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News You Can Use – Diversity Headlines

In our new blog series, we're gathering all the latest news on diversity in children's 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 May and June 2022.

Heading: Children's Literature News - Around the Nation

6/14/2022: Spectrum News 1 - "Bringing Diversity to Broadway: A Kentucky Woman Authors a Book Series to Inspire Young Children"

Spectrum News 1/Khyati Patel

“It’s a lot easier for a child of color to find a book with an animal or an inanimate object like a truck as the protagonist in the story, which is just still kind of mind-blowing to me, than it is for a child of color to find a story where the main character looks like them”

6/13/2022: Oprah Daily - "Author Kwame Alexander Gets Kids Reading and Thinking of the Future as It Could Be"

"Most of the work I do is really centered around trying to resist and rebel against the deficit language that is used to describe and portray Black people in general and Black children in particular—marginalized, disadvantaged, and othered. I don’t accept that, and I don’t buy it. I currently believe that one of my jobs as a writer is to show the full humanity of Black people in that we laugh, love, learn, and joke just like everybody else."

6/10/2022: WV Public Broadcasting - "Children's Authors Discuss Creativity, Appalachia, Diversity"

"Many of Ford’s stories are adapted from folktales she heard as a child. Ford identifies as Affrilachian, a term that combines African American and Appalachian identities. She said that, because history books don’t often include African American history, she didn’t begin learning about it until she found some of her aunt’s books."

6/10/2022: Los Angeles Times - "Milestone Media is on a Mission to Add Young Creators of Color to the Comic Book Universe"

“Creating content that is inclusive of diverse stories and characters is an important mission for DC,” says Nancy Spears, DC’s vice president of sales and marketing. “With the Milestone Initiative we’re making a concerted effort to focus on building a pipeline of talent that will contribute to those stories and characters from perspectives uniquely their own.”

6/7/2022: The Michigan Daily - "Are you there, Judy?"

Jennie Vang/Daily

"When speaking on the importance of a wide variety of experiences and characters in children’s literature, Oehrli noted that banning books takes away crucial opportunities for growth and knowledge."

6/1/2022: K-12 Dive - "Why Text Diversity Matters"

"This was in the 1980s, when there weren’t many popular fiction children’s or young adult novels featuring a range of racially and ethnically diverse characters. Having one character redefined the series for me in a powerful way — it affirmed me and showed me I also fit in. That I, too, am America."

5/31/2022: Block Club Chicago - "How A River North Author Turned Family Storytime Into A Children’s Book Highlighting South Asian Culture"

"She said she also hopes people will see Pakistan in a different light than what’s often portrayed on the news as a country with “bombings” and poverty. “I think starting off by telling children that every place is different but no place is bad, is a really good way to start life,” Nasima said."

5/12/2022: The Bulletin - "COCC Librarian Promotes Diversity Amid Increased Political Tensions Over Children's Books"

"Books that tackle diversity, equity and inclusion have become a political focal point among conservative pundits who consider them inappropriate in early childhood education. But for Finney, these books are essential tools that help children understand equality, gender, grief and disabilities during the most formative years of their lives."

5/5/2022: International Literacy Association - "Why Diversity Needs to Be at the Heart of Children’s Literature"

"[T]he concern around books as harmful or radically biased against the elitist status quo doesn't justify the censorship that tends to silence the already marginalized voices. Censoring actually works against our desire to protect our children, and it is only with diverse literature that we can rear responsible, well-rounded, and critical members of society."

Heading: Children's Literature News - Worldwide

Australia:

6/1/2022: Sunrise - "Australian Researcher Claims Classic Children’s Books are Not Diverse Enough"

"In Australia, 24 educators in Western Australia agreed to be part of the study, and selected the 12 most-read picture story books in the kindergartens over a five-day observation period. The study found that about 90 per cent of the books fell short of representing multicultural Australia fairly, pushing “dominant culture” ideologies."

5/11/2022: Happy - "Randa Abdel-Fattah on ‘Our Stories’, and Diversity in Children’s Storytelling"

Randa Abdel-Fattah

"What I think has evolved is the critical consciousness around power relations — who gets to write and who is written about; around the social context in which a story is told, the intent and impact of words and characters, and so on."

South Africa:

6/18/2022: SABC News - "BOOKS | Sipho's Pink Dress by Tshegofatso Magolego" - (Video)

UK:

6/23/2022: Metro - "One in 10 UK Parents ‘would never speak to their child about what LGBT means’"

"[B]ecause there is so little representation of LGBTQ+ life, especially in children’s spaces, there will be a lot of them who have never come across such types of relationships. I remember taking the children to a playdate when they were in nursery school. They were playing a game of family and the girl whose house we were at wanted to be the mummy. One of my daughters said that she wants to be the other mummy and the girl was like, “What, there is not another mummy,” so my daughter got a little upset by that."

6/17/2022: Metro - "‘Children need to see their lives reflected back at them’: Dr Ranj on why diversity is so important in kids’ books"

"It’s so hugely important that children get to see their lives reflected back at them,’ he says. ‘When kids see people that are like them in the media, it stimulates their imagination and gives them hope. "

5/19/2022: Grazia - "I Struggled To Find Children’s Books That Reflect My Family – So I Wrote One"

Dr Ranj Singh

"It’s powerfully moving to see children react to seeing themselves and their families centered when often they’ve been depicted on the side lines, and to see talented Black creators building their picture-book careers."

Heading: Not Just Books - Children's Media Headlines

6/14/2022: Common Sense Media - "Who Is the "You" in YouTube?: Missed Opportunities in Race and Representation in Children's YouTube Videos"

"YouTube can be a source of empowering and inspiring real-life stories and representations of BIPOC communities, but while families can do a lot to seek out the right stories, YouTube could also make them easier to find by elevating BIPOC creators and making YouTube a destination for representation in media."

5/19/2022: CBS Bay Area - "Filipinos Seeing More Representation in New Films, Television"

"Some of the stories draw from Leva's own childhood, and include Filipino food, culture, and living in an intergenerational household with a lola, or grandmother. "I hope that Filipino American kids will feel seen and not only feel like who they are and their heritage is normal, but can be excited about it. Excited to share it," Leva said. "

We're also proud to share some instances of the work Diverse BookFinder is doing and/or getting recognized for:

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