Diversity in children's literature

NPR's Elizabeth Blair recently posted an article about the lack of diversity in children's books. According to a report by the Cooperative Children's Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, only 3% of children's books are “by or about Latinos—even though nearly a quarter of all public school children today are Latino.” Blair discusses the reasons behind this (which boils down to: right now, most best-selling kids' books are by and about white people, and publishers are driven by profit), but reminds readers that our changing national demographics will probably lead to a growing market for more diverse stories.

I'm always interested in stories about the psychological effects of books we read as children—nothing irritates me more than the suggestion (either implicit or explicit) that boys shouldn't be asked to read “girl” books, but everybody can, and should, read “boy” books. We need to give children books that encourage them to see characters of both genders and a variety of ages and ethnic backgrounds as worthy subjects. If parents start demanding more books like that, trust me: publishers will deliver.
Posted by: Julianka


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