Authoring Stories about Cultures Other Than Our Own

The last month has graced us with a lot of buzz about diversity and multiculturalism in children’s literature. I’ve appreciated so many of the voices that have contributed to this important conversation: Lee and Low’s report on our country’s discouraging track record over the last eighteen years of publishing multicultural literature for kids; First Book’s commitment, announced at the Clinton Global Initiative, to increase the market for diverse children’s literature; and, in particular, Minh Le’s thoughtful ponderings about authorship.

One question that has been raised about authorship is who has the right to author a story about a given culture. For instance, does it make sense that I, as an American, wrote a story set in Tanzania with all East African characters? This is a question that bothered me for many years as I wrote early drafts of A Girl Called Problem. Now that the book is on shelves, I value that question even more and I have a few thoughts to add to the conversation, all of which are in this essay I wrote for the wonderful blog, Nerdy Book Club.

Screen Shot 2013-07-01 at 12.31.14 PMThe full essay is available here.

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About katiequirkauthor

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