Behind The Vids, Barbara Binns, Blue Spaghetti and #OwnVoices

Barbara Binns is a unique children’s author. She is obviously female, but she writes from a male point of view. In fact her website’s tagline is: Stories of Real Boys Growing Into Real Men…and the people who love them.

She even teaches a course for female writers who want to learn to write from the male point of view. (I should probably take it. I hear it’s terrific!)

Writing from another gender, or race’s point of view is tricky. They say write what you know, but how can you fully stand in the shoes of another who is so different from yourself?

This is a big debate right now in children’s literature too. It’s called #OwnVoices. There are those that believe we can only tell our “own” stories and others who believe that if we do the deep research, and get a ‘sensitivity reader,’ one who is from that gender or race or country etc., to vet our book, then it’s okay.

For ex. J.K. Rowling’s book The History of Magic In North America which is up on Pottermore was crucified by Native American scholars/writers. Debbie Reese,who writes the blog American Indians in Children’s Literature, which carefully reviews young people’s literature with representations of American Indians said, “I don’t think she has the knowledge necessary to do justice to marginalized peoples.”

In my opinioin, Barbara gets the male voice right in her new book, Courage. And she is writing what she knows. She hails from the South side of Chicago, where her book is set. 

What do you think? Would you be open to reading a book done by an ‘outsider’ if it were researched and vetted properly? Let me know by replying to this letter, or posting in the comments section on Barbara’s vid tomorrow on our YOUTUBE channel.

Barbara also did me a solid without knowing it. Luckily for me her favorite food is spaghetti! Mine too. At last I got to eat something I love, even if it was blue.

Below a special moment from the video.

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Purple Passion of the Fortnight:
My favorite food on the planet..well minus the ‘eyes!’


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