Thursday, October 23, 2014

#WeNeedDiverseBooks

I've been working on a Power Point about diversity in Children's literature, and came across this NPR article, As Demographics Shift, Kids' Books Stay Stubbornly White.


Within that article, it linked an article in the Saturday Review entitled "The All-White World of Children's Books".

What alarmed me was that that article came out the year I was born. After fifty years, we are still struggling with finding books with diverse characters.

The other thing that really bothered me as I was working on my presentation was the paucity of MALE writers of color in just about every ethnic category. This might be one of the reasons that Betsy Bird was so upset in this article: 2013 Middle Grade Black Boys: Seriously, People?

This sheds a lot of light on why there was a big push to get Varian Johnson's The Great Greene Heist preordered.

I've been looking for male authors all morning. For every Walter Dean Myers, there are about five to ten female African American writers. That's great, but since my focus is books for boys, I've been alarmed. Even at Kidlitcon, the group was overwhelmingly female, with the only male representatives being the awesome Mike Jung and ... Mr. Tanita Davis. Tanita's husband helped with technical issues and photography, and we had a great discussion about The Pagoda Building, but I don't know his name.

As a feminist, I have long struggled with focusing on books for boys. If we need books to be windows and mirrors, as Mitali Perkins talked about, we have to have people of all descriptions writing and being written about!

2 comments:

Debbie Reese said...

If you want Native authors:
Eric Gansworth - IF I EVER GET OUT OF HERE
Tim Tingle - HOW I BECAME A GHOST, SALTYPIE, CROSSING BOK CHITTO
Joseph Bruchac - HIDDEN ROOTS
Richard Van Camp - LITTLE YOU, LESSER BLESSED
Sherman Alexie - ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART TIME INDIAN
I have a gallery of Native writers/illustrators here: http://americanindiansinchildrensliterature.blogspot.com/2014/05/why-i-advocate-for-books-by-native.html

Ms. Yingling said...

Thanks, Debbie. Your lists are about the only ones I use for Native authors. I'm definitely suggesting your web site in my presentation.

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