Diverse Children's Literature: Why does it matter?
This week at The Guardian is all about celebrating diverse children's literature, and I couldn't be more excited about it!
What makes a book diverse? A book that is about, for, in favor of, inspirational to, and not harmful to all different colors, races, religions, sexualities, disabilities, and more! The book can't leave anybody out. Out of the 3,200 children's books published in in 2013, less than 300 were about black people, Native Americans, Asians or Latinos combined. That's not cool.
A lot of children of color, different sexuality, untraditional homes and more face a serious problem when reading children's literature: they can't related. As writer Kate Messner explained on her blog, half of all five-year-olds in the country belong to a racial or ethnic minority, yet white kids continue to hold center stage in most children's books and young-adult fiction. As a result, large numbers of kids don't see themselves reflected in the books they read, and non-white, or non-heterosexual, or even non-male children end up learning that they are marginal, or secondary, in their society. They want to read about a character like them, but they cannot find any similarities between themselves, and the characters they are meeting through text. This doesn't mean that the book isn't good, but it does mean that the book is failing to be inspirational to all children, and that is a problem.
In honor of celebrating diversity in children's literature, and to encourage more from publishing companies, The Guardian is having a week of diverse literature content on their site! Follow the link to see the articles as they come out, and first, check out their list of 50 children's books that are a testament to how great diversity in literature can be: http://www.theguardian.com/childrens-books-site/2014/oct/13/50-best-culturally-diverse-childrens-books!