinx culture. 
  • Zoraida had never seen an Ecuardian character in a book. 
  • Zoraida sent her first query lettter when she was 17 (and was sadly rejected)

I could have honestly listened to those ladies for hours, they should really think about starting a podcast about representation and the current movement in kidlit to ensure more voices are included. Haven't read The Belles or Labyrinth Lost? Remedy that because they are fabulous books that will make you think. 


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