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News You Can Use: Diversity Headlines – September/October 2022

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 September and October 2022.

10/30/2022: AsAmNews - "Author celebrates accents and cultural differences through children’s book"

According to International Literacy Association (ILA), children should see a reflection of themselves in the books they read. Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop, professor emerita at Ohio State University, told ILA that through books, “children should also see and learn about those different from themselves.” Kiang echoes this sentiment, and it is one of the biggest reasons she chose to write her book early this year. “It was a strong push to diversify Asian American stories, and this book is just one story out of a lot of many different experiences,” Kiang said.

10/29/2022: CBSMinnesota - "How diverse literature, access to books helps kids become leaders" (video)

10/27/2022: WKBW Buffalo - "'Read for the Record' event teaches children about diversity through books" (video)

10/20/2022: Publishers Weekly - "First Book Rallies Nonprofits in Push for Diverse, Affordable Children's Books"

"Diverse Books for All members believe that literacy is at the heart of those larger looming issues. “Instilling a love of reading affects not just the individual kid, but our economy. It also plays a pivotal role in all these discussions and worryings at the national level about democracy. Because democracy, the First Amendment, voting, all of these things that you hear concerns about, for good reason, they are all about the skill of reading."

10/14/2022: BU Today - "75 Years Later, Why Is Goodnight Moon Still Lulling So Many Children to Sleep?"

“Often, animals can be a fun substitute for humans in children’s books, but it would be wonderful to include a broader range of human characters in our children’s libraries,” she says. “Books can take advantage of children’s openness to other cultures, and other ways of living, because children haven’t developed biases and judgments.” 

10/08/2022: Burlington Free Press - "Little Patakha is creating diverse and empowering children's media from Jericho"

"When Jericho resident Akshata Nayak couldn't find the books she wanted for her young daughter Ava, she made her own. "I wanted to teach my daughter my native language of Konkani," Nayak said. "I'm from India and this language has no written script, and so there aren't many children books in them. And so I decided to make a book for her."

10/02/2022: Black Enterprise - "Random House Children's Books to Partner with Ebony Jr! Brand on New Little Golden Books Publishing Program"

"The books will be packaged by Lavette Books and written and illustrated by Black creators. Titles will be geared toward children ages two to five and include nonfiction and fiction. RHCB’s new line of books will support Ebony Media Publishing’s mission to ignite a love of reading and a love of self in Black children, profiling cultural icons and celebrating families and holiday traditions."

9/29/2022: Park Bugle - "Planting People Growing Justice Institute is expanding its children’s literacy program"

"The Institute’s Leaders are Readers program works in classrooms to improve literacy rates as well as increase diverse representation in literature. “You’re more likely to see a book on the cover with a black dog or a black bear than a Black boy or Black girl,” Tyner said, “because less than 10% of books are either written by authors of color or feature a character of color.”

9/29/2022: Carolina News & Reporter - "Character diversity at forefront for Columbia animators"

"The diversity shown in Tickle Me Purple is what some young adults wish they had during their childhood. Hannah Bruce is a third-year pre-pharmacy student at the University of South Carolina. She is bi-racial and said she has never seen a character that reflected her identity growing up. “It made me feel like there weren’t any people like me out there,” Bruce said."

9/22/2022: BookRiot - "City of Chicago and Chicago Public Library Declare Themselves Book Sanctuaries"

"Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot said “As one of the most diverse cities in the country, Chicago is proud to continue welcoming people from all walks of life and providing spaces for them to share their experiences. Book Sanctuaries will serve as these spaces and send an important message that our libraries are safe places for all to explore and discover.”

9/19/2022: PENAmerica - "Banned in the USA: The Growing Movement to Censor Books in Schools"

"From July 2021 to June 2022, PEN America’s Index of School Book Bans lists 2,532 instances of individual books being banned, affecting 1,648 unique book titles. 659 titles (40 percent) contain protagonists or prominent secondary characters of color; 338 titles (21 percent) directly address issues of race and racism."

9/19/2022: Amaliah - "Have You Ever Used Your Own Name in a Story?"

"Recently I had the biggest realisation of all: while I had never a read a story with a character who had a Muslim name, who celebrated Eid or wore a hijab, I had also never written a story using my own name or a familiar name. Rather, the characters in my creative writing pieces had the names Jane, Michael or Stephanie, never a Muhammad, Amina or Fatima. Or even Razeena  – and I had no idea why!"

9/19/2022: The Grio - "Children’s books taking on death, mental illness using images of diverse kids"

"The days of avoiding serious topics in children’s books — things like complex emotions, racism, mental illness, even death — appear to be behind us. Authors targeting young readers are tackling uncomfortable truths, producing more diverse and sophisticated content with which to engage them."

9/18/2022: The Salt Lake Tribune - "Utah authors sign letter decrying ‘plague of book banning’"

"One side effect of this wildfire-like spread of censorship, Hale said, is that so many kids who were finally seeing themselves validated in books as human beings and as those who are worthy of stories” are the ones being targeted. “What stories and books do is validate and teach empathy, they do not turn people into other things,” Hale says. “When kids read about themselves, they feel validated. It makes them feel like they have the right to exist.”"

9/13/2022: Yahoo!Finance - "Cal State LA College of Ethnic Studies to present 'I Read to See Me: A Celebration of Multicultural Children's Books'"

""When we foster a child's love of reading, we're fostering that child's ability to thrive in their studies, to discover who they are and to later realize their potential as an adult," said Julianne Malveaux, dean of the College of Ethnic Studies and a nationally renowned educator and economist. "This is why this event is so important and needed.""

9/9/2022: BostonGlobe - "In West Concord, Barefoot Books celebrates 30 years of diversity, inclusion, and fearless reading for kids"

"“You can have a lot of fun with the word ‘barefoot,’” she says. “You’ve got the barefoot child exploring their inner self as well as the world: the freedom to explore their imaginations. There’s lots of imagery that we talked about our mission in terms of crossing boundaries, and not only cultural boundaries but also geographical, generational, and different abilities in our books. … We felt that every child should see themselves in the books that we published.”"

9/6/2022: BeLatina - "Latina and Black Bookstore Owners Launch Kickstarter To Add Diversity To Children’s Literature"

“Books with children of color shouldn’t always be about our pain and trauma,” Stephanie said in a written statement. “Black and Brown kids deserve to see themselves in fun and fantastical settings too.”

9/1/2022: State College - "Representation Matters: Diversity in Schlow kids’ books"

"As the head of children’s services at Schlow Centre Region Library, Paula Bannon believes representation matters. “From a children’s librarian standpoint, you just want every kid to be able to come into the library and feel welcome, and like they matter, and to see themselves in books,” she says."

Germany -

10/19/2022: Publishing Perspectives - "Frankfurter Buchmesse Stages Its Debut ‘Frankfurt Kids’ Conference"

"As publishers, we must avoid saying ‘We need to publish diverse books’ and then put them into a separate section and market them less. We need to say, ‘This is part of our mainstream, and make sure that we market them effectively.’"

India -

9/19/2022: The Business Standard - "Children’s books are becoming culturally-sensitive. But is the market ready?"

"The social mores and ideologies, environment - everything has changed. This generation has newer challenges to focus on - climate and environmental, socio-political, and economic. So how can we educate children of this generation just with the books our parents or we had read?"

9/17/2022: Deccan Herald - "Restoring identity with our stories"

"Authors, storytellers and filmmakers are calling on publishers to introduce more diverse books with themes and characters that truly reflect our diverse country, unlock the treasures of our civilization, and offer our youth a balanced intellectual diet with a vision of India@100 that need not be muscular but is representative, inspiring and inclusive."

South Africa -

10/28/2022: eNCA - "Discussion | Benefits of reading diverse books" (Video)

10/26/2022: IOL - "Culturally diverse storytelling offers children many benefits"

“Exposing children to content and literature that includes diverse ethnicities can positively impact children’s self-image. It develops their confidence and pride in who they are and where they come from, and builds acceptance of others from a young age,” Maapola said.

9/22/2022: 702 -"Why it's important to include folktale in South African children's books"

"The inclusion of African folktale in children's books allows for diversity and representation in children's literacy. It aims to give children a chance to read in a language that they understand, while simultaneously promoting inclusivity, diversity and representation in African cultures."

UK -

10/20/2022: BBC - "Malorie Blackman: Black History should be taught all year round"

Malorie said that if other parts of the UK followed Wales in adding Black history to the curriculum it would help address racism, and also give make it easier for people to call out racism when they see it. "Hopefully, we can get past this nonsense of people saying you should go back to where you came from and so forth, which I still get when I mention this subject," she said. "Let's talk about the full history, embrace it warts and all, so that we can learn from it."

10/09/2022: Belfast Telegraph - "Tiana, 8, hopes book about her afro hair will inspire others to love themselves"

“When you hold up a book, you should see something positive about yourself. Now, if day by day, week after week and year after year what you’re doing is picking up books and seeing characters that don’t look like you, that will consciously or unconsciously affect your sense of wellbeing, your sense of identity and sense of what you believe you can aspire to achieve."

Wales -

10/24/2022: IWA - "‘The Elsa Effect’: Representation and the Early Years"

"Ideas about race do not exist in a vacuum and therefore we need to critically examine depictions and representations – or as the ‘Elsa Effect theory’ illuminates, the lack thereof – within those social, educational, and cultural artefacts, cultures and environments which surround us and our young children in Wales."

9/20/202: Metro UK - "Over half of parents believe diversity in toys in crucial for child self-confidence and relationship forming"

A survey by toy brand Rainbow High reveals that over half of the parents polled believe diversity in toys is ‘crucial’ for helping children develop self-confidence. They also believe it aids having a more positive attitude towards peers, especially when they look or behave differently. The survey suggests this is particularly important when looking at acceptance around disability.

9/18/2022: NPR - "Why Black characters in 'Rings of Power' and 'Little Mermaid' make fantasy better"

"Leaving aside the fact Roots is not fantasy, but a story that's Black-centered because it's about a real-life Black family — sigh — such reasoning seems to assume we're talking about an evenly-populated pop culture landscape, where there is no need to compensate for the fact that so many iconic science fiction, superhero and fantasy stories over the years have reflexively excluded non-white character and cultures."

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