Once upon a time there were as many children of color in kids' books as there were white children. Of course, as with other fantasy books, this book is still hard to come by. Just ask Associate Professor Melanie Koss, who teaches at Northern Illinois University.
She reviewed 455 children's books published in 2012 and found that 75 percent of the main characters were white and 60 percent of them male.
Koss,who teaches children's literature and education,said:
You have to be motivated to read and part of it is being inspired to read. If you never see yourself in a book it could have an impact on your motivation to read and it can impact reading comprehension and ability.
The study found only a quarter of the main characters in the books were non-white, and they were normally added to the background or were supporting roles to the main white character.
Forty five percent of the books' primary culture was white; blacks were featured as the main culture in just 9 percent of the books. Those that did feature black characters made their race into the story and discussed historical moments in black history.
"It's right to have characters that just happen to be black in the story. Why does the race of the character have to be the story?" said Koss.
Koss's reporting highlights research as far back as 1965, when a study of books pointed to a lack of non-white characters. Females were more likely to have traditional roles such as stay-at-home moms. Beyond race and ethnicity, Koss found only 36 percent of the main characters in the 2012 books she studied were female. Only 9 percent of the books included characters with disabilities, and only one had a cognitive disability. This blogger/author is delighted to have a children's series that lionizes children regardless of color. Of that I am very proud, indeed!