Using the hashtag #KidLitMarchesforKids, two authors, Jenny Han and Raina Telgemeier, have taken the lead in organizing the children’s book publishing community to join the #NeverAgain and #MarchforOurLives movement for gun control. Collaborating with the advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety’s Authors Council, Han and Telgemeier have tapped a core group of their fellow children’s book authors—Veronica Roth, Brendan Kiely, C. Alexander London, and Christopher Healy—to work with them to encourage the children’s community to walk on March 24 alongside students and others concerned with gun violence as a group under the #KidLitMarchesforKids banner.
The March 24 nationwide march was scheduled by Parkland High School student survivors of a school shooting on February 14, during which 19-year-old Nicholas Cruz murdered 17 people with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.
In a statement posted on each’s Facebook page to their FB contacts, many of whom are authors, Han and Telgemeier wrote, “We want the kids to know we have their back, and I know you do, too. We can’t go on like this any longer.”
“We write for kids,” Han, who will be marching in New York City, told PW. “Everybody who creates art for kids wants to see them thrive. This is a way to support those who started this movement through tragedy. I’m hoping we can get together many people to support these kids.”
“Authors, illustrators, publishers, librarians, booksellers, bloggers—anyone who considers themselves a part of this amazing community—we invite you to join us, or to organize a group of your own in your hometown,” Telgemeier wrote on the new group’s Facebook page, KidLit Marches for Kids, which has about 300 members to date.
“It just may be a group of people meeting on a street corner [in each city] to walk together,” Telgemeier, who will be marching in San Francisco, said about the philosophy behind #KidLitMarchesforKids. She and author Siobhan Vivian’s husband, Nick Caruso, designed a graphic promoting the march that children’s book publishing community members can download and distribute in their cities to publicize the event. Posters and banners will soon be available for download and printing via Dropbox.
In the three days since the core group formed late last week, several authors have volunteered to take the lead organizing in various cities around the country, including Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Houston, Pittsburgh, Ann Arbor, Bozeman, Mont., and elsewhere. In the nation’s capital, where many of the Parkland student survivors and many high-profile supporters will be congregating on March 24, East City Books, in the city’s Eastern Market neighborhood, has volunteered to serve as a staging area where people can meet up before the march and make posters if they wish.