Mind the Gap, Indeed.
This upcoming Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium conference, Mind the Gaps: Books for All Young Readers, has such a marvelous agenda:
The pursuit of the next Harry Potter and Hunger Games has homogenized bestsellers lists; there are still too few books for reluctant readers; and the number of nonfiction titles has steadily declined. And yet, with thousands of books published for young readers every year, there are myriad opportunities to honor a culturally, economically, and racially diverse spectrum of readers… if you mind the gaps.
Yes! We at MWALOMYH are devoted to the idea of honoring and serving all readers! Excellent!
Speaking at this conference will be Peter Brown, Steve Jenkins, Arthur A. Levine, Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, Patricia Hruby Powell, Christian Robinson, Steve Sheinkin, Andrew Smith, and Gene Luen Yang. Seven men and two women there to honor the great spectrum of readers.
Most of the guests represent the winners of this year’s Boston Globe Horn Book Awards, who are certainly a lot of men, though the winners historically been more balanced. Still, in a conference specifically about serving all readers, one might work toward less striking gender imbalance—lest we inadvertently reinforce the rather prevalent idea that in the conversation over reluctant readers the microphone is best left to menfolk.
In other words, gentle readers, when it comes to honoring young readers, please mind the gender gap.