Literature, whether for adults or young readers, often reflects its time. Each year at awards time, along with such perennial debates as popularity versus literary quality, subjectivity, and age appropriateness, critics often focus on thematic treatments that are on the general public’s minds. Recent times have been challenging for many, with societal concerns such as human rights, gender issues, racism, gun violence, civil rights, and equity dominating our national conversation. Notable in 2017 was the passionate response by children’s book creators to these issues, intertwined with that of identity and representation. Whose story gets told, and who gets to tell it?
That is the start of Roxanne Feldman and my Horn Book Magazine article “2017 in Review: The Year in Words.” It is in the magazine’s award issue, alongside speeches such as Erin Entrada Kelly‘s Newbery one (as those who followed my druthers for this award, you won’t be surprised that I was delighted with it). We explore what the awards suggest in terms of diversity and #ownvoices as well as other interesting aspects to last year. Hope you check it out!