Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Jacqueline Woodson Wins The National Book Award... And Awards Show Host Daniel Handler Gets Called Out For Racist Comments

There's a lot of attention being paid to Daniel Handler's comments made at the awards ceremony last Wednesday, directly after Jacqueline Woodson's win of the National Book Award for her middle grade memoir, "Brown Girl Dreaming."

But what's getting lost in the discussion are Jackie's own words - her acceptance speech, her grace, and her passion, thanking the community for our love of books and for changing the world.

Courtesy of c-span, here's the edited down nine minutes of the National Book Award ceremony.

Go here to see the video of Jacqueline Woodson (right) accepting her National Book Award from Sharon Draper

While there are enough voices Monday morning quarterbacking the individual and systemic racism (intended or not), enough of an outcry was made that in addition to a social-media-issued apology, Daniel donated $10,000.00 (with a matching donation of up to $90,000.00 additional within the first 24 hours) to the #WeNeedDiverseBooks indieGoGo crowdfunding campaign.

Hopefully the attention can bring about not just heightened awareness, but change for the better throughout our industry.

And as it should be, the final word is Jacqueline's:

"I'd rather continue to move the dialogue forward in a positive light rather than a negative one. This is a moment when our country can grow and learn and better understand each other. It would be nice to put the energy back where it should be -- on the books and what the books are saying and doing -- Redeployment is an astounding novel, Gl├╝ck is nothing short of an amazing poet. I don't know Osnos' book yet but I plan to read it. Brown Girl Dreaming is about writing and about the history of this country. But more than that, it's about what this conversation should be -- a coming to understanding across lines of race."

*** UPDATE: Jacqueline Woodson wrote an important piece about this in the New York Times, published Sat Nov 29, 2014, "The Pain of the Watermelon Joke" *** 

Congratulations to Jacqueline, and for all of us, let's Illustrate and Write On,

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