Today might be the last day of March, but it doesn’t have to be the last day that we lift up women in kidlit. We can celebrate the writing and illustrating of women creating books for kids all year long. And that celebration will be even better if it’s inclusive of all women, including, but not limited to, women of color, women of all religions, women from different economic backgrounds, disabled women, neurodiverse women, LGBTIQA women, and nonbinary people too.
Here are a few ways that we can continue this momentum:
* Follow the hashtags #KidlitWomen, #WomenInIllustration, and #KidlitEquality (which includes nonbinary people, and which is starting to be used already) on Twitter, and use them to continue the conversation.
* Read #KidlitWomen articles from March you missed, and tell others about them too. Post a link or reblog/retweet/retumbl/repost it for people who follow you on social media in case they haven’t read the article yet, or they did, but want to reread.
* Check out the Women Children’s Book Illustrators Pinterest board (https://www.pinterest.com/joycewanbooks/women-childrens-book-illustrators/), made by Joyce Wan and Theresa Kietlinski, and use it as a springboard to find new favorite illustrators, or to find new illustrated books to read. Share your favorites on social media, at the library or bookstore, at schools, or with family and friends as gifts.
* Look for books written and/or illustrated by diverse women and nonbinary people when you go to the library or bookstore. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, or need a recommendation, ask the librarian or bookseller. Maybe you’ll introduce them to an author and/or illustrator they hadn’t discovered yet.
* If you do book reviews, or book giveaways, include books by diverse women and nonbinary people.
* Read and recommend books with diverse girls and nonbinary characters, especially if their authors and/or illustrators are diverse women or nonbinary too.
This might seem like a lot to do, but the good thing is that you don’t have to do it all. Start small, by adding books by diverse women and nonbinary people to what you are already doing. If you have time, do one more thing. If you aren’t doing anything yet, start small. Talk about the books by diverse women and nonbinary people that you’re reading and loving. You can review them if you want, or just post or tweet that you loved the book. If you have time, post the picture of the cover to go along with your tweet. Or you can start a list on Twitter of your favorite diverse women and nonbinary illustrators of children’s books. Or make one for writers, or author/illustrators, or all three. You don’t have to do it all at once (that would be a daunting task). You can add names when you find them. And then if people are looking for illustrators, or writers, or author/illustrators, you’ll have a list to point them to.
If we all continue to celebrate and include women and nonbinary people who create books when we’re reading, talking, reviewing, and recommending books, hopefully the gender balance in kidlit of who is getting promoted, recognized, and awarded will be more equal to who is creating the books.
Any other ideas for continuing this after the month ends, or anything I forgot? If so, please leave a note in the comments!
This post is part of celebrating Women’s History month with 31 days of posts focused on improving the climate for social and gender equality in the children’s and teens’ literature community. Join in the conversation on Twitter with the hashtags #KidlitWomen, #WomenInIllustration, and #KidlitEquality, or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/kidlitwomen.