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Pro Tips from Authors of Color
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Learning Value
Adult publishing industry has traditionally been a less than welcoming place for writers of color. Acknowledging that this has been an issue, and offering stories of success, is important to young writers who need to be able to see that there are possibilities for them to take up this craft as well. Tips from writers are a great way to start students thinking about their own journeys in the field.

The book is divided into two major sections: "Starting from the blank page", and "Querying, publishing, and beyond". Each entry starts with an overview of the writer, the person's cultural background, works published, and a bit of personal information. This is helpful in any anthology, and I always use this to locate books by an author if I like a particular essay. Contributors include: Julie C. Dao, Chloe Gong, Joan He, Kosoko Jackson, Adiba Jaigirdar, Darcie Little Badger, Yamile Saied Mendez, Axie Oh, Laura Pohl, Cindy Pon, Karuna Riazi, Gail D. Villanueva, Julian Winters, and Kat Zhang. Some of these writers also write for the middle grade market.

Like most of the authors, Kosoko Jackson outlines a bit of his personal process in becoming a writer and becoming an author, including being comforted by seeing other authors of color who have already been through the process. Axie Oh tells readers that they will all have their own unique perspective to add to a topic, and this is even more important because writers of color have been historically ignored. Chloe Gong challenges what publishing "allows" writers to do, and Joan He discusses how characters change the story and fit into the plot. Kat Zhang outlines the ways that cultural tales informed her youth and are threaded into her stories. Pohl, who is Brazilian but chose to write in English, offers valuable information about the monetary motivation to write in English for more exposure. Cindy Pon's experiences show how the publishing market has changed since 2009, when she was told that "Asian fantasies don't sell". Villanueva delves into the reasons behind the Filipino bias towards lighter complections, and why it was so important for her characters to have darker ones. Winters addresses imposter syndrome, and Riazi talks about working within a system that has been controlled by white supremacist ideas. Mendez, who is from Argentina, had to learn about US children's literature while raising four children and trying to write, and Little Badger shows us her journey, as an example how how difficult it can be for marginalized writers to be successful. Finally, Dao talks about the difference between writers an authors, which was very interesting to me.

Good Points
The We Need Diverse Books movement started in 2014, and while the publishing industry still has problems, it's truly amazing how much change there has been. There is a much wider selection of cultures, gender identities, and view points offered in both Young Adult and Middle Grade Literature. This collection did seem to be very heavy on female and Asian voices, but for a small collection like this, I imagine it's hard to get submissions. This is a great choice for the aspiring young author who may have read books on writing craft like Carter's Dear Ally, Hanley's Wild Ink, or Klein's Second Sight, and fills a need to see more diverse voices represented.
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