24 Hour Library

A Library Blog by Abby Hargreaves

Category: Uncategorized (page 2 of 5)

Fiction Re: Gun Violence in Schools

With the government and the American people at an impasse regarding gun control laws and a seemingly unending list of schools experiencing violence, finding the right words, if there are such things, can be challenging. Political feelings aside, many of us can feel helpless in the aftermath of a shooting, such as the events of yesterday at Umqua Community College in Oregon. I by no means believe that books alone can stop future school shootings, but I do believe they can help.

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Courtesy of PhotoPin

Many years ago, I read Give a Boy a Gun by Todd Strasser, which was inspired by the events of the Columbine massacre. My middle-school self felt strongly that the book should be included as a part of the local curriculum (and, if I had my way, imposed nationally). I wrote a letter to the district once I’d finished, explaining that the book gave examples in empathy and understanding, taking care to address a turbulent topic in a moving way. I don’t recall if I sent the letter; if I did, I did not receive a response.

As I work toward becoming a librarian (and, perhaps, a librarian with a focus on young adult services), I now have slightly more influence, and will continue to have greater influence still. If you are already in such a position, I hope you find the list below to be helpful. Alternatively, if you are not a library professional but are looking for something to mitigate the process of, well, processing, fictional looks at gun violence in schools, such as the ones below, may assist you.

While the items in this list are strictly about gun violence (before, during, after, and perhaps even preventing), there are a myriad of published novels about school violence beyond guns, including bombings, fist fights, and other methods of hurting others. It goes without saying that the books in this list may be upsetting or triggering. I recommend proceeding with caution should you feel any of these might be detrimental to your psyche or well-being. Many of these books are written for teens; you’ll find this material appropriate for teenagers and adults.

Please note that I have not personally read all of the titles myself. You’ll find the list in alphabetical order by author with links to purchase items in the titles. I encourage you to recommend additional materials or ask questions in the comments. The intent of this post, however, is not to incite a political debate. I thank you for respecting the intent of this list and refraining from such discussion.

Be well.

 

*Not gun violence, but related.

The Write Stuff: A Snail Mail Pathfinder

Introduction

Handwritten correspondence. Snail mail. Post. Letters. With the advent of the Internet, snail mail may be a less common way to communicate, but it is in no way dead. Just as society continued to use letters post-telephone as a way of communicating, so it continues to do so now. Whether you’re writing a meaningful note to an old friend or starting a new friendship with a pen pal, you’ll find plenty of resources here to get you started. Items are divided by the following categories: History, Memoirs, & Prose (nonfiction about letter-writing and the experiences of letter-writers), Collections (collected letters written by individuals both famous and unknown), Ideas & DIY (crafty ways to have a little fun with your correspondence), and Pen Pal Resources (how-to’s, where to find pen pals, and other tidbits). Some items may be cross-listed and noted with an asterisk (*). Electronic materials will be noted with a double asterisk (**). Items are listed in alphabetical order by title. When available, links to items for purchase will be presented. This is not to advocate for or endorse any one store or brand over another, but to offer some of the many available options. Materials listed are appropriate for teens and adults. Questions? Leave them in the comments of this resource guide and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

This pathfinder was created as an assignment for INFO 210-10 (3U), for the Reference and Information Services course at San José State University in Fall 2015.

About the Creator

Abby Hargreaves is a student in San José State University’s Master of Library and Information Science program. She plans to graduate in May 2016 and looks forward to a career in a public library, working with teens and adults in reference and programming services. Abby lives, reads, and writes in Arlington, Virginia. She has three pen pals and regularly corresponds with other individuals in her life.

 

history
Want to know about real people writing real letters for the love of mail? Here, you’ll find some excellent options for just that topic. Discover the benefits, feats, and connective power of snail mail.

 

collectionsCurious about what famous individuals such as C.S. Lewis were writing their friends and acquaintances about? Or maybe you’re more interested in the lives of children in the Great Depression’s Dust Bowl. Either way, you’ll find curated collections of real letters in the titles below.

 

ideasdiyYou’re committed to writing, but what to write? This section will guide you on your way to fun and meaningful missives with plenty of ideas on not only what to write about, but how to design it, and unusual items to send.

 

penpalsDon’t have a pen pal, but want one? Want to know shipping costs? Solutions to those problems and more below. Sites for finding pen pals are denoted with a caret (^). Letter writers should always use caution when engaging with pen-pal-finding services and are responsible for their use of any of the listed sites.

 

news

Want to know about letter-writing and pen pal relationships in the news? Check out some of these articles below.

Abby Reads: The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
Vintage, 2004, 447 pages
Nonfiction

The Devil in the White City focuses on the White City of the title, the World’s Fair in Chicago, 1893. Larson documents the many challenges architects, builders, and politicians faced during the construction of the World’s Fair as Chicago celebrated the 200th anniversary of Columbus landing in the Americas. The draw of the book for many, and the supposed subject given the title, is H. H. Holmes, the man considered to be the first American serial killer. Known by many other names in pursuit of insurance fraud, Holmes built a hotel outside the World’s Fair with the intent of using it as a castle of murder. While Holmes murdered his many wives, associates, and hotel guests, the Fair went on. There, the invention and introduction of many things still in existence today, such as Shredded Wheat, Cracker Jack, and the Ferris Wheel, delighted and amazed visitors of the World’s Fair.

Larson, a famed nonfiction author, quite obviously put painstaking research into this work. With regular use of direct quotes from the characters who inhabited these real events, Larson brings the people of the past to life. The quotes, Larson notes, come from primary source material, allowing readers to be sure the words quoted within are reflective of their speakers and the situations.  Providing primary source quotes, Larson lends a fictional voice to the book, which many readers have appreciated in his storytelling.

While the quotes add to the fictional feeling of the book, I tended to disagree with this assessment in general. Overall, the book didn’t read terribly like fiction to me. Sections came close, though in his notes, Larson admits that those sections are largely embellished by educated speculation. The fictional tone falls short as Larson doesn’t adhere to a linear story and is unable to successfully ie Holmes’ story together with the building of the World’s Fair. Another sidestep into the assassination of an elected official does little to glue the pieces together.  The slow pace of Larson’s prose does more to disconnect these stories.

If you’re going into The Devil in the White City expecting the subject of the title, the Devil, to be the focus, you’ll be disappointed. The majority of text focuses on the White City and the men who brought it to life. This is, in part, due to how little information is available on Holmes and his Murder Castle. The wealth of information on the White City, however, provides enough intrigue to hold your attention otherwise and leads the reader through a vivid painting of life in the early 1890s of Chicago.

❤❤❤💔 out of ❤❤❤❤❤

Out and About: National Book Festival ’15: What It Taught Me about Youth and Literature

I have the great privilege of living in the greater Washington D.C. area, which provides me with many spectacular opportunities, not the least of which being the annual National Book Festival. Completing its fifteenth run today (as of four minutes ago, in fact), the National Book Festival brings together authors and their readers. This year, authors included astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Today meteorologist (and did-you-know mystery writer?) Al Roker, popular biographer David McCullough, television journalist Tom Brokaw, We Need Diverse Books co-founder Ellen Oh, YA author Jenny Han, and current U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera among many, many others.

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Courtesy of PhotoPin

But there was one group of authors who were not listed by name in the program. Students in fifth and sixth grade (and one high school student) had the opportunity to present their winning essays to a crowd of a few hundred during the Letters about Literature/a Book that Shaped Me awards ceremony. As my boyfriend pointed out, there was little point in watching the ceremony — we neither knew any of the kids who won nor have children of our own (except for Oopsilon, of course). However, I was interested in seeing books from the perspective of the population I’m most interested in serving: youth. The perspectives I was treated to today are, arguably, atypical. These essays were, after all, award-winning. I didn’t let that deter me. I still saw a shining nugget of value in this session and so we got in line until the pavilion was open and ready for a new audience.

Gabriel Ferris, the fifteen-year-old winner of Letters about Literature, chose to write a letter to biographer Walter Isaacson regarding Isaacson’s book on Steve Jobs. Ferris’ insight to Isaacson’s writing and Jobs’ life is astounding. His letter-essay, which can be read here, discusses the cost at which Jobs achieved his success and the mistake many fans make in their desire to emulate Jobs. While I haven’t read this particular biography, I can’t say that I would have picked up on this poignant understanding. I tend to read biographies as factual pieces of information that don’t necessarily require thought-provoking or critical considerations. Isaacson, who was present at the reading of the essay, responded to Ferris and his letter live on stage. He clearly appreciated Ferris’ interpretation and that Ferris took the opportunity to ask questions about the book and Jobs to himself. Isaacson noted that many adult readers did not achieve this level of reading and, instead, read the book and come away with a greater determination to become the next Jobs, despite the extreme personal costs.

Later, younger students took the stage to read essays on books that shaped them. As fifth and sixth graders, these students spoke on difficult topics such as loneliness and genocide. One essayist described her grandmother’s escape from horrors in Ethiopia, discussing the injustices in a calm and mature voice. The essayist’s efforts to go beyond the text of the book which meant so much to her and interview her grandmother about the experiences of her grandmother and ancestors shows a dedication to a topic many adults prefer to avoid. Her own history and that of her people became an important piece of her own identity thanks, in part, to a piece of children’s fiction. Another young runner-up talked about how Harry Potter helped her cope with a number of personal struggles as a method of escapism, of instruction, and of commonality between herself and her peers as she encountered the difficulties of making new friends.

We too-often imagine people younger than ourselves to be less-smart versions of ourselves. We imagine them to be unworldly and unwise. We do ourselves a grave disservice in believing these lies. Children and young adults are far wiser than we give them credit for. We must, as John Green often advises his readers and viewers, try to imagine people complexly, those who are younger than ourselves included and, perhaps, especially.

As library professionals, imagining youth patrons as lesser-than in one way or another or one-dimensional, we fall short in providing meaningful services and materials. The solution is to let younger patrons lead the way. Encourage them to become involved in their own futures at the library. This can be done in small and large ways — from picking which books that are to be featured during story time to doing the bulk of planning for an upcoming program. Youth members of the community have the intellectual tools to make these impacts and so many more if we only give them the opportunity.

Ask Me What I’m Reading

Making friends is tough. Networking is tough. Many people (and librarians especially, if the stereotype is to be believed) struggle with social anxiety.askme button

When I moved to Arlington last year, I hoped making friends would be as easy as it had been when I was in undergrad where I was surrounded with like-minded people. It has been more challenging than that, in part due to a busy schedule but more so due to my shyness. In public, I am most often with a book. I read in public to keep myself entertained but also to avoid talking to other people. I realize this is counter-intuitive.  So how do I make friends without the ridiculous amount of pressure I feel when approaching people I don’t know?

The solution came to me a few days ago. To both engage like-minded people in conversation and take the pressure off myself, I’ve designed a button to attach to my bag. It says, “Ask Me What I’m Reading.” Whether or not I’m actively reading while wearing this button in public, I hope a few brave souls will take the cue and start a conversation with me. I hope, in turn, I will ask what they are reading. I hope we exchange a few good titles. And I hope we agree to meet up to browse a bookstore in the future.

Bibliophiles of D.C., say hello! I don’t bite; I’m just shy.

To tie this back to libraries — perhaps this is something we should consider offering as a prize or “party favor” at library events. I made my button with Zazzle, though there are plenty of similar sites that allow users to create buttons, mouse pads, t-shirts, calendars, and other items. Alternatively, host a button-making program and, as an example, create this button. Your patrons will thank you.

Abby Reads: For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
Balzer + Bray, 2013, 448 pages
YA Science Fiction

Based on Jane Austen’s PersuasionFor Darkness Shows the Stars begins with eighteen-year-old Elliot struggling to maintain the land and estate of her family while nursing an old heartbreak. In the company of her sister, Tatiana, and controlling father, Baron North, Elliot manages the servants on her family’s land. These servants, a combination of the Reduced and Children of the Reduced (also DSC_0008known as Post-Reductionist or Post), are treated well by Elliot, though others in her Luddite society believe the Reduced and the Posts are serving for their ancestor’s wrongdoings in pursuing genetic and biological enhancement. Fearing for her ailing grandfather’s health, Elliot knows she has to do something to save the family’s estate. When childhood friend and former Post, Kai, returns with a makeshift family to rent Elliot’s grandfather’s land, Elliot seizes the opportunity. But the politics between the Luddites, the Reduced, and the Posts continued to be strained — none more so than those between Kai and Elliot. In a novel that questions the rejection of scientific advancement and the cost of moving forward, author Diana Peterfruend tells an engaging narrative with an exceptional handle on language and memorable characters.

Peterfreund employs a near-perfect language in her nontraditional post-apocalyptic dystopian novel. With vocabulary and sentence structured which loosely mirrors Austen’s original text, the novel not only reminds the reader of its source material but easily reflects the lives of the Luddites who star in the story. Peterfrend throws in the occasional exclamation with a more modern sound to it, which serves to emphasize the futuristic setting which might otherwise be forgotten. Peterfreund consistently chooses just the right word to portray captivating moments. In one instance of heightened emotion, Peterfreund describes Elliot’s flesh as “burning” where many authors would instead choose “warmed.” Choices such as this one really make this science fiction particularly human and approachable.

Meanwhile, For Darkness Shows the Stars benefits from a cast of well-defined and lovable characters. Elliot, as the main character, is not only easy to love, but is complex. As her reasoning plays out paragraph by paragraph, sympathizing with her becomes that much easier. Whether or not you agree with her actions — which you sometimes may not (one of the greatest achievements of this novel) — Elliot’s thought process is undeniably fascinating and humanizing. Nearly all of the other characters — Andromeda, Felicia, Tatiana, Baron North, Dee, Ro, there are far too many to name — accomplish similar effects. Kai is the only exception, who could have benefited from further development. (I understand this may be rectified in a companion story — more here.)

Peterfreund also does well on world building, giving the reader enough information to enjoy the story and appreciate the content of Elliot’s problems without overloading on detail. For readers looking for more on the background of the society, Peterfreund has written a prequel as well as another novel which takes place in the same universe and is a retelling of The Scarlet Pimpernel.  Readers who shy from science fiction due to the sometimes-overwhelming world building need not avoid this novel, which is based more in the matters of the heart than of the machine.

 

❤❤❤❤❤ out of ❤❤❤❤❤

 

Abby Reads: Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta

Froi of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
Candlewick 2013, 608 pages
YA Fantasy

Find the review for the first book in the Lumatere Chronicles, Finnikin of the Rock, here.

Froi of the Exiles continues the stories of characters first imagined in Marchetta’s Finnikin of the Rock. In Froi, we focus on a minor conflicted and antagonistic character from Finnikin — Froi. As readers discover more about Froi’s origins, they learn, too, about the seemingly-crazed Princess Quintana. Sent on a mission to assassinate Quintana’s king-father, Froi meets a pair of estranged brothers, who, along with dealing with the struggles of the kingdom  of Charyn, have their own relationship to sort out. Meanwhile, in order to get to the hiding king, Froi must first get through Quintana, who is far more than she appears to be. Back in Lumatere, the Queen and her people endeavor to rebuild the home destroyed by a curse while helping new citizens assimilate.

Starting off with a cast of characters in Finnikin, Marchetta already has a good amount of material to handle. In order to make the new plot work, Marchetta manipulates these characters into almost entirely new people. Many of these changes can be simply accounted for by considering the events of the first novel and the passage of time. However, I found some of the changes to be jarring and unnatural, despite the explanations the narrator offers. This was particularly true of the title character, Froi. Now a late-teenager, Froi has benefited from a more structured education and the company of refined individuals such as the Queen and Finnikin. Though certainly plausible to an extent, Froi’s change in personality felt overwhelmingly sharp, as if the core of his being had become composed of some other material. Marchetta does make up for this in some ways, such as her attention to internal conflict on the behalf of every character who has something over which to be conflicted. Arjuro and Gargarin exemplify this theme especially well, as they work — or, refuse to work — with the intent of healing their broken brotherhood.

“Family” continues to be a running theme in Froi, with various structures and definitions represented through the several relationships portrayed in the book. Newlyweds, brothers, adopted families, and mistaken identities all come into play as different characters ponder on the meaning, obligations, and restrictions of belonging to a family. Along with an understanding of family comes doing right by family and self. Throughout the entire novel (as was also true in Finnikin), Marchetta juggles a balance of right and wrong. Nearly every character questions the merit and morality of their actions, often dealing with the consequences of those actions mentally and in reality. Marchetta also discusses, through plot events and characters, insanity. How do we define insanity? How do we know when someone is truly insane? Is insanity something that can only be diagnosed by the individual experiencing it?

Like many fantasy novels, Froi falls prey to a slow pace at times. Due to the political nature of the novel and tendency for characters to be unreliable, the actual incidents of the plot can be hard to identify and understand as the true incidents. In terms of plot, too, I found a hard time really rooting for anyone in particular — in general, the stakes and motivation just weren’t high enough for me to be truly engaged and captivated by Froi’s continuing story. Unlike Finnikin, Froi cannot be read as a standalone novel. Have Quintana of Charyn ready, because chances are, you’ll pick it up the minute you put Froi down.

❤❤❤💔 out of ❤❤❤❤❤

 

Abby Reads: Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
Candlewick 2012, 416 pages
YA Fantasy

Lumatere, Finnikin’s home, has suffered. After the royal family is slaughtered and a curse laid upon the land, Finnikin goes off on a journey. He trains and, along with his guardian friend, begins a search for the prince he believes to still be alive. They meet Evanjalin, a young woman sworn to silence as a part of her pact — a convenient one which allows her to keep secrets. She keeps her silence until IMG_3260violence continues to mount, then proves her strategic and sometimes manipulative abilities to keep the group moving forward. The three meet Froi and, despite Froi’s violent and inappropriate tendencies, keep him as they travel toward the end of suffering, meeting plenty of it along the way.

Here’s the thing — I did not expect to like Finnikin of the Rock. The concept — an epic, nearing the idea of “high fantasy” — is typically not something I can get myself to sit through. A little secret for you: I couldn’t get through any of Lord of the Rings ( to be fair, I was twelve or so when I tried reading it and I started with The Two Towers for some idiotic reason, having already seen the films up to that point). So I hesitated at picking this one up, but it was on the list for book club as we were reading the sequel for March, so I figured — why not. And I’m glad I did.

Finnikin of the Rock features some very well-done characters. Though in some scenes a little overwhelming with the number of people to keep track of, the overall direction of individuals is impressive. Marchetta manages to make stakes high when characters deal with internal conflict — her strength, actually — while maintaining a sense of unreliability with each character. This balance makes the characters really come to life, which is something I rarely see in fantasy as the focus is typically so intent on world-building. Despite their unreliability, the characters are likable and I felt compelled to hear their story, understand their histories, and, ultimately, cheer them on. I did find, as secrets came to light, some characters did not stay consistent in their personalities. While some change in character can be attributed to the events of the plot, much of it seemed awkward and unbelievable.

The overall plot was a bit skeletal for the length of the book. Perhaps this is because I am generally bored by politics and struggled to keep the story of Lumatere’s takeover (and the individuals involved) straight, but generally I felt I needed a little more help grasping the events that brought our characters to this point. Luckily the relationships of the characters were interesting enough to keep me reading, although the ambiguity of the main plot left me confused and therefore a bit bored.

Marchetta adds skillful prose, however, that helped mitigate my fears of anything that resembles high fantasy (which I’m not necessarily saying this book is, but does, from my perspective, at least have some elements of). The sentence structure was rarely (if ever) overly complex and Marchetta used flourishing language only when it served the plot. I particularly appreciated the subtle shifts in style which occurred as a chapter focused on one character or another without using first person narrative (George R.R. Martin, I think, could take a hint from this!).

I wouldn’t go as far as to say this is my favorite book ever, but I liked it enough (and had the pressure) to finish it within a matter of three or four days despite the length of it, and then move on to its sequel, Froi of the Exiles. If you’re looking for something a little on the slow side with a few surprises, take a chance on Finnikin.

❤❤❤💔 out of ❤❤❤❤❤

Abby Reads: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Scholastic Press, 2012, 408 pages
YA Fantasy

Blue Sargent grew up around psychics and, for a while, it seemed like nothing could shock her. But then she gets involved with the Aglionby Boys — the boys with the ravens on their school badges and a mission involving a dead king and mysterious lines of energy that get stronger when Blue nears them. With a prophecy hanging over her head, Blue can’t stay away from the adventure of it all, even while she watches the self-destructive behavior of her new friends — Gansey, Noah, Ronan, and Adam.

I purposely waited getting started on The Raven Boys series because I already knew I liked Stiefvater’s work and figured I’d enjoy this series as well. I’m glad I waited because September (when the last DSC_0221book comes out) doesn’t seem nearly as bad a wait as it could have been! Stiefvater does an incredible job in manipulating the reader’s perspective in order to produce well-rounded characters. I really admire her ability to make the most of the setting and objects relative to characters to build the story and its inhabitants in subtle ways. Her language is rarely ever overbearing or too little, but works as a constant hum as you read. Stiefvater’s abilities have only grown since her earlier books (I read and enjoyed both Lament and Shiver years ago), and it’s exciting to see how she improves even when you think it can’t get any better.

The beauty of Stiefvater’s writing style does have a consequence — almost (almost!) to the point of overstimulation, the writing sometimes obscures the plot. While this can help contribute to the mystery of things in some cases, in other instances (when the mysteries are being unveiled, for example) it doesn’t work as well and having to reread passages to get through the sensory mire (and what a beautiful mire it is!) makes the book slow-going. It’s an enjoyable process nonetheless, but requires a bit more attention from the reader than most other YA novels I’ve read. I still have some questions about The Raven Boys but opted not to read and reread and reread until I understood because (a) I’m a busy individual and can only reread a sentence so many times and (b) it was entirely possible the reality of the story was meant to be obscured and not truly revealed until a later book. Either way, I figured things would clear up with future books regardless of when the actual reveal was, just based on context. If not then, there’s always the internet!

As I mentioned, Stiefvater’s characters and phenomenally sculpted with very well-placed and thought-out details which you don’t even realize are teaching you about the characters until much later on. Surprisingly, I found Blue, at times, to be less-developed than the surrounding characters. I think, however, that is a result of Blue being a character who doesn’t really know who she is yet rather than a manifestation of poor writing or planning. I guess we’ll see with the next book (which I’ve started after reading the next two reviews-to-come: Finnikin of the Rock and Froi of the Exiles).

❤❤❤❤💔 out of ❤❤❤❤❤

Out and About: Shut Up and Write! Diversity Edition

Last night, March 11, I attended an event at the Arlington Public Library. On a regular schedule, the APL features a panel discussion called Shut Up and Write, which addresses issues regarding young adult literature. I had attended the one in January on retellings of classics (panel members were Jon Skovron (see a previous post on one of his novels here), Paige Harbison, and April Lindner). This month, Skovron led a panel on diversity featuring Sherin Nicole, Robin Talley, and We Need Diverse Books President/author, Ellen Oh (who gave out WNDB swag you see in the featured photo).  Including questions about a perceived need for permission, dealing with criticism, and what we can do to keep diverse books as a topic of conversation in the coming year, the event had a number of quotable moments. Here are some of my favorite things from the panelists:

“You want to see yourself as a hero.” – Sherin Nicole, talking about the importance of representation in books and other media. She went on to emphasize that it’s important, especially for youth, to see themselves reflected in the stories they read not always as the sidekick or the villain, but as the hero. The point that non-white communities tend to exhibit lower reading levels may be due to the fact that the kids in these communities are disinterested in reading the myriad of stories schools provide (due, in large part, to the lack of diverse titles available) which feature only white protagonists. As a result, many of these kids choose not to read and consequently have lower reading levels.

Nicole also proposed a solution to the fear some writers encounter when taking on characters that are unlike themselves and the overall issue of lack of diversity: “We just need to make it a thing — like [writing about diverse people]’s what one does.”

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While I am unable to commit myself politically, emotionally, and so on to every cause I believe in, I admittedly put in more effort when it comes to WNDB. As someone who grew up in New Hampshire where the population is relatively homogeneous, perhaps the cultural shock I experienced when moving to the South would not have been so severe had I read or had the opportunity to read more diverse books (in lieu of being exposed to people who didn’t look, think, act, talk, and so on, very much like myself). Diversity in literature is not only important for the individuals who are underrepresented (another symptom of marginalization and being a minority), but to the people who are ignorant of other groups.

Another important topic the panel discussed was the role of empathy in these situations. Ellen Oh, in particular, emphasized that children who have parents with racist beliefs may be less likely to grow up with those same beliefs if they have the chance to empathize with characters who are different from them in literature.

Most important of all, Oh said, however, was that we try. We being writers. Writers must ignore the fears and doubts they have, accept that they will likely get some things wrong and even anger some people, but put in their best effort anyway. Because if we don’t start somewhere, we don’t start at all.

 

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