Coloring the Children’s Book Industry

Young African American woman reading book  with a coffee cup on desk

Talk a trip back in time to your school library. Walk along the fiction section and see classics like Little House on the Prairie, Dear Mr. Henshaw and the Boxcar Children. Now, stand in the nonfiction section. Browse books about the Civil War, reptiles and Pilgrims.

Count the books written by authors of color. You likely will arrive at a number smaller than the average classroom size.

Fast forward to 2018. The United States has elected and reelected its first African American president. A black women is one of the richest individuals on the planet. A Latino leader sits on the U.S. Supreme Court. Many minorities are leading corporations, school boards and governmental bodies.

But today’s school libraries don’t reflect the diversity of many of its student populations. Despite increased attention and effort to diversify children’s books, disparity still exists. 

To be specific, less than 20% of children books are authored by people of color, according to statistics compiled by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center.

Their latest statistics show that roughly 3% of children books are written by African Americans, and barely 1% are written by Native Americans.

As an African American and a descendant of a Cherokee maternal great grandmother, this book is bigger than me.

Purchasing this book is not just about getting poetry and creative writing into the hands of children around the globe. It’s about giving black and Native American students a book written by someone who looks like them.

We can change the statistics of the children’s book industry: one book purchase at a time.  Order your copy here.

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