2015 Diversity Reading Challenge

An Unconventional Librarian’s 2015 #DiversityReadingChallenge


I’ve been wanting to start my own reading challenge and I’ve finally done it! Let’s ring in 2015 with a reading challenge that celebrates the multicultural reader and challenges the status quo.

Presenting the Diversity Reading Challenge!fd



This challenge pairs well with almost any other challenge you’re participating in; there are multicultural books in every genre. If you’re new to reading diverse books, you’ll be hooked. If you’re an avid consumer of multicultural reads, then this challenge will suit you just fine.  There are no complicated rules to this challenge; participate how you want, when you want.

Wanna chat about books? Tweet me @pamlovesbooks with #DiversityReadingChallenge, leave a comment here, or leave a link to your #DiversityReadingChallenge page! Let’s keep this conversation going…

Banned Books

Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop: Authors of Color

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom To Read

All this week I’ll be celebrating banned books week by highlighting challenged or banned books. Why is banned books week important? According to the American Library Association (of which I’m a member),

By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship.

As a parent, you have a right to decide what your own children should be exposed to, but I strongly believe that you do not have the right to dictate what other children have access to. So, let’s celebrate the books that have been challenged and see if you’ve read any of them and you can make the decision for yourself. Each day of Banned Books Week I’ll highlight several of the titles that were challenged or banned last year. Let’s see how they stack up.  Also? This is a blog hop so I’ll giveaway a $10 Amazon gift card to the winner!

Today’s the last day of Banned Books Week. In honor of that I thought we’d take a look at the authors of color and how they’ve played a role in BBW.  To be sure, authors of color include just about everyone who isn’t in the White majority, which brings a full complement of experiences to literature that readers might not otherwise be exposed.  Because many of these experiences contain violent situations and language, they are frequently part of the challenged and banned books list.

I’ve made a collage of the authors of color who often appear on the list.  Let’s see if you recognize any of them.

authors of color

Hard to believe, isn’t it? Without these books we wouldn’t have any idea of the African American experience, the Hispanic experience or the Native American experience.  Can you imagine not knowing what you know about those groups and their struggles? And who didn’t cry when they read Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor?

What’s your fave author of color?

Thanks for tuning in to Banned Books Week!


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Good Writers Live in Our Hearts Forever: Maya Angelou and Walter Dean Myers

It’s true: while we want our fave writers to live forever, it’s just not possible. I mean, realistically, what would it be like if Shakespeare was still alive today? He’d be like 350 years old right? The thing is, writers never really die. Their legacies live on forever in our hearts. Your fave line or illustration will always make you smile; that’s why it’s your favorite.

We’ve lost two memorable writers of color this year: Maya Angelou and Walter Dean Myers.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 
— Maya Angelou




I’ve reviewed Myers’ books before.  Take a look herehere, here, and here. I’ve read most of Maya Angelou’s books, too, I just haven’t reviewed them. Guess we should rectify that.


“We all think we’re different, but when it comes around, we end up needing the same things. Somebody to love us. Somebody to respect us.” 
— Walter Dean Myers (Carmen)


Thanks for always giving us a good word, Maya and Walter and for showing the world that people of color do have a voice and it’s relevant.

Books Children Young Adult

Hotlight Spotlight Invasion by Walter Dean Myers

Hotlight Spotlight: Invasion

by Walter Dean Myers

There are so many reasons to love Walter Dean Myers.  He writes books for communities who are often overlooked: boys and African Americans.  Many students are turned on to Myers’ books through school assignments.  Then they keep coming back to Myers for more of the hard hitting reality that Myers is known for.  Kids who won’t read about vampires and aren’t interested in sports will often willing to read about war.

Myer’s latest war book, after Sunrise Over Fallujah and Fallen Angels is Invasion.


What’s Invasion?

Walter Dean Myers brilliantly renders the realities of World War II.

Josiah Wedgewood and Marcus Perry are on their way to an uncertain future. Their whole lives are ahead of them, yet at the same time, death’s whisper is everywhere.

One white, one black, these young men have nothing in common and everything in common as they approach an experience that will change them forever.

It’s May 1944. World War II is ramping up, and so are these young recruits, ready and eager. In small towns and big cities all over the globe, people are filled with fear. When Josiah and Marcus come together in what will be the greatest test of their lives, they learn hard lessons about race, friendship, and what it really means to fight. Set on the front lines of the Normandy invasion, this novel, rendered with heart-in-the-throat precision, is a cinematic masterpiece. Here we see the bold terror of war, and also the nuanced havoc that affects a young person’s psyche while living in a barrack, not knowing if today he will end up dead or alive.

Need I say more about the power of Myers’ ability to discuss the human condition in a way that boys can understand? And WWII backround will certainly discuss racism in a manner that the kids might not have thought about.

This is sure to be another hit.

Which Walter Dean Myers’ book has your child read?



February is Black History Month, read an author of color

February has so many spectacular events to celebrate, it’s hard to know where to begin! Let’s start by celebrating Black History Month, ok? Why not choose to read a few books written by an African American or depicting African American characters?

Read African American

Read an author of color this month!

Here are the ones depicted in the photo:

  • The Cruisers: A Star is Born by Walter Dean Myers
  • Pinned by Sharon G. Flake (the characters have special needs)
  • STAT: Double Team by my athlete BFF Amar’e Stoudemire

Don’t they look great? Flake gets extra bonus points for including kids with special needs!

What are YOU reading for Black History month?

Children Diversity Reviews Young Adult

Why You Should Read Walter Dean Myers

Walter Dean Myers is a prolific writer of young adult and middle grade children’s literature.  The problem is, you might not have heard of him.  WDM’s many titles include:

  • Monster
  • Sunrise over Fallujah
  • Autobiography of My Dead Brother
  • All the Right Stuff
  • and many many more

Walter Dean Myers Unconventioinal LibrarianWDM’s writing is good and his work has been awarded countless awards.  Currently he is the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, a position that strives to raise literacy awareness.  So, if he’s so important, why have you probably not heard of him?

That’s because Myers is African  American, his audience is primarily African American children, and his characters are primarily African American or other minorities.  So, unless you’re an avid read of the YA genre, or African American or an educator, you probably haven’t heard of him.

But now you have. And now you should get acquainted with his work.  His work is powerful and speaks to not only those of color, but to those who want to do better with their lives or don’t understand why things work the way they do.

Does that sound like you?

That’s because it IS you.

Everyone can benefit from reading a Walter Dean Myers title or two.

I just finished All the Right Stuff, his latest release.

See below as Cleo takes a break from supervising my reading of All the Right Stuff.

Unconventional Librarian All The Right Stuff

I love this book and d’you know why? It’s smart and it makes you think!  Young Paul lives in Harlem and gets a summer job at a soup kitchen where he learns not only how to make soup but how to evaluate his place in the world and how to engage in intelligent conversation about how to change the world for the better.

Any child can relate to this book, not just an African American child or a child who lives in Harlem or another impoverished neighborhood.  Any child who must make a choice between doing good and doing wrong can appreciate the choices Paul has to make.

I can’t recommend this book enough.  Look in your bookshelf; there’s prolly an old copy of a WDM book lying around from a required reading assignment.  Pick it up and read it.  It’ll make you think.  Meanwhile? I’m going to do the same…

I give this book four paws for honest portrayal of young African Americans.

Unconventional Librarian 4paws