This week in writing: diversity in children’s books edition

16COVER-superJumboThis has been quite a spectacular week for diversity in children’s literature. First there were two New York Times articles by former children’s book ambassador Walter Dean Myers and his son Christopher Myers titled “Where Are the People of Color in Children’s Books” and “The Apartheid of Children’s Literature” respectively. Both great reads, and disturbing as well. The opening volley of both: “Of 3,200 children’s books published in 2013, just 93 were about black people.” That’s about 2.9%. Compare that with the fact that 13.1% of the American population is black. If you’d like stats on all ethnic groups in children’s literature, the CCBC has it covered.

Then it was twitter to the rescue with #colormyshelf to really keep the diversity in kid-lit conversation going. But action is another thing entirely. Publishing is a business and the only way to do something about the lack of diversity is to put some money behind it. At the end of this post is a list of resources can help you find great books by and about people of color for the kids in your life.

This week Jacqueline Woodson was shortlisted for the Hans Christian Andersen Award. My fingers are crossed so hard for her, I can barely type.

giverPeople are really fired up for the movie version of The Giver with the release of a trailer this week. I need to dust off my copy so my big kid can read it before the summer. Maybe the little guy too. We’ll do a read aloud.

In business news, Roxanna Robinson is the new President of the Author’s Guild, replacing Scott Turow. Are any of you out there members? Is the membership worth it?

As Amazon opens new warehouses in Washington, one independent bookstore chain, Sherman’s Books and Stationery is expanding and people wonder how they are going toe to toe with the book superstore while other indies are struggling (like St. Marks Bookshop in New York–a personal fave from my NYU days–which has only just found a possible new space and is not yet finished with its fundraising campaign.)

And in mega-hit news, the Hogwarts Express train is coming to Universal Orlando. I have been planning to take my older kid there, but now I think I’ll wait for the train’s maiden voyage. You have to go through the wall and everything!

Whew! I’m pretty exhausted. But as promised, here’s the list of resources for multicultural kids books. Have a great weekend all!

The Brown Bookshelf:
Just Us Books:
Lee & Low:
 Cinco Puntos Press:
Shen’s Books:
American Indians in Children’s Literature:
Cooperative Children’s Book Center:
Teaching for Change:
Reading is Fundamental:
Crazy QuiltEdi:
CBC Diversity:
Diversity in YA:
Birthday Party Pledge:



4 thoughts on “This week in writing: diversity in children’s books edition

  1. debatterman says:

    I saw those articles at the top of your pos in the Times and I found the statistics disturbing as well. All the more reason to appreciate your resources, etc.

  2. Tracey says:

    This has been something that people have been talking about for a long time, but it is finally getting the attention that it deserves, Deborah. Hopefully things will begin to change.

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