Over 2,500 members of the KidLit publishing community have signed an impassioned open letter to President Biden, highlighting the disproportionately large toll Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza has taken on the children of the region, and calling for an immediate and permanent ceasefire.
Join the 883 authors, 197 illustrators, 32 agents, 61 editors, 40 librarians, 85 teachers, 35 reviewers, 168 publishing talent, and 821 readers in calling for an immediate #CeasefireNOW https://t.co/Pw3baNipCZ pic.twitter.com/QXZDNOtbY6
— Sandra Proudman 🇵🇸 (PREORDER RELIT!) (@SandraProudman) January 22, 2024
As well as a forceful plea for an end to the bloodshed, the KidLit4Ceasefire letter serves as a stark accounting of the myriad horrors suffered by the children of Gaza since October 7:
Dear President Biden,
We’ve come together as children’s authors, illustrators, agents, editors, and other publishing professionals across the U.S. and beyond who have witnessed the indiscriminate bombing and ground invasions of Gaza by Israeli forces over the last 100+ days. These attacks have resulted in more than 31,000 Palestinians killed. 12,000 of these victims are children of a median reported age of five years old. Thousands more Palestinian children still remain buried in rubble and are unaccounted for. This is an impossible number to comprehend for anyone who honors the sanctity of life.
It is estimated that Israeli forces have destroyed 70% of homes and displaced 85% of the population in Gaza. Approximately one million children are without shelter, food, and safety as a result of Israel’s military dropping over 65,000 tons of bombs in Gaza, targeting civilian homes, hospitals, holy places, and educational facilities. The U.S. government has provided 15,000 bombs to Israel, along with $3.8 billion a year in military funding paid with our tax dollars.
Thousands of Palestinian children have been permanently disfigured, with over 1,000 suffering the amputation of one or more limbs, in an area half the size of Austin. It is estimated that 10 more children undergo amputations without anesthesia with every passing day. In addition, Israeli forces have used white phosphorus, an internationally banned chemical weapon, to inflict burns so severe that doctors have not been able to treat them properly given the scarcity of medicine under the Israeli blockade on Gaza. As a group of Palestinian kids shared in their own press conference held outside Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on Nov. 7, 2023, “The occupation is starving us. We don’t find water, food, and we drink from the unusable water. We come now to shout and invite you to protect us … We want to live as the other children live.” It is likely that at least some of these children pleading for their lives have been killed in the attacks since, as the Israeli military kills a Palestinian child every 10 minutes.
As children’s publishing professionals, we create our work for the sake of all the children in the world—without exception. Our collective conscience compels us to call for our leaders to protect the most vulnerable and precious members of our global society. We oppose Israel’s mass killings, with the vastly documented intent to destroy all Palestinian people.
You can read the entire letter, and add your name to the list of signatories, here.
Names will be added to the letter until EOD January 28, after which point it will be sent to President Biden as well as select members of Congress and media outlets.