Over at Oz and Ends Monday, J.L. Bell questioned the lack of diversity among the Newbery winner and its attendant Honors, noting that all four books are "very serious" and have girls as central characters. Run, I wanted to tell him. Duck-and-cover. Some people get really protective of that medal, as Martha Parravano and Lauren Adams learned ten years ago when they brought up the same question as Mr. Bell, but in their turn asking why the Newbery too often tended to go to middle grade novels about white children.
This year we have four books, all middle-grade realistic fiction, all with white female protagonists. Not to say that the four books aren't distinct from each other, but look at what all of them aren't: picture books, poetry, easy-reader, fantasy, science fiction, biography or other nonfiction. What gives?