Happy Friday, friends! Today is a very special day here on Pop! Goes The Reader as I have the honour of introducing a new annual event that will take place on the blog throughout the month of October – Raise Your Voice! I’ve been quietly planning and organizing this series behind the scenes of Pop! Goes The Reader for close to a month now and I’m thrilled that I can finally share all the details with you!
What is Raise Your Voice, you ask? Keep reading to find out!
Raise Your Voice is a special annual month-long series on Pop! Goes The Reader whose purpose is to celebrate diversity and inclusivity in literature, with a particular emphasis on #OwnVoices stories. In it, authors recommend books with sensitive, positive and accurate representation that will help to create a resource of diverse books that marginalized readers can turn to when they need them most. Your voice matters. Raise it!
Representation matters. Every reader deserves to see their experience accurately, sensitively and positively portrayed in the pages of the books they read. Every reader deserves to know with absolute certainty that they are the hero or heroine of their own story. Every reader deserves to be shown that their wildest dreams and ambitions can come true, regardless of their race, gender identity, or sexual orientation. While it’s clear that publishing (and the world at large) have a great deal more work to do in the area of diversity and inclusivity I have to believe that, together, these will not merely be idealistic goals, but an unquestionable, achievable reality. We cannot allow the ignorant, the racist, the bigoted and the homophobic pollute and prejudice the readers of today and the leaders of tomorrow. We can do better. We must do better.
In response to the troubling, problematic and offensive attitudes recently expressed about diversity in literature by some members of the book community, Raise Your Voice is an attempt to demonstrate how important and powerful inclusive fiction truly is. Over the course of the series, twenty authors will be raising their collective voices to effect positive change, highlighting books with sensitive and accurate representation of issues of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, body positivity and neurodiversity. While it’s crucial to identify poor representation and critically examine what went wrong and how to improve on these failures in the future, I believe it’s equally important to celebrate those books that get it right. This is particularly true in the case of #OwnVoices stories, in which authors are courageously and generously sharing a piece of themselves and their own experiences.
I would like to take a moment to thank all of the authors below whose participation made Raise Your Voice possible. Planning this event was a labour of love and an absolute whirlwind unlike anything I’ve experienced before and I’m incredibly honoured and humbled that these twenty authors were willing to generously give their attention, time and energy to help make it a reality. I will never be able to express the depth of my gratitude. I would also like to thank Vicki Tsai, the spectacularly talented illustrator responsible for all of Pop! Goes The Reader’s illustrations. Pop! Goes The Reader wouldn’t be nearly as special or as beautiful without her wonderful, thoughtful, creative work and I can’t imagine having collaborated with anyone else on the image for the Raise Your Voice event. She makes the impossible possible.
Want to see who will be visiting Pop! Goes The Reader this October? You can find a complete list of the participants and their scheduled guest post dates below!
I sincerely hope you will stop by Pop! Goes The Reader this October as these twenty authors use their invaluable experience and unique perspective to recommend stories with representation that heals instead of harms, that makes the world a little brighter, and that will help every reader feel a little less alone.