A Response to “Why Hasn’t the Number of Multicultural Books Increased In Eighteen Years?”

I read this article with great interest. I’ve been writing about the need for children’s literature that reflects our reality for over twenty years. I remember sitting in an audience and hearing Virginia Hamilton and Arnold Adoff ask the same question. In 1998, I wrote a piece entitled “Confessions of a Latina Author.” What have I learned? What changes are needed to produce necessary change?

The Diversity Gap in Children's Books

The Diversity Gap in Children’s Books – click to see on the Lee & Low blog

1. Although children’s publishing is a business, it also strives to serve our children, all our young readers. We need publishers, library and educator organizations at all levels (national, state and local), and book award committees to implement their stated commitment to diversity including at their leadership level, now.

2. We need readers and leaders who cherish bookjoy ourselves to work collaboratively to motivate diverse families to be reading families. We need to be as creative, clever and appealing as the fast food chains, cereal advertisers, and toy makers.

Sadly, for some the word diversity equals inferiority. Quite the contrary. Our children are heirs to our common wealth. They deserve to read and savor our many voices, our national literary heritage.

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