Monday, September 12, 2011

BBAW Interview: Ari from Reading In Color

I'm very excited to be a part of Book Blogger Appreciation Week's blogger interview exchange. Please read on for my interview Ari of Reading in Color. Ari's blog focuses primarily on YA fiction about people of color (POC).

Ari's blog is new-to-me but I was immediately taken with her smart reviews and wide range of tastes in fiction.  One of the issues Ari blogs about is the 'whitewashing' of books by the publishing industry (using white models on book covers that feature characters of color, for example), an issue I first learned about when Justine Larbalestier's novel Liar was released in the U.S. (Justine has a great post on why this is so problematic.).  Ari's mix of commentary on publishing and reviews makes her blog fascinating and enjoyable and I hope you stop by to check it out.  

If you could put a book in everyone's hand, what book would it be?

Oooo tough question! I mostly review Young Adult so I'm going to say Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that book. It's hysterical both in terms of humor and in terms of sadness. Racism in the 21st century combined with a main character whose a stellar athlete and has a huge heart.

What's your earliest reading memory?

My father reading me bedtime stories ranging from Dr. Seuss to Spanish versions of fairytales and classic children's stories. My favorite was Los Tres Cochinitos which I can still basically recite from memory. Definitely one of my fondest memories and probably sealed my place as a daddy's girl :)

What was the oddest/weirdest/most fabulous thing you wanted to do 'when you grew up'?

Probably what I want to do right now. My dream job would be to somehow combine my love of traveling, books, volunteering and politics into a career. I'm fairly certain that career doesn't exist but I'll find a way to put my passions to work.....

When you aren't reading and blogging, what do you like to do?

I love hanging out my friends. During the school year I spend Friday nights watching catching up on a few favorite TV shows and on Saturdays I hang out with my friends, Sundays I do homework. Not very exciting. But I did a lot of traveling this summer which made me very very happy. I went to Guatemala on a service trip and it's one of the highlights of my life. If I could have a job "when I grow up" that consists of traveling the world, I would be content.

One of your most popular posts is about the 'whitewashing' of book covers, which you wrote in January 2010. Have you seen much improvement in the year in a half since you wrote that post?

We're making progress. I've seen more reviews of books that feature people of color whether or not it's because the publishing companies are taking more time to promote those books or book bloggers are making a conscious effort to review them I don't know but I'm happy either way. I think it's a bit of both. A POC Reading Challenge was started by the fabulous Pam ( and Katy (A Few More Pages) that encourages people to read books by/about people of color. I've noticed some past incidents of whitewashing as well as a recent one that I just haven't had the time to blog about yet (college apps will nearly kill me) but I do hope that this issue becomes moot in a few years. I also want there to more emphasis placed on encouraging youth of color to consider jobs in the publishing industry. That's a big way to increase our representation in books.

[Comment from Audra: I strongly recommend checking out Ari's series of posts on Diversity in Publishing.]

What's been a favorite read of 2011 so far? (Or reads, if, like me, you're bad at limiting yourself to one! ;))

Like all bookworms I do have trouble at limiting myself when it comes to books! Jazz in Love by Neesha Meminger, The Indigo Notebook by Laura Resau, Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper (TEARJERKER), Fury of the Phoenix by Cindy Pon, Huntress by Malinda Lo, Operation Redwood by S. Terrell French, The World in Half by Cristina Henriquez.

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My thanks to Ari for taking the time to do this interview. Please check out her blog to learn more about her and the books she enjoys. You'll also find my interview with her there on 9/13. See the BBAW website for other blogger interviews.


  1. So glad to see an interview with Ari. She is one of the smartest, most prolific, and most inspirational people around!

  2. what a great interview- so nice to learn more about Ari. She's always reading something interesting. The Whitewashing post sounds especially thought provoking & I'm definitely going to check that out.

  3. I have never read Ari's blog, but it seems like it's time to start! I am very impressed with what she has to say and what she is doing about the "whitewashing" in literature. Loved this interview today!

  4. Nice to meet you :)
    I have to have a look at Whale Talk and see what it is about

  5. I like Ari's commitment to POC in literature and against the whitewashing of covers. Thanks for another great interview.

  6. argh, and i was just about to weed THE WORLD IN HALF. Now I have to reconsider! Great interview!

  7. oooh, you loved Huntress? I have that waiting to be read and that's a hefty recommendation!

  8. It was great to get to know a little about Ari. Great interview by both of you Audra.

  9. @rahpsody-Not to be annoying but I definitely had an "aw shucks" moment after reading your comment (and Audra's wonderful intro!) I miss the book blogging world, I'm so MIA

    @bookspersonally-Please do stop by the blog! Although it's been neglected lately due to school =/

    @Zibilee-Thank you for taking the time to read the interview! I love new readers ;D

    @blodeuedd-Nice to meet you too =) And yes REAd Whale Talk. so so good

    @Serena-Yay thanks for reading!

    @Marie-WELL full disclosure I'm half Panamnaian (father's side) just like the main character so I had a serious emotional/cultural tie to it. But I would still recommend it anyway on a selfish level because not many books are written set in Panama =D

    @Jessie-YES YES read Huntress! It's even lovlier than Ash.

    @Diane-Thanks for reading and getting to know me.

    And thank you Audra!

  10. It was fantastic to read more about Ari.