Diversity in KidLit: Update to THE GREAT GREENE HEIST challenge!

I’ve spent the past two days at school visits just outside Detroit, talking with kids about books & writing, and talking with their teachers and librarians, too. One thing I’m hearing over and over?  We need more diverse books for our students. CAPTURE THE FLAG, the first book in my Silver Jaguar Society mysteries with Scholastic, features three kid sleuths from diverse cultural backgrounds and is on the Battle of the Books list here in Birmingham this year. I’ve been telling kids who loved that book that they should look for this one in May…

I loved Varian Johnson’s THE GREAT GREENE HEIST and reviewed it in detail here.  This is the kind of book these Michigan readers will love; it’s the kind of book we need to see on the shelves more often in libraries and schools and bookstores everywhere. And while asking for diverse books is great, it’s not enough. That’s why I issued a bit of a challenge this week. Those of us who want to see more diverse books need to ask not only with words but also with our purchases, by supporting books like this one.

And a whole lot has happened since that blog post. After I ordered two copies of THE GREAT GREENE HEIST from one of my local indies, Flying Pig Books, a bunch of you commented to share that you were ordering books from your great local bookstores, too. (Yay! And thank you!)

Eight Cousins Bookstore in Falmouth, MA challenged fellow indie booksellers at Odyssey Bookshop to see who can handsell the most copies of THE GREAT GREENE HEIST in its first month.

Odyssey Bookshop accepted the challenge.

Author Shannon Hale blogged about that and urged other indies to join in the contest. 

Red Balloon Books in St. Paul, MN tweeted that they were up for the challenge, too!

The spoils for the winning bookstore have yet to be determined, but here’s a start…

I’m offering up a free hour-long Skype writing workshop that the winning store can use for an in-store event or give away to a great teacher-librarian customer.

And John Green has offered ten signed copies of THE FAULT IN OUR STARS to any bookstore in the U.S. that handsells at least 100 copies of THE GREAT GREENE HEIST in its first month of publication.


I suspect there will be more excitement to come.

Want to join us?

Let me know with a comment if you’re a reader or teacher/librarian who’s pre-ordering THE GREAT GREENE HEIST from your local bookstore.

Are you a bookseller? Let us know if you’re up for the Eight Cousins/Odyssey/Red Balloon handselling challenge!

Thanks to everyone who’s been tweeting and Facebooking and Tumblring (Tumbling?) to help spread the word.  Supporting books with diverse characters – with dollars as well as words – is the very best way to send a message that we want more colorful bookshelves for all of our readers.

11 Replies on “Diversity in KidLit: Update to THE GREAT GREENE HEIST challenge!

  1. Just contacted my awesome local bookstore- Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, NC. And, of course, I’m preordering on payday tomorrow.

  2. Hi Kate! I’m doing a giveaway of Varian’s book on my blog and I’d be happy to give a print from my etsy store to any bookstore that participate in the challenge!

  3. Varian lives just down the street from our shop and we have been excited about this book from when we heard about it in January. We are glad to see other authors getting excited about it too. We just put up a link on our online store for signed books and we be promoting and handselling in the store like crazy. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

    The Book Spot in Round Rock, TX

  4. I can’t keep up with all the stores that are supporting The Great Greene Heist challenge, which is amazing! Please keep telling your local bookstore that you want this book!

  5. I’m a bookseller and at our store, University Books (U District location) in Seattle we are participating! We also set up a display today and will be adding a #Weneeddiversebooks display that customers can write their thoughts for that we will post on our desk. 🙂 You can find a photo of our display on my twitter @shiploadofwilco