Editor’s note: Victoria Sutherland, publisher of Foreword Reviews, made the following remarks June 26 at the 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards in San Francisco.
We all know what a good book looks like, but it is harder to define the qualities of a great publisher. Foreword Reviews wants to annually identify publishers who are doing great things differently. Not only do they have an admirable list of titles and loyal authors, but they are committed to having a positive effect on the world, one book at a time.
It is gratifying to see publishers doing things for honorable reasons. Like our past winners, the University of Nebraska Press, Chelsea Green Publishers, McPherson & Company, Little Pickle Press, and Cleis/Viva Editions, this year’s Indie Publisher of the Year has the same commitment to addressing sensitive issues. This year’s winner focuses on the lack of diversity in book publishing, rallying the entire industry to take a closer look at itself through the Internet, social media, meet-ups at important conventions, as well as keeping this very timely national conversation alive through blogs, panel discussions, and national media interviews.
Small size was never an excuse for this year’s winner: they are doing incredible work spreading their important mission. With the topical word “diversity” in mind, we can all admit there are too few books with characters of color or by writers of color. This publisher promotes diversity and encourages understanding by not only publishing beautiful children’s picture books but advancing social activism and providing resources on diversity to educators. Knowing that books can instill important first impressions for so many children, books showcasing diversity heal the world during difficult times.
Foreword Reviews would like to congratulate publisher Jason Low and his team at Lee & Low Books with our Award for Independent Publisher of the Year.