Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: Clone Codes + Another Cover Changed and Identifying Diverse Publishing Companies

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers is changing the covers of the Mysterious Benedict Society series by Trenton Lee. Read more about it here Again thank you guys for speaking up and speaking out! I'm just sorry we missed it, I intend on doing a better job in demanding accurate, non-white washed covers and more diversity in publishing.

I'm with the Rejectionist, are you? Go on over there and leave a comment with your support (or y'know you could just leave a comment here, that works too, haha). No retreat, no surrender. We have to keep fighting and speaking out. For my part, I encourage people to join two Facebook groups, Don't Publish A Book With An Inaccurate Cover and Readers Against
WhiteWashing. Another thing I want to do (besides reading/reviewing/emailing/commenting/buying YA/MG books about POC) is figure out which publishing companies have the most diverse selections of YA/MG books. I'm going to start labeling my reviews with the publishing houses so people can see the results for themselves. I'll have to go back and label all my old reviews. Not only should we call out the companies that don't do a good job, but we should praise and support those who do. Doret got the ball rolling by praising Simon & Schuster. I'd love to see who everyone thinks the best publishing company is going to be. My top three guesses are (and I haven't started tallying them up yet so this is a complete guess); Random House, Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins. I think Little & Brown and Putnam will put in a decent showing. I'm really curious to see what the results will be, but I need some help. Not only am I going to look at my old reviews, but I'm also going to look at 2009-2010 book catalogues, how many POC are on the cover and how well the book is promoted. I need help identifying the major publishing companies that I should research. Here' s the companies (in random order) I'm considering (agree? disagree? leave a comment). Remember, I'm only looking at MG/YA.

ETA 1/28/10: I'm so bad with remembering that publishers have many different divisions! Ok I've fixed it. Also, in March I will be spotlighting the smaller, indie publishing companies. I can't figure out if Scholastic is an imprint of Harper Collins? I didn't think it was. Anyone know for sure?

1. Random House
2. Harper Collins
3. Simon & Schuster
4. Penguin
5. Candlewick
6. Scholastic
7. Hachette
8. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Also, if you're a librarian or bookseller, please vote in this poll (actually it's on the sidebar but read the post for more information). The poll asks how often YA/MG books with POC faces on them sells or gets checked out. I'm really interested in reading the results, you have 2 days left to vote!

Finally, at Read Roger there's a post about Who Will Read about Whom? Check it out and Neesha Meminger's response.

Oh and I thought this was a really interesting discussion over at Fledging. It's about What is Street Lit? I recommend everyone read it, especially if you think every African American book is street lit. Yes, you would be wrong.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming :)
Waiting on Wednesday is a meme started by Jill. It's when we book lovers share what books we can't wait to be released. This week I'm waiting on....

The Clone Codes by Patricia C. McKissack, Fredrick McKissack and John McKissack.

Release Date: Feb. 1, 2010

Publisher: Scholastic

The Cyborg Wars are over and Earth has peacefully prospered for more than one hundred years. Yet sometimes history must repeat itself until humanity learns from its mistakes. In the year 2170, despite technological and political advances, cyborgs and clones are treated no better than slaves, and an underground abolitionist movement is fighting for freedom. Thirteen-year-old Leanna's entire life is thrown into chaos when The World Federation of Nations discovers her mom is part of the radical Liberty Bell Movement.

After her mother's arrest for treason, Leanna must escape as she is chased by a ruthless bounty hunter. Soon Leanna finds herself living among the Firsts, and nothing will ever be the same again. But what does The World Federation want with the daughter of a traitor? So much is uncertain. Danger hides everywhere. Fear takes over. With help from unlikely sources, Leanna learns the origin of The Liberty Bell Movement and how its members may have answers about her past-and her new reality.

As family secrets are revealed, Leanna must face startling truths about self-identity and freedom. Through time travel, advanced technologies, and artificial intelligence, this exhilarating adventure asks what it means to be human and explores the sacrifices an entire society will make to find out.

-I'm pretty sure this is MG and it sounds really good especially the whole cyborg and clones treated as slaves and the underground abolitionist movement. And I love the little end line "what it means to be human and explores the sacrifices an entire society will make to find out." I'm curious do authors come up with the tag lines and their book summaries or do editors or someone else? I think it's really cool how the book is a family effort (mother, father, son)

PS Speaking of MG, you have till Sunday, Jan. 31 to vote on the 100 Best Middle Grade Books. Send an email to Besty listing your top ten favorite middle grade books. And please, consider coloring it up. After all, chances are the white classics (and I don't mean classics that only white people like, I mean classics with white people as the main characters) will be on the list, but what about the classics with POC (I'm telling you right now I nominated The Watsons Go to Birmingham).


  1. Ari I am loving your subtle hint - (I'm telling you right now I nominated The Watsons Go to Birmingham).

    I nominated Bud Not Buddy

    And has far as diversity with the publishers goes -

    1 Simon and Schuster
    1 Random House (a very close 2nd)
    3 Scholastic
    4 Harper Collins
    5 Penguin
    6 Little Brown

  2. Ari,

    thanks for all the links. Great job on your post, as usual!

    The idea of showcasing publishers with the most POC books out is great! I also wish publishers that are solely dedicated to POC to be on the spotlight (building database over at MR) and maybe identified as such?



  3. I'll be excited to see the results of which publishing house has the most color. :-)

    Clone Codes looks excellent.

  4. @Doret-Is that your guess or do you know for sure? I agree with it. I read Bud, Not Buddy awhile ago and I remember I liked it but I wasn't sure if I loved it. I need to re-read it. I'm determined to re-read Watsons and Bud, Not Buddy in Feb.

    @Nathalie-Thank you =) That's a good idea too, I'll work on that! Hyperion jumps to mind as does Kimani Tru and Delacorte. That will be my next project.

    @April-It will be interesting. And I'm most eager to read Clone Codes.

  5. One major publisher not on your list (besides Bloomsbury, which I assume you have a reason for leaving off... LOL) would be Macmillian Book Group. I'm not sure if you left them off on purpose or not, but I figured I'd mention it just in case. Macmillian has Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Feiwel & Friends, Flash Point, Henry Holt, Hill and Wang, Roaring Brook, Square Fish, St. Martins Press, Starscape and Tor Teen as part of it.

  6. Putnam is part of Penguin, and Scholastic bills through Hapercollins (I'm not sure exactly what they're relationship is besides that though). Little Brown is part of Hachette Book Group. Also, Bloomsbury is part of Macmillan (also sometimes known as MPS or St. Martin's). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is another major publisher.

    I agree, Simon & Schuster does an okay job. I noticed it when I was reordering POC books for our kids section -- alot of them were put out by S&S. They also do Virginia Hamilton's books which have gorgeous L&D Dillon covers.

    In my opinion Scholastic does a pretty crappy job. I'm waiting on some comp copies to make they're way to me so that I post more explicitly about their current hijinks, but my feeling is scholastic = ugh.

    What about smaller/independent publishers that are doing a good job? I saw some good stuff coming out of PGW's (Publisher's Group West) catalogue this month. They distribute a ton of indie publishers from all over who don't seem to be buying into the merch-y cover-oriented design idea. Lee & Low does a good job too.

  7. Saffron Press is a [very] small indie press, cracking open their entry into publishing with a Sikh boy displayed proudly on the cover of a children's picture book - A Lion's Mane.

    A vibrant red dastaar [Sikh turban] flows through each page of the book connecting a young Sikh boy's identity to global cultures. "I have a lion's mane and I am different, just like you. Do you know who I am?"

  8. I'd suggest Candlewick Press. My Gothic fantasy series has a diverse cast--protagonists include a Chinese-Scottish girl and Latino boy, and, for example, the angel Joshua's appearance is consistent with African heritage (though of course since he's an angel, he's from heaven). And anyway, the company has been highly supportive of my approach. Titles also include M.T. Anderson's Octavian Nothing Books. See:

    I'd also be sure to check out Lee & Low, which is now publishing novels, Charlesbridge, and especially Cinco Puntos, based in El Paso--a terrific source for YA novels, including many that reflect life around the Texas-Mexico border. Cinco Puntos also publishes Choctaw author, Tim Tingle, which reminds me--especially folks looking for Native authors should be sure not to overlook the Canadian house.

  9. @Alyssa-I did and I didn't. It was pointed out to me in a comment on this post that Bloomsbury is a division of Macmillian and I added Macmillian to the list (I edited the post to include the name of the actual company)

    @DontBoxsarah-Thank you for clearing that up for me. I always forget publishing companies have divisons catering to young adults and kids. Good to know about scholastic, I'm not even sure if I own any books by them. Do you know who owns Razorbill? Next up is the smaller, POC friendly, indie companies :)

    @Saffron Press-Hooray! And thanks for stopping by. However I'm only looking at MG/YA and big publishing companies for now. Smaller publishing companies are next.

    @Cynthia-I totally dind't mean to forget Candlewick! Especially because I really liked Chameleon and Eternal =) And I can't wait to start Octavian Nothing. I didn't know about Cinco Puntos (I think I have heard the name but never checked out the site). Thanks for pointing that out to me.

    @donna-Yay! Thanks

  10. no problem. Razorbill is also part of Penguin. If you go here you can see a list of Penguin's divisions on the frame to the left.

  11. I have Clone Codes in my TBR pile, really looks interesting. And I nominated WATSONS too. :)


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