Sunday, February 14, 2010

Blogger Spotlight! Color Online

Today's blogger spotlight is on susan from Color Online.
Susan is basically my blogging godmother. She really helped get me started, she gives me advice and encouragement when I needed and I can always talk to her.
She's amazing because not only does she post at Color Online everyday she also maintains the Color Online Facebook page and her own Black-Eyed Susan's blog. She also started Readers Aganist WhiteWashing (RAWW). She is beyond amazing! I don't know how she does it all.

1) Explain about your blog.
I started Color Online the blog initially to achieve two goals: teach young women how to use the blog application to express themselves by journaling or publishing creative writing and also to promote women writers of color, the work of writers we were regularly introducing to our young women. I hoped the blog would inform, support and promote to a larger audience.

What makes Color Online special is our focus on women writers of color. There are sites dedicated to African American readers, AA writers or women in general. We defined our scope so we could introduce our young charges first to women who like them and then to expose them to other POC women writers. We want them to see the world beyond their own experiences. Many book blogs focus on book reviews. My online background is founded in message board communities and my love for literature is based on discussion so we talk about literature. Interaction is central at Color Online.

2) What 2010 debut book are you most looking forward to? And non-debut?
Going to skip because I have to cheat on #3

3) What are your top five favorite POC books?

I read a lot of YA but I love adult literature, too. I will focus on recently read books and I’m sticking with women writers of color with female leads. This is the fairest way for me to
narrow down to six YA and one adult.

A Wish After Midnight by Zetta Elliott
The Rock and The River by Kekla Magoon
The Secret Keeper by Mitali Perkins
Shine, Coconut Moon by Neesha Meminger
Down To The Bone by Mayra Lazara Dole
Mare's War by Tanita Davis
And my one adult title, and not a recently read, The Farming of Bones by Edwidge Danticat

4)What can be found at Color Online?

a) New Crayons- weekly feature highlighting POC books we’ve added to our virtual
b) Color Me Brown Links- links to reviews to bloggers who read and review POC
c) Color Online Quiz. Weekly. Win free book of your choice
d) Sunday Salon- Weekly query related to literature, culture and literacy
e) Color Online Reviews- written by staff and members
f) Women Writers of Color- regular feature highlighting established or emerging
g) Color Online Love Alert (COLA)- highlighting bloggers, writers, sites that
promote and celebrate multiculturalism
h) Color Online Book discussion- new feature. Monthly reads. Will alternate
adult/YA titles
i) Poetry Friday- we feature poetry written by women of color
j) Giveaways- we give away books every opportunity possible. We believe books
are to be shared.
k) Book Loan- we have books for loan. Maintaining this library means more
readers have access

Site has multiple access points to make navigation easy. Check out our writers menu tab and our general site tab. Sidebar images are direct links to Color Online articles or noteworthy articles at other sites.

5) If you could have dinner with two POC characters from any book who would it
be and why?

Two? You’re killing me. I’m going to say Genna from A Wish After Midnight because she is the girl I wish I had been. I’d like to think if I had been in her situation, I’d have the courage she did and I’d share with her that more girls than not have felt they didn't fit in and they struggled with their identity. I'd like to talk to Amabelle from The Farming of Bones. I’d want to tell her how much it hurt to know how alone she was, that I thought no one should suffer that kind of pain alone. I’d tell her that she was loved and someone cared that she was going through what she did. I’d tell her I mourned her death.

Advice for those who are just starting to blog?

In the beginning, be more of a reader/commenter at other sites. Get a feel before you start-up

a) Visiting others is the fastest way to find options for what you want to do and how.

b) Interaction fosters community and interaction will increase traffic to your site

c) Relax. Experiment and give yourself permission to decide what you want

Finally any advice to those who want to read POC?

There are more sites and activities than there were when I began blogging. There’s no excuse for not being able to find POC. Here’s a short list of blogs, challenges and clearing house sites:

The Happy Nappy Bookseller
Crazy Quilts
Paper Tigers
Multiculturalism Rocks
American Indians in Children’s Literature

Color Online
Asian In The Heart, World On the Mind
Charlotte’s Library
Mitali’s Fire Escape

A Chair, a Fireplace & A Tea Cozy
Cynical, Ornery, Sublime, Lush
Chasing Ray
Gal Novelty

Into the Wardrobe
Black-Eyed Susan
Brown Paper
White Readers Meet Black Authors
A Striped Armchair

Things Mean A Lot
Rhapsody In Books
Flip the Page

POC Reading Challenge
Color Me Brown Links
CORA Diversity Roll Coll (hosted by Color Online and Ali at Worducopia)
Social Justice Reading Challenge
Writers of Color 50 POC book challenge

Readers Against WhiteWashing (Facebook)
Diversify Your Reading
African American Science fiction Writers
Writers Against Racism Series at School Library Journa

Thank you so much for this interview susan! Everyone go check out at Color Online.


  1. I am happy to support Susan! I have bought several POC books due to her influence :)

  2. Great interview and blog! It’s really helpful to have a post with book recommendations and blog links.

    Although it’s adult literary fiction, I’d highly recommend Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead about teenaged boys in an African American summer community dealing with identity. He has a strong voice. I reviewed Sag Harbor on my blog last August.

    Other wonderful PoC authors in literary fiction: On Beauty by Zadie Smith, Louise Erdrich (adult & MG), Jhumpa Lahiri and Isabelle Allende (adult & YA.)

  3. Sarah,

    A few of my friends have read and recommended Whitehead. I visited your blog and I saw the review.

    At Color Online we are working hard to increase our focus on adult fiction writers and while we love YA, we do value a good literary novel, too.

    Thank you.

  4. Lenore,

    You have been a great supporter. I am glad we met and I really appreciate what you have done. Glad you have found some new reads.

  5. Ari,

    You make me blush. And what you do is more than I could have done: you've reached teens. And for that, I can't thank you enough. I'm proud to be your godmother (as if you needed another parental figure).

  6. I love what you are doing with your blog. Women of all nationalities love to learn about one another and this is a great forum with loads of information available in one place. Thank you for what you have done for all of us.

  7. Susan is a force to be reckoned with...and like you, Miss A, she has worked tirelessly to promote not only me and my book, but so many other authors of color who would otherwise go thanks to you both!

  8. Thanks for the great interview! I'm honored to be included in the list of blogs.

  9. Great interview, Ari and Susan! The Farming of Bones is my favorite adult novel too. And I'm glad you cover adult books, particularly those suitable for YA readers, because in fact the line between what is adult and what is YA can be blurry. I hate it when people look down on YA fiction and consider it a "lesser" literature--A WIsh After Midnight, for example, stands up against any adult novel I've read. Considering YA and adult literature together, I think, takes each book seriously without considering one better than another because of how it was published.

  10. Nice, ladies! Susan, thanks for reminding me of all you do! I get in the habit of going just for the current post and there is so much on your site!

  11. Lyn,

    Arg! I'm sorry I left your site off the list. Ari please add Lyn's site.

    I'm flattered. Thank you all. Zetta, you're really kind. I'm surprised you're not tired of having to calm me down.

  12. Yay Susan spotlight! =D Awesome interview. I'm half-scared and half-drawn towards The Farming of Bones. Because, you know, the death thing T_T but Annabelle sounds like an awesome character.
    And omg I just realized something about the poem I suggested last week: I rec'ed a poem by a man. For some reason it didn't sink into my thick skull that Poetry Friday was spotlighting women POC poets so that's why I rec'd Li-Young Lee's stuff. T_T It wasn't intentional, and I'll try to do better next time

  13. @Ah Yuan: Be careful where you read The Farming of Bones. I took it along when I chaperoned my son's fifth grade end-of-year trip, and I had to hide my tears from him and some three dozen of his classmates on the bus.

    @Susan: Thanks for including my blog! I'm actually thinking of starting a new one that has a comment function, which iWeb does not, and focusing on the intersection of YA and adult literature. My goal is to have it up by this summer.

  14. Ari, thank you for another great interview. Your blog is such an amazing resource!

    Aaaaah, Susan. Where do I even start? Reading about all, I meant ALL the resources that Color Online provide to women made my head spin. :) You know Ari's blog is a safe place to open up. It's okay to tell us that you have super power abilities... :D


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