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We Need Diverse Books Auction

Updated: Sep 25, 2023

Three elementary school kids leaning on stacks of picture books

Last night I was scrolling through Facebook and I landed on a post by one of my favorite authors, Curtis Sittenfeld. Sittenfeld was promoting a charity auction for an organization called WNDB: We Need Diverse Books.

Founded in 2014, WNDB aims to diversify the offerings of bookstores and libraries so that everyone can see books with people like themselves represented. This of course includes race, but it also includes diversity in other areas such as economics, gender, religion, and abilities.

This is an extremely important goal. Working at an indie bookstore, I'm really proud of the books that our buyers select for our store and the displays that we create with the intention of inclusion for all. I see the impact on a regular basis when customers, especially younger customers, are thrilled to find a book that they feel reflects them.

This also reminded me of a fantastic TEDxSwarthmore talk by author Donna Jo Napoli. Napoli is a children's author whose works have been attacked for their themes. However, in her talk, Napoli eloquently explains why it is important to see yourself or your situation reflected in a story, even ones that might not be happy ones. She also shares that it is vital that we read books with characters and circumstances that are different for our own, so that we may be able to empathize and relate to others.

Diverse books are for everyone. Read diversely uplifts everyone.

WNDB is a non-profit that hosts several different programs to fulfill their goal of bringing diverse stories to bookshelves. To raise money, a group called Authors for Voices of Color is hosting an auction with the proceeds going to WNDB. Several big name authors are participating. For example, Curtis Sittenfeld is auctioning her time by way of a virtual book club visit for a winning bid. Celeste Ng is offering a signed first-edition of her fabulous novel, Our Missing Hearts. Jacqueline Woodson is offering to host a dinner party in her home in New York. These are just a few of the offerings. The online auction opens on September 26th and bids are accepted through October 3rd. If you are unable to bid, but still want to show your support, you can also make a flat donation to the cause.

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