Start Them Young Part I
Updated: Jan 6, 2021
The Importance of Diversity in Children’s Books
Where do We Begin?
As a child I learned a very popular children’s song that addressed a love for all the children in the world. Four skin tones were mentioned in the melody, yet the ethnicities of today reach far beyond red, yellow, black, and white.
As our nation continues to grow in ethnic diversity, so do our children. Statics show that in the classrooms of 2020, 50% of children ages ten and under come from multi-ethnic families. (Children’s Book Summit, Nielsen Bookscan). Yet, according to Diversity in Children’s Books 2018, less that 25% of children’s books depict characters from a diverse background compared to the depiction of 27% of animals/others and 50% of whites.
This large imbalance in representation can be contributed to the fact that children’s literature is overwhelmingly writing by white authors. The publishing industry as well is mainly a white industry.
There has been an increase in the number of African American characters in children’s books from six percent in 2008 to eleven percent in 2019, but proportionally this is a small improvement. (More to come with the next post)