Literature that “reflects and honors the lives of all young people” (www.weneeddiversebooks.org) is essential to creating a more just society. Children, and the people who read to them, benefit immeasurably from both seeing themselves in books and from the opportunity to listen to and learn one another’s stories. Currently, the experiences of people of color, people with disabilities, and LBGTQ people are vastly under-represented in children’s and young adult books. Let’s help change that!
Wade Hudson, CEO of Just Us Books, an independent publisher that celebrates the diversity of Black people, history, and culture, offers a Diverse Books Pledge which provides ideas for concrete actions to make a difference. It begins…
To help increase the number of quality children’s books that help celebrate diversity, and to support the diverse books already available, I pledge to:
…and goes on to outline 10 very do-able steps to take, from buying books from small presses/publishers owned by people of color, to writing on-line reviews.
Some resources to help in carrying out the Diverse Books Pledge:
We Need Diverse Books – a great resource for information and inspiration, including a full page of book lists. We Need Diverse Books is grassroots organization of children’s book lovers that advocates essential changes in the publishing industry to produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people.
Lee & Low Blog – Lee & Low: About Everyone, For Everyone, is the largest multicultural children’s book publisher in the country, and also one of the few minority-owned publishers in the U.S. Their blog highlights a variety of books and offers author interviews and educator resources.
Coretta Scott King Book Award -given annually to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values.
Pura Belpre Award -is presented annually to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.
Mighty Girl Book Lists -Offers a huge collection of titles with filters that make for efficient searching.
50 Multicultural Books Every Child Should Know – an age appropriate list of titles compiled by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a study and research library.
Person of Color Owned Small Presses/Publishers
The Apartheid of Children’s Literature by Christopher Myers
Where Are the People of Color in Children’s Books? by Walter Dean Myers
Equity in Publishing: What Should Editors Be Doing? by Antonio Aiello