FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Elizabeth Shreve | 202-362-0770 | elizabeth@shrevewilliams.com

 

KIRKUS MEDIA, LLC LAUNCHES KIRKUS COLLECTIONS, A NATIONWIDE INITIATIVE TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEM OF DIVERSITY IN CHILDREN’S AND TEEN LITERATURE

AUSTIN, TX, September 13, 2017— Kirkus Media, LLC, publisher of Kirkus Reviews, announced today the launch of Kirkus Collections, a major initiative aimed at attacking, in a groundbreaking and sustainable way, the profound and long-standing problem of diversity in children’s and teen literature. Over the past several decades, while diversity discussion in publishing may appear to be increasing, the actual percentage of books in which historically underrepresented children can find themselves has woefully plateaued. The great majority of children’s and young adult books published in the U.S. are still being created by white authors and illustrators. Further, without direct connections between diversity curation and the supply chain, the challenge of connecting young readers to books that reflect themselves or their lives becomes too great to solve. With Kirkus Collections, a free curation service, librarians will be able to build and continually update hand-curated collections with strict standards for sensitivity across thematic issues and literary merit, thereby enabling them to meet the specific diversity needs of their communities. To facilitate the distribution of Kirkus’ diversity collections into large library systems and diverse markets around the country, Kirkus has announced a bold and innovative partnership with Baker & Taylor, the country’s leading library supplier.

Kirkus Collections’ inaugural lists are the result of a process that builds on the diverse voices of Kirkus’ children’s and Young Adult reviewers and the work of the editors of Kirkus Reviews, with added input from a team of diversity experts who help ensure the selections meet modern standards of sensitivity and respect. The diversity collections are grouped in thematic lists within categories—race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or disability—and then further categorized by considering the desired reading experience, finally addressing the demand for contextual information around diversity content. This consideration of reading experience makes it possible for children to find books that teach about slavery or civil rights if they are looking to learn about history, for example, or points them to coming-of-age stories with characters who experience similar social and family dynamics if they are seeking cultural identification. Baker & Taylor then makes the curated collections available on Title Source 360, its ordering interface, where librarians can sort, filter and place orders, further diversifying their collections in fell swoops rather than bit by bit.

To help librarians generate awareness of their acquisition of more diverse books, Kirkus has created a community outreach campaign called My Library. All Voices. #MLAV. Designed to attract cardholders who may have struggled to find books that would connect on a personal or cultural level for their children in the past, as well as to highlight the importance of diverse reading at an early age, the My Library. All Voices. campaign offers direct-mail pieces for free download or printed for purchase, posters, bookmarks, and an array of free online marketing tools.

In addition to the national launch of Kirkus Collections, the August 2017 issue of Kirkus Reviews—its Diversity Issue—features a vibrant discussion about diversity in children’s books with several prominent voices, ranging from librarians, children’s book reviewers, YA writers, middle-grade writers, and picture-book creators. Joining such organizations as We Need Diverse Books and the #ownvoices movement, Kirkus Collections is Kirkus’ contribution and commitment to creatively attacking the problem of diversity in children’s and teen literature.

Kirkus CEO Meg LaBorde Kuehn had this to say about Kirkus Collections: “Reading fosters a profound understanding of self and others. Now more than ever, children need books that reflect their life experiences and help them understand other cultures and lifestyles. We are dedicated to continuing the inspiring work of many in our industry who have been pouring blood, sweat and tears into the cause of diversity in children’s and teen literature for decades. Kirkus Collections will effect meaningful change by finally making it easy for librarians to find and order books they can trust to meet modern standards of sensitivity and respect as well as literary merit.”

Baker & Taylor Executive Vice President, Digital Content, Software Products Services & Sales Amandeep Kochar adds: “Baker & Taylor partners with libraries worldwide in service of their communities and we are endeavoring to do just that with this new offering. With the Kirkus Collections available through our Title Source 360 platform, our library customers will easily find the materials needed to meet the demand for more diversity-focused books. We believe libraries across America and worldwide will embrace this material on a scale not previously achieved as they seek to provide a better reading experience for their patrons.”

 

Founded in 1933, Kirkus has been an authoritative voice in book discovery for over 80 years. Kirkus Reviews magazine gives industry professionals a sneak peek at the most notable books being published weeks before they’re released. When the books become available for purchase, Kirkus serves the reviews to consumers in a weekly email newsletter and on kirkus.com, giving readers unbiased, critical recommendations they can trust.

Kirkus also has a full suite of professional services, including Kirkus Indie, a review service for self-publishers; Kirkus Editorial, book editorial services for publishers as well as unpublished and self-published authors; and Kirkus Pro Connect, a platform that helps authors get discovered by industry influencers, such as publishers, agents and film executives. For more information, visit www.kirkus.com.

 

https://www.kirkusreviews.com/diversity/ | MY LIBRARY. ALL VOICES. #MLAV | @KirkusReviews

 

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