Your Bookshelf Doesn’t Look Like America*

I hate to see the “We Need Diverse Books” campaign end with only one month devoted to it, so I’m reblogging this excellent article. I’m a fact and numbers person, and the numbers don’t lie! My favorite line was “Equally as important as providing a plethora of lovable characters that kids of color can relate to is preventing white kids from growing up to be participating oppressors in a broken system.”

You're gonna need a bigger book

“The mission statements of major publishers are littered with intentions,” says Christopher Myers in his New York Timesarticle from March 2014, “The Apartheid of Children’s Literature.” He couldn’t have written a more understated, nor more damning sentence. Big publishers’ mission statements are full of platitudes and lofty ideals about diversity that have yet to translate into actual, measurable change.

In 2013, just 253 of 3200, or 8%, of published children’s books starred protagonists of color. To those defensively insisting, “It’ll get better! Change takes time!”—sit down. It’s not getting better. It’s getting worse. In 2008, for example, the number sat at 13%; in 2010, 9%. Even when children’s books featuring non-human protagonists are excluded from consideration, the percentage only goes up slightly to around 10.8% for 2013. This number is ridiculously low, given that in 2012, the U.S. Census Bureau released data showing that non-white children actually make up…

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