Dear Reader: A Love Letter to Libraries (Hardcover)
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"A rousing call to action for more racially diverse children's literature." -Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW
In this book a young girl pens a love letter to libraries and books, and powerfully expresses the need for diversity and the importance of representation in stories!
There was just this one thing, this nagging suspicion, that I didn't meet the criteria for a heroine's condition.
In the books that I read, an absence of melanin was a clear omission.
A voracious young reader loves nothing more than going to the library and poring through books all day, making friends with characters and going off on exciting adventures with them. However, the more she reads, the more she notices that most of the books don't have characters that look like her, and the only ones that do tell about the most painful parts of their history. Where are the heroines with Afros exploring other planets and the superheroes with 'locs saving the day?
About the Author
Tiffany Rose is a left-handed illustrator and author who's currently living and working in China. She's a lover of coffee, wanderlust, massive curly Afros, and children being their imaginative, quirky, free selves. She is a full-time teacher, part-time author/illustrator, and world traveler. Rose remembers what it was like as a brown child not seeing herself reflected in the books and characters she loved so dearly, and has been inspired to create art and meaningful stories, like this book and her debut, M Is for Melanin, so that underrepresented children can see themselves in books. Pencil in hand, she's changing that notion one illustration at a time.
A book-loving, brown-skinned, proactive young girl advocates for stories with characters that look like her.
Her appetite for books is so insatiable that she likes stories of all kinds, including those "full of thrones, quests, friendship, and dreams" and those "with brave heroines and heroes saving the day." Although she views herself as a heroine, she has a "nagging suspicion" that she doesn't meet the "criteria for a heroine's condition" because not a single character in the books she loves looks like her. Searching for characters with brown skin who "do magic, fight villains, and find lost cities of gold," she finds only stories of "struggle, hardship, and pain" and asks what it means "for a girl like me...to never see a face like mine." Undaunted, she opts to create her own stories of "cocoa-colored mer-people, honey-hued dragon slayers, and superheroes with locs." She invites readers to join her in making her "melanated words come to life" and in telling stories as "diverse as our skin." The energetic, upbeat text employing the occasional rhyme transmits an urgency designed to prompt readers to action. Colorful and imaginative illustrations show the spunky protagonist engulfed by towers of books and transported to storybook worlds peopled by brown-skinned characters.
A rousing call to action for more racially diverse children's literature.
— Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW