I am pleased to see the new 2018 Diversity in Children's Book 2018 infographic from the team of Sarah Park Dahlen and David Huyck based on the astounding work of the staff at the CCBC at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a star-studded consulting group of #diversityjedi.
Huyck, David and Sarah Park Dahlen. (2019 June 19). Diversity in Children’s Books 2018. sarahpark.com blog. Created in consultation with Edith Campbell, Molly Beth Griffin, K. T. Horning, Debbie Reese, Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, and Madeline Tyner, with statistics compiled by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison: http://ccbc.education.wisc.edu/books/pcstats.asp. Retrieved from https://readingspark.wordpress.com/2019/06/19/picture-this-diversity-in-childrens-books-2018-infographic/.
Released for use under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0 license). You are free to use this infographic in any of your work, including presentations and published work, so long as you provide the full citation noted above.
Below is the first version of this graphic done by this team looking at 2015 books:
Huyck, David, Sarah Park Dahlen, Molly Beth Griffin. (2016 September 14). Diversity in Children’s Books 2015 infographic. sarahpark.com blog. Retrieved from https://readingspark.wordpress.com/2016/09/14/picture-this-reflecting-diversity-in-childrens-book-publishing/ Statistics compiled by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, School of Education, University of Wisconsin Madison: http://ccbc.education.wisc.edu/books/pcstats.asp
Released for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 license
What do I note in those three years? Ahem, we ALL have some work to do.
While the percentage of books depicting white characters decreased, characters who were animals, animated inanimate objects and other more than doubled. So it makes me wonder if we are seeing hesitation from non-#ownvoices authors on how to navigate the call for more truly diverse books.
While doubling of books published with LatinX and Asian Pacific Islander/Asian Pacific American characters is great to see, I can't help feeling that doubling of almost nothing (2.4% to 5% and 3.3% to 7%) is way too small a gain.
What can we do to keep the focus on the need for more diverse books?
- Buy - we are seeing more sources for reviews. And we know that we can look to awards to find authentic content and #ownvoices. Look at Coretta Scott King, Pura Belpre, Stonewall, Schneider Family, Asian/Pacific Award for Literature, Sydney Taylor, American Indian Youth Literature, South Asian, Arab-American, Americas, Dolly Gray and Middle East Book awards (among others!). Connecting to and buying from small presses is also critical. And we need to think about connecting to our immigrant communities to find material there and online that reflects the rich diversity of our communities (including our global community!).
- Highlight - booktalk them, put them in displays and face-out on shelving, use them in programming and in outreach collections, include them in booklists - and think twice before you weed them. Will you see another delightful book about a family's celebration of tasty roti like F. Zia and Ken Min's Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji (Lee and Low, 2011)?
- Inform Yourself - follow hashtage like #diversityjedi; #weneeddiversebooks and #everydaydiversity. Follow blogs like American Indians in Children's Literature, CrazyQuiltEdi, Sarah Dahlen, Book Toss, LatinX in Kids Lit, Reading While White, Rich in Color, Disability in Kids Lit, We Are Kid Lit Collective (GREAT reading lists btw) and the blogs THEY link to to identify ongoing and breaking issues and reflect on the literature (and misuse of literature).
- Advocate - let your salespeople, jobbers and the publishers know that you appreciate the diverse #ownvoices books they are and have published. Ask for more and say why it matters. Advocate with your colleagues, stand up and be an ally for diversity and #ownvoices. The more the publishers hear, the better.
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