25 February 2013

Street / Urban / Multicultural Literature: Breakin' it down

Educators are still having a hard time making the distinction between Street Lit and Urban Literature, Street Lit and African American Literature, and Street Lit and Multicultural Literature. I want to state that just because there are people of color in a story, that doesn't automatically make the book a Street Lit book and it doesn't automatically classify the book as a contribution to a certain ethnically identified literary genre. I believe that there are significant differences between Street Lit, Urban Literature, and Multicultural Literature.

In my book, The Readers Advisory Guide to Street Literature, I make the case that Street Lit is a sub-genre of Urban Literature. Urban Literature is a genre that features stories about city experiences (as opposed to rural experiences), regardless of ethnic identity or socio-economic status. In essence, urban literature are stories about city living (fiction and non-fiction).

Street Lit is a sub-genre of Urban Literature because the stories depict a certain flavor/aspect of city life and reality based on socio-economic status. Many people mistakenly think that Street Lit is an African American / Latino genre and it is not. In yesteryear in America, street lit stories were about European immigrants and their survival stories as low-income city dwellers. Today it’s about the current groups that live in those low income areas and those people just happen to be African American and Latino, for the most part, but by no means, exclusively.

Multicultural Literature doesn't directly factor into Street Lit or Urban Literature, in my humble opinion; unless we’re talking about the fact that the current outcome of Street Lit depicts a diverse group of city dwellers which would include everyone: European Americans, African Americans, Latin Americans, Asian Americans, and characters of varying sexual orientations, mobility levels, languages, and literacies.

14 February 2013

This Is How You Do It: On the Streets

Renowned Street Lit author, Treasure Blue, is poundin' the pavement TODAY - Valentine's Day, doin' his hustle to sell his latest book, Fly Betty. This is how and why street lit/urban fiction readers and authors have such an amazing relationship that has kept this genre thriving for over 15 years now. Readers support street lit authors because street lit authors support their readers!

Treasure Blue selling books on the streets, 02/14/2013.
Photo credit: DC BookDiva, 02/14/2013.

10 February 2013

In the Margins Committee Looking for Members

In the Margins Committee 
What is it? A group of Librarians under the umbrella of Library Services for Youth in Custody seeking out and highlighting books: preschool through adult fiction and non-fiction titles of high-interest appeal to boys or girls, ages 9-18 who may fit into one or all of the following categories:
  • multicultural (primarily African American and Latino)
  • from a street culture
  • in restrictive custody
  • reluctant readers
What does it do? The committee will select and review the best books of the year, specifically for the population listed above. Titles of interest may be unusual, possibly unreviewed, have multicultural characters, dealing with difficult situations including (but not limited to) street life, marginalized populations, crime, justice, war, violence, abuse, addiction, etc.

Blog featuring highlighted titles: YA Underground, a School Library Journal (SLJ) column will run reviews every other month or so through-out the year. Please see: http://www.slj.com/2013/01/books-media/collection-development/ya-underground-books-for-teens-you-might-have-missed/ for an example. 

The final list will be decided upon by this committee and also run in SLJ. Books will be put on the Library Services for Youth in Custody website. 

Committee membership and requirements:
  • research and nominate titles that are self, independently and small press published,
  • research and nominate titles of interest from all publishers 
  • provide written review of books, and read for special content for detention facilities
  • read all nominated titles
  • work with or do outreach to teens in custody and/or from street culture.
  • get feedback from at least 3-10 teens on each title
  • actively participate in email discussions
  • meet 4-6 times a year via video conferencing and/or in person
For more information, contact Amy Cheney at ajcheney@mac.com

06 February 2013

Must-Have NEW READS: Souljah, Antoinette, Blue

Sister Souljah's long-awaited sequel to the classic Coldest Winter Ever is now on sale and has just hit the NYT Bestsellers List. So you are going to want to stock this title for your patrons and students.

Ashley Antoinette's 3rd installment in her new Prada Plan series has also just hit the markets and has also, just hit the NYT Bestsellers List. Urban/Street Lit readers are going to be requesting this title, also, so be sure to stock up!

Treasure Blue is an intensely popular author with a solid fan base. Fly Betty is enjoying a 5-star rating on Amazon.com and is climbing the book sales charts rapidly. Be prepared to have extra copies on hand of this title because you will definitely be getting requests.

StreetLiterature.com will be posting reviews of these titles in the near future!

SLBAM Committee Reconvenes to determine 3rd Street Lit Book Award Medal


StreetLiterature.com is happy to announce that the Street Lit Book Award Medal (SLBAM) Committee has reconvened for the 3rd year in a row, and is busy reading, researching and going through the nomination process to bestow the 2013 Street Lit Book Award Medal for street lit books published in 2012.

We also need YOUR help! If you have a title(s) that have been popular at your library, post a comment below and we will add the title for nomination.

The categories this year are:

-- Non-Fiction / Biography (Adult)
-- Fiction (Adult)
-- Young adult fiction (YA)
-- Emerging Classic (to acknowledge previously published works that continue to be in popular
    demand by the reading public)
-- Author(s) of the year

The awards for these categories are scheduled to be announced by March 18, 2013.

SLBAM Committee Mission:
The Street Lit Book Award Medal Committee comprises of a group of professional librarians and library staffers who volunteer to serve on the committee for a 2-year period, from across the U.S. and beyond, if possible. These professionals invariably work on the front lines of librarianship and work with Street Lit and its readers in public, school, and academic libraries. The Committee collects, researches, discusses, and nominates titles based on library patron popularity, book club interest, and overall reception of the story as a valuable addition to the Street Literature genre. Three rounds of nominations results in winners for the previous year's publications.

StreetLiterature site *ON HIATUS*

Greetings, This site is *on hiatus* until further notice. There are reasons: 1/ Since street lit has become pretty mainstream in publicat...