Monday, May 19, 2014

New Initiative Could Help Bring More Diversity to Children's Books

You have read this author's thoughts on more diversity needed in children's books. There has been a groundswell on Twitter and Tumblr, leading to a new We Need Diverse Books Campaign. 

Everyone agrees: all kids need to be able to see themselves reflected in the books they read. Here is an organization that's putting its money where its mouth is as the old saying goes.
Now, a kids' literacy group thinks it's found a way to help that happen: First Book is a non-profit organization that gets books to kids in need. "There's been a growing recognition that there's a disconnect between children's books that are available and the diversity of the market," First Book CEO Kyle Zimmer tells NPR's Lynn Neary. And, she says, the statistics don't look good. "It's worse than you would guess."

After all these decades you would hope that we might have made more progress than we've made. So if you look at it, the number of — and these are statistics from a study out of the University of Wisconsin — the number of books by and about African American kids is about 1.3%. Books by and about Latino is about 3.3%. So the disconnect is profound.

The data from First Book, overwhelmingly report that in excess of 90% report that when kids see themselves in books, they are far more likely to become enthusiastic readers. But we also know that this isn't just about kids seeing themselves in books, this is also about kids seeing other kids in books, and other cultures in books
Publishers will be stronger in their response, they will produce more books with diverse content if they're sure that the market is there. So First Book stepped out with a campaign called Stories for All, where they have guaranteed to buy 10,000 copies of the titles selected that show a great commitment to diversity. And what that means for publishers is that there's a market there.

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