We Need Diverse Books has been an officially incorporated nonprofit for 5 years! To celebrate, we have a special announcement.
Hi, I’m JoAnn with We Need Diverse Books. If you’re just hearing about We Need Diverse Books for the first time, welcome!
I bet you’re wondering how I got here.
For that we need to go back a few years, and introduce some numbers.
So, in 2015 the Cooperative Children’s Book Center released its annual report on racial diversity in children’s books. According to the report, most of the main characters in children’s books at the time were white. The next largest group (animals, trucks, and other non-human characters) eclipsed all of the Native characters and characters of color combined.
The year before that, a hashtag started by a group of diverse authors started trending online: #WeNeedDiverseBooks. Turns out, a lot of people felt the same way.
And everyone came to the same conclusion: things needed to change.
That’s why in the summer of 2014, the same group of authors who started the conversation with a hashtag created an organization with the same name.
Which brings us to today. Native characters and characters of color increased by 9% (*8.8%), which is pretty good.
Although animals, trucks, etc. saw their representation go up by 14.5%.
So there’s still a lot of work to do.
But the good news is, to that end We Need Diverse Books is an organization devoted to increasing diversity in: the publishing industry, in school libraries, and on bookshelves in general.
And we do that by giving away grants and awards, by fostering new talent with mentorships, partnerships with publishers to curate diverse catalogs, and even releasing our own anthologies.
And we’re just getting started.
The even better news is that we’re not doing this work alone. To highlight that and to properly celebrate WNDB’s 5th year anniversary, we are so excited to announce — in case you didn’t already guess — we’re starting a YouTube channel!
We really want to use this platform to continue the conversation that we started with a hashtag and send the signal even wider. We want to promote diverse bloggers and reviewers, other organizations, more programs, and — of course — ALL THE BOOKS.
If you already follow us on social media, this will showcase some of the same content like lists of books to check out, but we will also be interviewing authors, highlighting our panels at different conferences, previewing upcoming releases, and a lot — A LOT more. We’ve got a lot of things in the pipeline for you guys.
And we want to hear from you too! To kick things off, we want you to start using a new hashtag and start a new conversation: #WeReadDiverseBooks.
Because if bestseller lists from the past few years have proven anything, it’s that people are already creating change by reading diverse books.
So tell us what you’re reading right now! Use the hashtag #WeReadDiverseBooks and feel free to tag us too! We are @diversebooks on Twitter and Facebook, and @weneeddiversebooks on Instagram and Tumblr. And on YouTube, feel free to give us a thumbs up and subscribe.
See you next week!
Filmed, produced, and edited by JoAnn Yao.
WNDB Illustration: LeYuen Pham
WNDB Anniversary Graphic: Phyllis Sa & JoAnn Yao
Music: “Nightingale” by Eveningland
Huyck, David and Sarah Park Dahlen. (2019 June 19). Diversity in Children’s Books 2018. sarahpark.com blog. Created in consultation with Edith Campbell, Molly Beth Griffin, K. T. Horning, Debbie Reese, Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, and Madeline Tyner, with statistics compiled by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison: http://ccbc.education.wisc.edu/books/…. Retrieved from https://readingspark.wordpress.com/20…
Huyck, David, Sarah Park Dahlen, Molly Beth Griffin. (2016 September 14). Diversity in Children’s Books 2015 infographic. sarahpark.com blog. Retrieved from https://readingspark.wordpress.com/20… Statistics compiled by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison: http://ccbc.education.wisc.edu/books/… Released for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 license