Book Beat: Women Leading the Fight for Diverse Books, Authors, and Stores

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Hi, book lovers! Ashley, again! I just finished 13 Reasons Why on Netflix this weekend, and I’m still reeling from the Big Little Lies finale. So I’m definitely adding those two to my summer book list. What are you reading and loving?

When I was a young girl and a young reader, Beverly Cleary was one of my favourite authors. I empathized with Ramona; she was unapologetically young and easily excited, and her family struggled often. My favourite story was when Ramona got sick one day at school and got to stay at home with her mother, because that too was one of my favourite things. I wasn’t the only one. Ramona and her stories seemed to resonate with everyone in my grade! It’s hard to remember that the first book in the series was published in 1955! That was when my mother was born! Something about her narrative endured decades, and so, as this year is Beverly Clearly’s 101 birthday, pick up and read one of the Ramona Quimby books, because the nostalgia and that character will always endure. You can read more about the awesome series here.

I’ll be honest with you, I wasn’t that impressed with David Lagercrantz’s The Girl in the Spider Web. I think Stieg Larsson had such a certain writing style that I loved that I could tell it wasn’t his story with the last book. It didn’t really add anything to Salander’s character, but I did like the addition and backstory on her sister. So I had some reservations when I heard the new title for the fifth book announced, which is The Girl Who Takes An Eye For An Eye. But, hey, I’ll give it a shot, because I love Lisabeth. You can read more about the release of the new title here.

In some good news, Kaya Thomas loved growing up reading books and is a self-proclaimed “nerdy black girl.” She saw that the characters in the books she was reading did not reflect her identity and made her feel invisible. Now, a student at Dartmouth College, she searched the internet and made her own list of books written by authors of colour and with characters of colour. After taking part in a hackathon, she created an iPhone app that has 300 books with characters of colour. You can read more about the amazing app and initiative here.

Speaking of characters of colour, Angela Maria Spring worked as a manager of a bookstore for 16 years before launching a Kickstarter campaign to fund the creation of her own store that will be run by diverse staff. She wants to create a literary space for diversity in a field that doesn’t really want to take on the task. You can read more about her store here.

For all my Montreal friends, Indigo is having a huge book sale where select books are $10 or less! You heard that right! So head down there if you’re a resident or visiting! Happy Thursday!

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About Author

Ashley is a proud Torontonian, third year social worker student, full time child advocate and national award winning writer. She will defend Anakin Skywalker and Jon Snow till she dies.

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