Writing Truthfully for Kids
AIA Center for Architecture
Children’s and YA literature have increasingly become war zones of conflicting values, with educators, parents, and politicians battling over what kinds of books should be accessible to young readers. A panel of four distinctive voices in contemporary children’s literature—Zetta Elliott (Moonwalking, written with Lyn Miller-Lachman), Kyle Lukoff (Different Kinds of Fruit), Ruta Sepetys (I Must Betray You), and Traci Sorell (We Are Still Here: Native American Truths Everyone Should Know)—will discuss the challenges of writing honestly, responsibly, and with sensitivity about subjects that dominate today’s headlines. Respectively, their work explores the impact of policing on Black children and teens, trans visibility, the historical victimization of life under dictatorship, and Native Nations’ rich contributions to literature and culture. Collectively, they will explore such questions as how, in this politically charged environment, do writers approach their responsibility to create truthful works that make every reader feel seen, heard, and understood? How do they interact with those who would serve as gatekeepers to children’s books? The panel will be moderated by Padma Venkatraman, whose work centers Asian protagonists and whose most recent book is Born Behind Bars.