Post election, many of us in kidlit are thinking about the responsibility that comes with writing for children: A responsibility to create stories that reflect our diverse world, foster understanding and acceptance of differences, and above all, inspire empathy.
I stand with the children’s book community in their pledge to bring these kinds of books into the world. And YOU can, too. You needn’t be an author, illustrator, publisher or librarian to support this movement.
So how can you help? It’s simple. Seek out diverse books and purchase them! If you don’t happen to have a young reader on your gift list this year, buy a diverse book and donate it to a local school or library. Here’s a list of Where to Find Diverse Books, sorted by topic, and an extensive list of links to explore diverse titles.
On Giving Tuesday, please join me in a pledge to give one or more diverse books this holiday season, and into the new year!
If you’d like to donate to We Need Diverse Books, the Andrea Brown Literary Agency is matching donations up to $2,000 today only!
To encourage you to take the pledge with me, I’ll kick in a book giveaway. Please comment below, or email me (with Diverse Books Challenge in the subject line), the title of the diverse book you purchased, and a little bit about where (or to whom) it was gifted or donated, to enter to win a signed copy of STARRING CARMEN. It’s a new (diverse!) picture book written by me, and illustrated by Lorena Alvarez—which will be published by Abrams in 2017. Each book you buy and give will count as a separate entry. And the more entries I get, the more books I’ll give away.
The thing is, it’s not only the children reflected in the pages of diverse books who need them, but just as vitally, those who are not.
As Ellen Oh, President of WNDB, said so eloquently in her letter to the WNDB Family:
“For there is no doubt in my mind that the lack of good representation in children’s books that could be good windows into other lives, is a key reason for the complete lack of empathy in much of the populace. Imagine if these same people had read Last Stop on Market Street or Brown Girl Dreaming or Better Nate than Ever or American Born Chinese. What if they’d read All American Boy? I can’t help but think that some of them might have made a different decision had they only been exposed to diversity at a young age.”
The world needs these stories. Won’t you join me?