Surfing Outside Your Zone

One of the many gifts of new media is an increased democracy in the public square (with thanks to our public libraries, who fight to narrow the digital divide). In her School Library Journal cover story about blogs, Betsy Bird quotes editor Cheryl Klein: “Book blogs have created community—a place where we adults who take children's literature seriously can discuss it seriously and at length, in a forum open to the whole Internet.”

Virtually, as in life, it may be easier to commune with people with whom we have quite a bit in common. The challenge is to tune into voices we might not otherwise hear, listening and learning from people who aren't "like us" at first blush. Good blogs help us cross borders, and sometimes take us to uncomfortable places where we either change our convictions or deepen them through discourse and dialogue. 

Since I don't know how you define your "comfort zone" in the realm of Kid/YA literature, here are a few options to get you thinking:

If you're a woman and typically only read books about girls, peruse Guys Lit Wire.

Live in a mostly white community? Delve into Reading in Color, Crazy Quilts, or Color Online.

If you've never had to think about what it's like to grow up as an American Indian, tune into American Indians in Children's Literature.

Wondering what it's like to be a Latino writer in the world of North American literature? Read La Bloga.

Don't have any conservative white friends who home school? Consider Semicolon's take on literature.

And so on ....