The #CybilsReadDown is done! I have a few more books to review, but I read a lot.
Here are the books that have come into my life since my initial post – mostly purchased from local bookstores, but a couple sent from authors. The stack on the lower left is the one of books I haven’t read yet.
I realized looking over my bookshelves for possible remote story times that I didn’t choose most of the books on our picture book shelves – we just didn’t have the money to buy more than one a year when the kids were in day care. I bought A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin and We are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom, illustrated by Michaela Goade for myself. My daughter begged for Thunder Rose by Jerdine Nolan, illustrated by Kadir Nelson, saying it’s her favorite, favorite picture book. And we’d ordered Are Your Stars Like My Stars? by Leslie Helakoski, illustrated by Heidi Woodward Sheffield for an illustrator visit at her school that was sadly canceled.
These are mostly for my daughter, and she’s already read all of the ones pictured here many times.
- Stepping Stones by Lucy Knisley – Her first middle grade! I still want to read this one
- Sisters by Raina Telgemeier – she’s been begging for this. We had a copy that we loaned out to friends who moved away with it.
- Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy by Rey Teciero and Bre Indigo – we both love this.
- Unicorn Bowling and Camping with Unicorns by Dana Simpson – her comfort series
- Deep & Dark Blue by Niki Smith – not pictured, as it’s found a new home
Aka I decide I want to own all of Grace Lin’s middle grade books. I have read all of these now, though two of them I’d previously read from library copies.
- Year of the Dog, Year of the Rat and Dumpling Days by Grace Lin – my first time reading. My daughter is also loving these – she’s on her third time through Year of the Dog.
- When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin
- Mulan: Before the Sword by Grace Lin
- Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park – read yesterday, review coming soon!
- The Wolf of Cape Fen by Juliana Brandt (currently on loan to my mother)
- Devil’s Bane: Tales of a Fourth Grade Warrior by Ken MacGregor – a gift from the author, still need to read.
I haven’t read any of these yet, though I’ve started the first two.
- Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi
- Network Effect by Martha Wells – for reading aloud with my son
- This is my Brain in Love by I.W. Gregorio – won from Stacey Lee – thanks, Stacey!
- The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee – part of the above giveaway.
Total diversity score of books with BIPOC and/or LGBTQ authors: 14/22 or 64%.
Here is where I do some more thinking about my book purchasing habits. Mostly, I don’t buy books for myself. We don’t have the space and the money to buy these came out of the savings from not having to drive a couple hours a day to get to and from work and school.
I spend several hundred dollars a year on books for gifts, and we buy the kids nearly anything they want. Since graphic novels are my daughter’s favorite, we need to make a point of watching for the rare graphic novels by diverse creators when they come out – I notice an especial shortage of African-American graphic novels.
If I want to read a book that the library doesn’t have, especially if it’s a diverse book, I’m just as likely to ask the library to buy it, because that way it’s available for more people. When I’ve gotten good diverse books from publishers or authors, I usually donate finished copies to my daughter’s school library, which has next to no budget, and give ARCs directly to kids. That means all the books are finding good homes and I’m doing my best to help kids discover diverse authors. But it also means that my personal bookshelves are really white. I need to make a point of buying books by diverse authors when I do buy for myself, and of putting more on my wishlist for other people to buy for me as well. It would probably be good for me to buy books I really want for myself, and not just wait for other people to buy them for me. I’ll start with a goal of 50% of my purchased and wishlist books being by diverse authors.