This past Friday I had the honor of attending the 2019 Walter Awards and Symposium. Hosted by the Library of Congress and We Need Diverse Books, it was a time to celebrate writers who promote diversity in their work. Writers of children’s and young adult works were given awards. Prior to that, there was a panel discussion where a group of authors discussed the process of writing their books, their sources of inspiration, and why they find it important to amplify the voices of people of color through their work.
Perhaps the best part of the day was seeing school children there. I watched them as they engaged the panelists in questions about the craft of writing and their specific books. I listened to their excited conversations as they lined up to meet the authors and get their books signed. The magnitude of the moment was not lost on me. In this time of instant gratification and the constant pull of electronics, it was nice to see that young people can still get enthusiastic about reading new books and meeting authors.
I would like to highlight one such author. Tiffany Jackson is the author of Monday’s Not Coming and the forthcoming Let Me Hear A Rhyme. In her pink pantsuit with voluminous curls tumbling everywhere, she certainly stunned. When she spoke about her book and how she gleams inspiration from actual news stories, her passion for her craft was clear. I was impressed. And then I looked around at the young girls in attendance and could feel the way they gravitated towards her. I liken their reactions to how they would act if they met their favorite musician. Truly, it warmed my heart.
Many thanks to We Need Diverse Books for the wonderful event. It is certainly critical that we inject our voices into literature. And it is equally important that young people see the work happening and get to play a part in it.
Love to all of the authors who took part in the day–Meg Medina, Emily X.R. Pan, David Bowles, Veera Hiranandani, Jewell Parker Rhodes, and Elizabeth Acevedo.
If you are in the Washington, DC area you should definitely check this event out. Until next year!
Click here for more information about the work that We Need Diverse Books is doing!
You find out more information about Tiffany Jackson here!