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Children’s Books Are Becoming More Diverse, Data Finds

Children’s Books Are Shifting Toward Diversity, Data Finds

According to recent statistics from the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, recent figured indicate that diversity is slowly coming to children’s books.

The number of publications with “significant African or African-American content nearly doubled, from 93 titles in 2013 to 179 in 2014,” according to an article on PublishersWeekly.com.

“There was also an increase in the number of books with significant Asian/Pacific or Asian/Pacific-American content, which moved from 69 titles in 2013 to 112 in 2014,” the article said. “However, books about American Indians and Latinos remained nearly the same, with American Indians represented in just 34 titles in 2013 and 36 titles in 2014, and Latinos represented in 57 titles in 2013 and 66 in 2014.”

According to the article, “the CCBC’s statistics have gotten the attention of publishers.”

The article said that before the CCBC began collecting the data in 1985, director Kathleen T. that people “had a sense there weren’t many books out there but they didn’t realize just how bleak it really was until they saw the actual numbers.”

“Diversity is the missing piece of the puzzle in children’s books and [the CCBC] has had its finger on the pulse of this issue from the very beginning,” said Jason Low, publisher of Lee & Low in the report, according to the article.

According to the article, “Horning credits We Need Diverse Books, a grassroots movement aimed at addressing diversity in children’s books, with the recent dramatic shift.”

“They have really kept diversity front and center,” Horning said in a release: “The data published by CCBC have illustrated the notably minimal growth of diversity in children's publishing over the last few decades, which is especially pertinent as the population of children of color in the U.S. continues to climb. It asks the question for us, ‘Why are the already small numbers staying almost exactly the same?'”

The recent numbers “give Horning a reason to hope that diverse content will continue to thrive within children’s literature.

“Even though the data we collect indicates children’s literature in this country continues to represent a mostly white world, we see signs that things are changing,” she said in the article. “In 2014, for example, we saw a marked increase in the number of novels for children and teens by African-American authors.” The article looks at two books, Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl which earned the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature and Kwame Alexander’s The Crossover, winning the Newberry Medal.

“That’s huge because these awards have an impact on sales,” said Horning. “The books have to sell. Publishing is a business. If diverse books sell well, there will be more published. We have to help make that happen by buying the diverse books that are out there. Our kids can’t wait.”

Read the full story and comment below.

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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