So I’m downward dog-ing in yoga. And I know I should be thinking about my breath. A chakra. But instead I'm fixated on two things.
(Well, three. But we don’t need to talk about that amazing gnocchi.) 1) An investigative story on pangolin wildlife trade 2) “The Apartheid of Children’s Literature” opinion essay in the New York Times.
These things? Moved me. Take a look:
Both accounts are journalism at it’s best. And they’re consuming the corners of my consciousness.
A little anteater. Covered in scales. A mammal science knows very little about. They’re shy, nocturnal and endangered. And, apparently, one of the most (illegally) trafficked animals on the planet. Asian demand to use the humble creatures as centerpiece entrees of upscale menus or as medicinal promise means the pangolin is hunted (Asia and Africa) and exported—frozen or alive—by the ton.
My stomach is seething. My heart rate? Escalating.
I’ve met two pangolins in the wild. And, after reading Sutter’s article, it’s bewildering to anticipate their possible fate. Luckily, the CNN columnist has added a PS to his story, about how to help. This has allowed my pulse to settle. A little.
If I affixed issues to the seven chakras, children’s literature would be my heart.
Author and Illustrator Christopher Myers builds paragraphs like wrecking balls. Charging us with the responsibility of change. He sites a recent study: Of 3,200 children’s books published in 2013, just 93 were about black people. Um, this is a problem.
True, I’m white. So why do I so severely care about diversity in children’s literature? Because our patchwork heritage is our beauty. Because literature—a world of identity, imagination, opportunity and hope without boundaries—has stopped short of offering such things to communities who need it the most.
To children of color, Myer says, “… your life and lives of people like you are worthy of being told, thought about, discussed and even celebrated.”
So let's do it. Makers. Storytellers. Illustrators. This is our time. We can rebuild this plot outline of industry. Who’s with me?