About a month ago I received an email from Emily Griffin, president of Children’s Literature, to all reviewers discussing race in reviews and linked a couple sites that may help everyone be mindful of this topic. Side note, I haven’t reviewed in awhile and I think that it’s because I only signed up for a year…still receiving emails though so thats cool.
As one who illustrates, writes and reviews children’s books, addressing race/ethnicity, gender, disabilities, and mental illness is a must and I felt the need to share the two articles. There are many different children and they all want to read about kids like them. I think it’s also a good idea to introduce different cultures to a child as well, let them meet different people, see different worlds.
I grew up (and live!) in Glen Burnie MD. Here there are many types of people so when I first started realizing how many of the characters in the picture books I was reading were white I was like, wait, most people in and around Baltimore are black so…why aren’t there more black main characters? In high school we had a pretty diverse list of stories like I know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou and Sula by Toni Morrison and Their Eyes were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston are just three I can think off the top of my head, so again, why aren’t there more CHILDREN’S BOOKS with black characters? I see even less books with asian or hispanic characters and I can’t remember ever reading any books about native american children.
I guess the only way to solve this problem is to illustrate, write, read (and research!!!) more diverse books!