#WeNeedDiverse Books

What is your role?

Thinking Differently About Diverse Books

Why do we need diverse books? What's at the heart of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks movement? Why don't we have enough diverse books? These and many other questions will be the topic of our Colloquium conversation on Wednesday, November 18.

Come meet authors Marina Budhos and Janet Wong along with children's book editor Stacey Barney, children’s book critic Shelley Diaz, and school librarian and children’s literature expert Roxanne Hsu Feldman. Join us for a deep dive into this important and timely topic. Our own SC&I Professor Marc Aronson will moderate the discussion.

Some questions to think about before Colloquium:
  • What would diverse books they do for my audience/community/students?
  • How do / how should we promote diverse books in our libraries?
  • How do we evaluate diverse books?
  • In what ways is #WeNeedDiverseBooks a social justice issue?
  • What are we not yet talking about?


6:15 - 7:00: Knowledge Cafe - Extreme makeover - Book Talk Edition
7:00 - 7:10: Joyce Valenza - Welcome to our on-site and online participants

7:10 - 7:20: Mark Aronson - Introduction / Framing the conversation

7:20 - 8:15: Panel - Stacey Barney, Shelley Diaz, Roxanne Feldman, Janet Wong

8:15 - 8:25: Q & A

8:25 - 8:30: Ross Todd - Chairman of the LIS Department - Closing remarks

We will be streaming this lecture live beginning at 7pm EDT

Our Panel

Professor Marc Aronson - Moderator

Marc Aronson has worked as an editor and publisher of books for children and teenagers for over 25 years. At Holt, he created EDGE, the first imprint devoted to international and multicultural books for teenagers. His own award-winning books often attempt to link US and world history, and to explore issues such as the history of the idea of race. He is an Assistant Teaching Professor at Rutgers University. His next book will be his second collaboration with Marina Budhos -- The Eyes of the World: How Robert Capa and Gerda Taro Invented Modern Photojournalism.

Marina Budhos - Novelist and Nonfiction Writer

Marina Budhos is a novelist and nonfiction writer who writes for both teenagers and adults. Her award-winning novel, Ask Me No Questions explores the impact of the Patriot Act on a Bangladeshi family living in New York. Watched, a contemporary YA novel, centers on Muslim community experiencing continual surveillance and young people pressured by the police or FBI to become informants. Marina is an Associate Professor at William Paterson University where she teaches English, Creative Writing, and Asian Studies

Stacey Barney - Senior Editor at Penguin / Putnam

Stacey Barney is a Senior Editor at Penguin/Putnam. She acquires middle grade, young adult and select nonfiction and picture books. Most recently, she has edited the 2015 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award-winning Firebird by Misty Copeland and Christopher Myers as well as The Wrath and the Dawn, a sumptuous retelling of Arabian Nights by debut author Renee Ahdieh. Stacey also has the pleasure of editing Kristin Levine (The Lions of Little Rock), Tara Sullivan (Golden Boy) and Sheila O’Connor (Sparrow Road). Presently, Stacey is excited about a German translation titled You Can’t See the Elephants, already an international award winner, making its American debut.

Shelly Diaz - Children's Book Critic and Editor

Shelley Diaz has worked in several areas of children’s publishing, from licensing to book scouting. She was the coeditor of Caridad Ferrer’s So She Dances and Gloria Whelan’s The Disappeared. Currently, she is Senior Editor or Reviews at School Library Journal, Shelley has a MLIS from Queens College and is the editor of the SLJTeen newsletter. She edits book reviews, conducts author interviews, and writes news articles on diversity issues. She can be found tweeting about books, TV shows, and movies @sdiaz101.

Roxanne Hsu Feldman - Children's and Middle School Librarian

Roxanne Hsu Feldman has been a Children's and Middle School Librarian for more than two decades, in New York City. She originally came from Taiwan and obtained her Masters degree in Children's Literature from Simmons College, Boston. For the past 20 years, Roxanne has served on The Newbery Committee, Best Fiction for Young Adults and Notable Children's Books Committees, and other award committees such as the Asian Pacific American Literary Award. She records her reading notes and thoughts on children's and YA literature at Fairrosa Cyber Library: http://fairrosa.com

Janet Wong - Children's Poet and Publisher

Janet Wong is a former lawyer who switched careers and became a children’s poet. She has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN’s Paula Zahn Show, and Radical Sabbatical. Author of 30 children’s books on writing, dumpster diving, diversity, chess, and more, Wong is a frequent speaker at schools and conferences. She also is Program Chair of the ILA Literacy and Social Responsibility SIG and past chair of the Notable Books for a Global Society committee. Her company Pomelo Books has published 700+ poems by 150+ poets representing a wide spectrum of backgrounds and experiences.

Director: Joyce Valenza

MI Program Director, Assistant Teaching Professor - Library and Information Science at the School of Communication & Information at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey

Instructor: Connie Pascal

MI Program Assistant and Colloquium Coordinator; PhD Student - Library and Information Science at the School of Communication & Information at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey

Alexander Library, Scholarly Communications Center (SCC)

Wednesday, Nov. 18th, 6:30-8:30pm

169 College Avenue

New Brunswick, NJ

Knowledge Cafe at 6:15pm - Lobby of the SCC
Contact: Connie Pascal connie.pascal@rutgers.edu for further information.

RSVPs are enabled for this event.