Hello everyone, and I have a wonderful surprise to share with you all today! In my last semester of college, I had a comics journalism assignment about diversity in children's books, which is titled A Completely Diverse World of Kidlit, And What Remains for Us to Reach It! Below is a promotional video I made for the comic!
Originally, I had intended to publish this comic shortly after I finished it last year. But the work received so much acclaim that I was encouraged to get it published in a newsletter instead, but these efforts failed. So, I finally decided to publish it here before another May was over and the comic got outdated. But what exactly is A Completely Diverse World of Kidlit about, anyway? Well, of children’s books featuring human characters, only about 10% feature characters of color. This is in stark contrast to America’s population being more than 37% POC, a number which is only growing. In the past several years, efforts have been made by the children’s book industry to catch up with demographic realities, from organizations like We Need Diverse Books (WNDB) to the #OwnVoices movement. And while we know that much progress is to be made, what exactly is the plan from here? What efforts are being made, or planned to be made, by publishers, organizations, authors and illustrators in order to overcome the many obstacles still in the way of a truly diverse children’s publishing industry?
This comic focuses on the ongoing efforts at diversity in the children's book industry, from the publishers and organizations to the authors and illustrators. Specifically, it explores what needs to be done to bridge the gap between the percentage of characters of color in children's books and the percentage of people of color in America. The hope is to provide the clearest picture yet of how close we are to achieving the dream of a children’s publishing industry that fully reflects the realities of America’s status as one of the most racially and ethnically diverse nations in the world. With the help of Pat Cummings, author of Trace, I interviewed several POC authors and illustrators for this comic, including Jerry Craft, author of New Kid; Melissa Iwai, author of Night Shift Daddy; Raul Colon, author of Imagine!, and Mike Curato, author of Little Elliot, Big City; as well as Chris Raschka, author of YO! YES?, and James Hoston. I couldn't have made this comic without them, and I hope you are as impressed with the comic as they were. Without further ado, let's see what does remain for us to reach it!
Hope you enjoyed this trip in the Literature Scape! If you're interested in taking another trip, below are the websites and most relevant pages of all the contributors to the comic, along with all of my research, which also makes for some great further reading. I hope you enjoy that as well!
The Contributors' Websites / Most Relevant Webpages:
Pat Cummings: http://www.patcummings.com/
Jerry Craft: https://jerrycraft.com/
Melissa Iwai: https://www.melissaiwai.com/
Raul Colon: https://www.simonandschuster.com/authors/Raul-Colon/706247
Mike Curato: https://www.mikecurato.com/
Chris Raschka: https://www.prhspeakers.com/speaker/chris-raschka
James Hoston: https://jameshoston.com/#home
The Research and Further Reading:
'The Unbearable Whiteness of Publishing' Revisited by Shelly Romero and Adriana M. Martínez Figueroa
#OwnVoices: Why We Need Diverse Authors in Children’s Literature by Kayla Whaley
Kids' Books Still Have a Lack-Of-Diversity Problem, Powerful Image Shows by Natalie Stechyson
Report: 2019 Diversity in Children’s and YA Literature by Jaime Herndon
Where Is the Diversity in Publishing? The 2019 Diversity Baseline Survey Results
And as always, stay enlightened, educated and entertained, folks! 😉