Why #WeNeedDiverseBooks

The Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) of the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin recently published the findings from their annual gathering in their report, “Children’s Books by and about People of Color Published in the United States.”

In response, there has been a lot of finger pointing from writers to publishers then publishers to “The Market”, then back to writers and then about how writers of color are educated in MFA programs.  If you’re a writer of color, this makes a bleak market seem even bleaker.  I don’t know how to affect these systemic problems except to buy books written by writers of color, write well, submit my best work, be a professional, and never ever quit.

The CCBC’s findings also noted that while they track writers and protagonists who are African Americans, American Indians, Asian/Pacifics and Asian/Pacific Americans, and Latinos and they do not track the works of white writers or protagonists because “they are not notably, or even noticeably, lacking.”  This year’s numbers are at their lowest since 1994 when they began collecting this data. The narrative of the human experience is still incomplete.  #WeNeedDiverseBooks because the entire story hasn’t been told.  #WeNeedDiverseBooks because what we know without them isn’t enough.

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