KidLitosphere Conference

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Kidlitosphere Conference 2014

The 8th annual Kidlitosphere Conference, aka KidLitCon, will be held October 10th and 11th at the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria in Sacramento, CA. 

KidLitCon is a gathering of people who blog about children’s and young adult books, including librarians, authors, teachers, parents, booksellers, publishers, and readers. Attendees share a love of children’s books, as well as a determination to get the right books into young readers’ hands. People attend KidLitCon to talk about issues like the publisher/blogger relationship, the benefits and pitfalls of writing critical reviews, and overcoming blogger burnout. People also attend KidLitCon for the chance to spend time face to face with kindred spirits, other adults who care passionately for children’s and YA literature. 

This year’s theme for KidLitCon is: Blogging Diversity in Young Adult and Children’s Lit: What’s Next?

Members of the Kidlitosphere have been talking about the need for more diversity in children’s books for several years now, starting back when Paper Tigers launched with a view of discussing multicultural children’s literature. There was outrage within the community when the cover of Justine Larbalestier’s LIAR was whitewashed, and discussions of other books followed. More recently, children’s and young adult authors have used blogs, Tumblr, and Twitter to make a much louder demand for more diversity in publishing, through the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign. Other bloggers are listening and responding. Pam Coughlan just announced that the focus of this year’s 48-Hour Book Challenge at MotherReader will be on reading diverse books. The Cybils organization has been combing through past shortlists, to come up with lists of diverse titles. The pictures and posts on this topic are too many to count. And that’s a fine thing.

What we would like to do with this year’s KidLitCon (along with our usual goals) is discuss what book bloggers can do to make a meaningful difference in increasing diversity in children’s and young adult literature. This year’s keynote speaker will be Mitali Perkins, an author whose focus has long been on “books between cultures for young readers”. Among other things, Mitali will talk about how bloggers can be agents of change in the conversation about diversity in children’s and young adult literature. Shannon Hale, who has written eloquently on the need for writing non-neutral characters, and who helped launch the Great Green Heist Challenge, is also expected to participate in the conference via Skype.

We will talk about other issues of interest to children’s and YA book bloggers, too. But it is also our hope to make a bit of noise on behalf of diversity in children’s literature. It is past time for that. 

The Tsakopoulos Library Galleria is a beautiful meeting space, located in California’s State Capitol. We are finalizing details on a room block at a nearby hotel. Registration information and a call for session proposals will be published soon. While we do not have the final schedule yet, we are planning to have sessions starting mid-morning on Friday and going through Saturday, with evening events Friday and Saturday nights. 

We hope that you will mark October 10th and 11th on your calendar, and start thinking about how you would like to contribute to the conversation on children’s and young adult book blogging. This year’s conference program is hereThe conference registration form is here. The deadline for registration is September 26th. 

Tanita Davis and Sarah Stevenson, Finding Wonderland
Jen Robinson, Jen Robinson’s Book Page

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