Friday, November 21, 2014

Diverse Books Theater

Update 11/25: There will be a print of the Diverse Books Theater piece in the ABFFE holiday auction Dec. 1-8. ABFFE stands for American Booksellers For Free Expression. They work to, promote and protect the free exchange of ideas, particularly those contained in books." For more information, visit ABFFE's site.

The prompt this week for  Illustration Friday is, "theatre", and the line that kept going through my head was, "All the world's a stage ... " It may originally be from Shakespeare, but it was the Rush song, Limelight, that looped over and over this week.

I was also thinking about the We Need Diverse Books Campaign* this week.

Those two ideas came together and became the Diverse Books Theater:

The original is quite large, so it's not easy to see everyone on stage (close-ups below). There are pairs of readers. Each one is holding a book that's the same as another person's book (kid on the floor goes with kid walking off stage - the book is tucked into the backpack). I tried to represent as diverse a cast of characters as possible to show that you never know who is going to like the same books you do. Books should represent all types of readers, reflecting our diverse world and diverse people who read those books.

* If you work with children's books (author, illustrator, publisher, agent, bookseller, librarian, teacher, etc.) you've probably heard of We Need Diverse Books. If you haven't heard of it, here's more info:

We Need Diverse Books is a nonprofit that aims to bring more diversity into books and publishing so that readers can see themselves in books, and will also have books that reflect our wonderfully diverse world. It's easier to have empathy and understanding of people who are different if we meet them in a book and see the world through their eyes. Children especially need to see themselves reflected in books, and meet other types children as well.

We Need Diverse Books is currently having an indigogo campaign (through Dec. 10) to help them with their mission of supporting current diverse books and getting them into the hands of kids, current and future diverse authors and illustrators, and diversity in publishing too. The campaign has all sorts of great perks to go with your pledge, or you can choose to forgo the perk and have your complete donation go to the campaign.

We Need Diverse Books has partnered with many children's book organizations to help support diversity in children's books, including: 

Please consider donating if you are able to!
We Need Diverse Books Indidgogo Campaign: link to donate here.  

Want to know more about We Need Diverse Books? Here are some links:

We Need Diverse Books website
(includes mission statement and recommended reading lists)

We Need Diverse Books on tumblr 
(inspiring and thoughtful posts as well as updates and reading lists)

We Need Diverse Books on Twitter

It's hard to see details on the whole picture above, so I thought I'd post three crops to better show the characters:

I can't decide if these two are shocked because of what they're reading, or if they are listening to something shocking (they're sharing headphones, so they're tuned in to the same thing). They like to read while they're waiting to play ... not sure what sport. I'm thinking basketball or volleyball. I've seen a few articles lately about artificial hands made from 3D printers. That's where the inspiration for the girl's colorful hand came from.

I imagine these two girls haven't seen each other in a while, so are happy to meet again, and surprised that they're reading the same book at the same time. The other character matches up to the one leaving the stage above.

I think these two characters just met and are discovering they have the same taste in books. I'm sensing there's a book club in their future. BTW, I've been seeing lots of people with hair like this guy lately ... also, it reminded me of drawing a chicken (I draw lots of chickens).

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