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October 28, 2014


Rosemary A. Blodgett (@RosemaryAubry)

I first learned about WNDB from Twitter. I only had the courage to start seriously writing in 2010 and I'm a middle aged white woman. The movement had me taking a critical eye at how I'd been picking and developing characters.

I went to my first book festival (in Baltimore) this September. Yeah I'll admit I was primarily there to fan girl over Marissa Meyer. I love the Lunar Chronicles series. The bonus was the panels on writing! I was very excited to see WNDB had two panels as I wanted to learn more about the movement. The authors did a wonderful job informing the audience which cemented my desire to support them. In more ways than one I hope but I started by donating. Can't wait to show off my tote bag, especially at write-ins.

I grew up in the 70's with divorcing parents and know how important books were to me for escape and to find solace in the characters. Obviously I've never had a problem as a child or adult finding white girls to relate to. But I want to relate to a lot of other voices too. I hope this movement sparks awareness and encourages writers to write with more diversity and readers to find books that speak to them.

Annaliese Lemmon

Even before the WNDB campaign, I had been researching what exactly racism for a novel. The stories about how hurt people were to not be included, or to be included only stereotypically hurt, and then I loved to see the joy that happened when someone finally saw a character that looked like them. It has made me seriously consider the character choices in my novels, and yes, I have flipped a few of them rather than rely on a default.


#WeNeedDiverseBooks is so great.

I'm still looking for recent books featuring characters with a substantial religious identity--recommendations, anyone?

Kristine A

Just as a reader I began to notice the lack of diversity in media. I started following Geena Davis Institute on Facebook and even in how I choose which TV shows to watch I decided I would support shows with minority leads (how to get away with murder, etc.). I only pay to go to the movie if it has a minority lead (Maleficent, Hazel Grace, etc.) and rent the rest. I want to vote with my dollars. At ALA I also made special effort to diversify my ARCs and author signings. These books are not just for members of their own minority, the stories are for all of us. I wrote about WNDB for my emergent literacy course and cited statistics from their own website. Of course I love that one of my fave authors, Grace Lin, is involved :).


The WNDB campaign centers around race and sexuality, but disability and religion affect my life more, and gender and age intrigue me, so I mostly stay out of it. It's actually made it harder for me to write diversity, especially where race is concerned, because I know so many people pick up diverse books for the race as much as the story.


The WNDB campaign has made me aware that a lot of people don't see enough diversity in fiction. But this hasn't changed me as a reader or as a writer (except to realize that maybe my current WIP will have more of a hook because of my main charadter's race, but that's incidental). As a reader, I've always been intrigued by stories about people that are different than me, especially stories about people with disabilities. But as a writer, I've drawn a lot from my own experiences and culture. So if there happen to be religious people, POC, disabled people, etc., in my stories it will be because it feels natural for the story and not because of any obligation I feel as a result of WNDB.


I haven't really heard much of this WNDB campaign, but I think it's a commendable idea. I think that "diverse" books need to be pushed a little bit more in the education system, and it makes me happy that I was given the opportunity to read Zora Neal Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God in my AP English Lit course. In that book, nearly all of the characters are of African descent, which is a breath of fresh air in a state where most people are of Northern European descent.

Three and a half years ago, when the first sparks of inspiration for my current project began fueling the furnace of my imagination, all of the cast for my story were vaguely white. (It's a fantasy novel.) Now, after having taken a human geography course and a European history course, I must say that the cast is much more diverse. Skin tones and age now cover a wide spectrum, as well as social class. For some reason, reading about colonization, civil rights, and the like really provides fodder for my imagination, and it's been valuable source material for my work, adding that nice tint of realism.

Additionally, the Real World is diverse. There is no one set person-- there's 7 billion of us on this planet, each with our own stories. Fiction, I feel should reflect that, and not the "average Joe."

Tiffany L.

I wish we had more coming-of-age novels that included religion. The books don't have to be religious, but we seem to have stripped religion out of children's books, as if kids and teens are living in a vacuum without faith, and I just don't think that is the case for most kids in the U.S. In any case, I wish it were part of the larger discussion.


I'm a Reader and a Blogger/Reviewer, and I've been loosely following WNDB. I haven't found myself particularly inclined to change my reading or reviewing, but my opinions HAVE changed. I am now more convinced that diversity in literature is truly important. I mean, I already knew it was important, if it was important to the story. But now, after having read many accounts of kids and people who had amazing (or horrible) experiences with seeing their own traits portrayed in books, I *get* it better. The WNDB campaign has made a positive difference in my life.


The campaign has effected both my reading and writing. It caused me to wonder what it would be like if there weren't characters I could connect with. If there weren't books that featured people I understood, who went through similar feelings and possibly experiences. So, as a white, religious girl I feel more inclined to read about people from different cultures, religions, races, sexuality, and social background. Because it's important for everyone to be heard. It also made me think about the characters in my own stories, and I changed the races, backgrounds, and other things to make the casts much more diverse. I hope, if I ever finish any manuscripts and by some miracle were to get published that readers would be more likely to 1) find characters they identify with, and 2) find characters who are different from them so they can learn to have empathy for others.

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