We're gathering all the latest news on diversity in children's and youth literature and media from around the nation and the world.
We're keeping an eye on the headlines to make sure you've got all the latest insights. After all, knowledge is power!
Here are some interesting reads from July and August 2022.
"But because of the way publishing was at the time, I thought the only way it would see the light of day or see a bookshelf was if it was about white kids. So in the original middle grade book that I wrote the main character was a white boy. I’m glad it didn’t get published! And I’m glad that publishing has changed because it would have taken me on a whole different path."
"It's different in terms of the topic is hockey, but it's actually the same as our mission, which is representation in all areas for the Black community," she said. "I was inspired to publish his book because in the Black community we don't always see ourselves doing things because we don't see other Black people doing things," Taris said. "That would not have been on my radar if he had not submitted his manuscript.""
"My goal for that book was to be able to talk about ethnicity, gender and abilities. My favorite illustration is the one that shows all of the different body types of doctors, where some are in wheelchairs and some are using crutches. That drives home that not only do doctors look like all of us, it is OK to see yourself in the field that you want to go into."
"But even if we choose not to see things, that does not mean they are not there. I got my glasses and I suddenly saw all the leaves on the trees, I suddenly saw the legs on the spider—but, of course, the leaves had always been there. The spider had always had legs. It was just now I finally saw them. Just like now how so many are starting to see the people and issues they didn’t see before in our community and our society."
"One thing that Maze, McGuffee, and Khatib agree on is that the books that kids should get reflect their experiences and identity, and that kids deserve to see themselves in all types of media. “It really engages (kids) more when they can see themselves in the books or in the media that they’re consuming,” Maze said."
"Authors Guild president Douglas Preston said reduced competition will likely make the sector even less diverse, and that's bad not just for authors, but also for readers. "The readers are served by a maximum diversity of authors and voices, especially authors from overlooked communities," Preston said. "These are authors who don't make a lot of money, but who have very important things to say.""
"“They’re looking forward to their literary adventure visits and the workshops that the organization has provided for our students. “It’s always been important to me that my children see themselves in literature. We know, particularly for adolescent students, that seeing themselves reflected in the literature gives them that first step toward imagining the possibilities in life.”"
"Terry Frazier said he's amazed at the books Melia has collected because he didn't see these types of literature when he was growing up. Students will be inspired by the authors of those books and their biographies, he added, to know they can achieve anything."
“When children cannot find themselves reflected in the books they read, or when the images they see are inauthentic or negative, they learn a powerful lesson of how they are perceived in the world,” Potter says. “If readers cannot find characters who look like them and experience life in ways that they can relate to in the books they read, they can feel alone and isolated, all negatively impacting their academic engagement."
"In her library, she hopes that all 1,600 of the school’s students can find a book that reflects them, whether in regards to race, sexual identity, home life, mental health, homelessness, trauma, or any other aspect of their lived experiences. “Dominant social groups have always been reflected, but [those groups] may not know as much about others,” she said. “Regardless of a community’s demographics, students have a lot to learn about other people and groups.”
"We want to see our next generation be generally inclusive and lead with love,” Totten said. “My business partner and I often discussed that society draws lines of where we belong. Our goal is to show kids what someone’s life might look like on the other side of that line. When you hear someone’s story, it creates empathy. One thing that is special about books is there are chances for self-exploration and a time for pause … and ask questions. You can see yourself in these characters. That opportunity for self-reflection is huge.”
"She remembers visiting public libraries because the school she taught at didn't have many works about and by African Americans. Most of what she found were historical books about slavery or the civil rights movement. "There aren't many books that represent Black joy," she said. "We can tell our stories. They can be fun. We need books that bring joy into kids' lives, and adult lives, as well.""
"“Our mission is to celebrate diversity and encourage reading for all. So we try to stock as many books written by women and people of color who have been historically marginalized in the publishing industry,” Nicolle told News4JAX."
"Crooker also said the new books will teach children to welcome and celebrate cultural diversity in the community. “It’s very important for [the kids] to hear a variety of stories in a small town,” said Crooker."
"Yu and Me Books is one of more than 300 new independent bookstores that have sprouted across the United States in the past couple of years, in a surprising and welcome revival after an early pandemic slump. And as the number of stores has grown, the bookselling business — traditionally overwhelmingly white — has also become more much more diverse."
"I think it’s a very important notion that children should see about different, larger worlds, be able to visualize a story and get involved in a story emotionally, but also see themselves in a mirror. I think different children should be able to see themselves in a mirror from very young age books"
"This project is about letting people know that it's real. It's real. Racism is real," she said. "It's time that we start talking about it, and it's time that we start educating our children about it."
"A research team from the Netherlands, the United States and Canada found when children were read a story that countered stereotypes, for example about a girl who’s good at maths, afterwards they were less likely to hold gendered stereotypes than the control group"
"Children develop their sense of identity and perceptions of others from an early age. One recent Australian study suggests that books with diverse characters and storylines “can be a powerful tool for extending children’s knowledge and understandings of themselves and others who may be different culturally, socially or historically.”"
"Hoping to use their natural curiosity as an asset, Shurabi said the books “allow children to know how to ask those questions, know how to approach people or see how they should treat people with disabilities and eliminate the biases they might have.”"
8/17/2022: Pune Times Mirror - "Turning a new leaf"
"Books today focus on identity, caste, gender, disability, body image and so on. There is also a greater emphasis on producing books that are interesting and not preachy. I think children's books in India have moved away from the morality tales that my generation read when we were kids. They're no longer simplistic black and white stories with a moral written in bold at the end of the book."
7/6/2022: NHK-World - "Picture Books Help Prisoners Voice Their Feelings" (Video)
“As an organisation passionate about giving the Welsh language to the young children of Wales, we hope to unify a nation and build a vibrant, open and multicultural Welsh-speaking community,” the Mudiad Meithrin said. “This is so that children see themselves and the diversity of our country reflected in books.”
"Gemma said: “We couldn’t find any children’s books which represented a family like ours. While there is more diversity in kids’ stories these days, there was nothing which truly reflected my own child’s experience of home life. I wrote these stories because it is so important for children to see themselves represented in the literature and media they consume – I want my daughter to look at this book and feel like she’s looking in a mirror.”"
"“Only 7% of books published in 2020 had minority ethnics as the main character, that's even less for black people and even less for a black person with special needs”, she said. “If a child is old enough to read or listen to a book, then they're old enough for us to start teaching them about differences and autism”, she said."
"About becoming an author, Humza described how he didn’t read often due to not feeling represented in children's literature growing up. He said: “I would look at the shelves and never see any characters that related to me, which is probably why I never had the incentive to start reading."
"Over the past five years, we’ve worked with more than 40 episodic series in the preschool and children’s space, as well as a variety of kids and family films, placing disabled creatives in dozens of productions."
"By creating a more diverse story and cast, The Rings of Power can engage in a wider range of stories, reach a bigger audience and help to make these things more normal within the world of modern fantasy storytelling."
"The Spider-Man character’s classic costume, complete with wide-eyed and web-patterned mask, is a key ingredient to the character’s appeal across race, gender and nationality. Almost anyone can imagine themselves behind it as this everyman — an underestimated smartypants who, after a quick change into head-to-toe spandex, becomes a force for good."
"Seeing Franklin was sort of like a revelation, 'cause here's a character that represents you," recalled Smith, creator of Disney's The Proud Family series. "The first time I saw him on a special, he's dancing. That meant something to a lot of us, and certainly inspired my path as an artist."
"It's inspired by Mesoamerican culture, and the people who were involved as advisors are academics — Mexicans of the region, Latin Americans, they call themselves Latinoamericanistas. They made it possible. And the company, the production — totally open, eager, respectful, smart, sensitive. That is representation, that's how things should be done — with this commitment, with this humility, which is incredible."
"When she was growing up, it was rare for Deanna Singh to see characters in books, television, or film that looked like her. Now that she’s an adult, she aims to change the way people think about diversity and inclusion in our society."
"The comic book industry has been criticized over the years for whitewashing and lacking diversity. But lately, stories like Black Panther, Shang-Chi and Ms. Marvel have made it onto the big and small screens, garnering much praise from audiences. Those stories, along with The Umbrella Academy, serve as an important reminder that representation in storytelling matters."