[Updated] Today Daniel Handler Is Matching All Donations Made To The #WeNeedDiverseBooks Campaign
— Daniel Handler (@DanielHandler) November 21, 2014
After making a bunch of terrible and quite racist jokes at the expense of African American YA author Jacqueline Woodsen on Wednesday night, Series of Unfortunate Events author David Handler (better known as Lemony Snicket) has announced that he’ll be donating a lot of money to a campaign dedicated to changing the landscape of children’s literature—and he wants you to donate, too.
In a tweet this morning, Handler told his followers that in addition to giving $10,000 to the current current Indigogo campaign for We Need Diverse Books, he’ll also be matching all contributions made up to $100,000. Today the campaign is also offering new crowdfunding perks specifically to tie in with Handler’s suggested #CelebrateJackie hashtag: a $75 contribution will get you a signed copy of her National Book Award-winning novel, Brown Girl Dreaming. $200 will also get you signed copies of her other books, Hush and Each Kindness.
All of the proceeds that go towards We Need Diverse Books—which has already hit its main goal of $100,000 and is now working on stretch goals— will be used to fund grants for diverse YA authors and books; develop educational kits with the help of School Library Journal and the American Booksellers Association; host the first ever WNDB’s inaugural Kidlit Diversity Festival in summer 2016; and send WNDB to literary conferences all across the country to promote diversity. The campaign will also be working with An Open Book Children’s Literacy Foundation, First Book, and the National Education Association to bring diverse books and authors to disadvantaged schools.
Obviously this doesn’t completely excuse his comments, because despite what some people on the Internet think, you can’t use charity as a shield from criticism against past wrongdoings. But if Handler understands how what he said negatively affected others and truly wishes to make amends, this is a step in the right direction towards promoting positive change. Plus, if you’re still mad at the guy, anything you donate today he also has to donate, so stick it to him by being as generous as you like. It’s a win-win!
Update: According to Publisher’s Weekly, We Need Diverse Book’s current status is as follows:
— Publishers Weekly (@PublishersWkly) November 21, 2014
Keep going, team!
(via John Scalzi on Twitter)