FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Why We Need Diverse Books Is No Longer Using the Term #OwnVoices
June 6, 2021
Washington, DC — We Need Diverse Books (WNDB) will no longer use the term #OwnVoices to refer to children’s literature or its authors and we have removed mentions of #OwnVoices from previously published blog posts. Moving forward, WNDB will use specific descriptions that authors use for themselves and their characters whenever possible (for example, “Korean American author,” or “autistic protagonist”).
#OwnVoices was created as a hashtag by author Corinne Duyvis in September 2015. It was originally intended as a shorthand book recommendation tool in a Twitter thread, for readers to recommend books by authors who openly shared the diverse identity of their main characters. The hashtag was never intended to be used in a broader capacity, but it has since expanded in its use to become a “catch all” marketing term by the publishing industry. Using #OwnVoices in this capacity raises issues due to the vagueness of the term, which has then been used to place diverse creators in uncomfortable and potentially unsafe situations. It is important to use the language that authors want to celebrate about themselves and their characters.
We Need Diverse Books believes in supporting diverse authors and their books, and we will continue to uplift their voices through our programming.
About We Need Diverse Books. We Need Diverse Books is a grassroots organization of children’s book lovers that advocates essential changes in the publishing industry to produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people. It is our mission to put more books featuring diverse characters in the hands of all children. You can learn more about WNDB programs at www.diversebooks.org.
Press Contact: Alaina Lavoie, firstname.lastname@example.org