We need to be setting an example for future publishers—to strive for imperative community-building values that promote action and advocacy. If we’re not giving back to the communities that allow us to thrive, exciting children about books, helping provide them with the resources they need, promoting literacy, and, more importantly, giving them characters they can connect to on a deep and personal level and live their lives by—then what are we doing?
Empathy is not so much feeling something about a character, but feeling something with a character. It is not only being sorry for a character when they struggle and happy when they succeed—it’s about the reader experiencing those trials and victories as if they were their own. And when those trials and victories are rooted in immediate real-world issues, there’s more at stake than well-written characterization.
Keeping a consistent brand, no matter how personal the account, is so important. People want to follow accounts that they can trust will post fairly similar art, because they like that art. You wouldn’t commission an artist who gave out a different-styled piece every time someone requested their services; in a similar way, people will not give you that follow if you remain inconsistent and unpredictable.
I know you’ve seen it; the #MeToo tag is everywhere. It’s in news headlines, articles, journals, and new books; searchable from NPR to Goodreads. 2017 was a powerful year. Originally started by social activist Tarana Burke in 2006, the #MeToo movement has brought the systemic oppression of women and workplace sexual assault and harassment to the forefront of conversation.
The saying is “don’t judge a book by its cover,” but the truth is, we all do—and we’re actually supposed to. Someone designed that cover with specific intentions for you, the reader, to pull the book off the shelf and take a closer look. If I think about it too hard, I realize how shallow and materialistic I am as a reader and how hard a cover has to work just to get me to pick it up. My recent interest in cover design has to do with a challenge I’m undertaking this year to read at least thirty books with a main character who would be classified as a minority in America. Finding books that show this diversity on the cover is actually a lot more difficult than I expected.
Set to publish in Fall 2018, Sleeping in My Jeans follows sixteen-year-old Mattie Rollins as her life gets turned upside down. When Mattie’s mother packs the family and as many clothes as they can carry into their beat-up station wagon, Mattie hopes it’s only for one night. But as the days go on and Mattie’s mother still isn’t able to find them housing, the reality of their situation begins to sink in.
Sleeping in My Jeans will publish fall 2018, but in the meantime check out these similar YA titles. If you enjoy them, you’ll be sure to fall in love with Sleeping in My Jeans.