IS WNDB A NON-PROFIT?
Yes, WNDB is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. All donations made to WNDB are tax-deductible.
CAN I SUBMIT MY BOOK TO WNDB FOR REVIEW OR PUBLICATION?
WHERE DID THE #WENEEDDIVERSEBOOKS HASHTAG COME FROM?
In a Twitter exchange on April 17, 2014, Ellen Oh and Malinda Lo expressed their frustration with the lack of diversity in kidlit. This wasn’t a new conversation for Ellen or Malinda, just the latest, this time in response to the all-white, all-male panel of children’s authors assembled for BookCon’s May 31 reader event. In a series of tweets, Ellen started talking about taking action. Several other authors, bloggers, and industry folks piped up saying they would like to be involved as well.
We planned a three-day event for May 1-3 to raise awareness, brainstorm solutions, and take action (Diversify Your Shelves). Aisha Saeed primed the pump on April 24 with the first tweet including the #WeNeedDiverseBooks hashtag.
After Aisha’s post, the hashtag started taking off, officially trending for the first time on April 29, around 9:30 pm EST.
WHO STARTED WNDB AS A NONPROFIT?
WNDB was started by a team of writers, illustrators, and publishing professionals, led by the original Executive Committee (Ellen Oh, Lamar Giles, Marieke Nijkamp, Miranda Paul, Aisha Saeed, Karen Sandler, and Ilene Wong) and supported by the original PR team (Stacey Lee and SE Sinkhorn).
WHO IS ON THE WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS TEAM?
You’ll find the team members here.
HOW CAN I VOLUNTEER FOR WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS?
Thank you for your interest in supporting our mission by volunteering! Please reach out using our Volunteer page and a member of our team will get back to you.
HOW CAN I GET WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS SWAG?
We generally offer WNDB swag as a donation reward during our fundraisers, and we’re working on setting up a shop where posters, buttons, and more will be available!
HOW CAN I GET MY BOOK FEATURED ON THE WE NEED DIVERSE BLOG OR ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
Please visit our Contact Us page, which has updated contact information for the WNDB communications manager and social media manager.
CAN I GET PERMISSION TO REUSE IMAGES FROM YOUR 2014 SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN?
While the images were submitted to our campaign for use on our Tumblr, we do not own those images. You would have to contact the individuals who created them for permission.
ARE YOU STILL LOOKING FOR WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS IMAGES? HOW CAN I SUBMIT ONE OF MY OWN?
We are no longer accepting images, but thank you for your interest!
WHAT ARE THE STATISTICS SUPPORTING THE DEARTH OF DIVERSE LITERATURE?
On September 11, 1965, an article was published in The Saturday Review titled “The All-White World of Children’s Books.” It revealed that of 5,206 children’s trade books published by sixty-three publishers during a three year period, only 349 books, about 6.7 percent, had one or more African American characters in them. Eight of the publishers at that time published only all-white books.
Current 2019 statistics from the Cooperative Children's Book Center show that the percentages of children's books depicting main characters from diverse backgrounds are lower than the number of books with main characters who are animals. Research shows that 11.9% of main characters are Black/African, 1% are Native/First Nations, 5.3% are Latinx, 8.7% are Asian/Asian American, .05% are Pacific Islander, 41.8% are white, and 29.2% are animal/other. Additionally, 3.4% of books have a main character with a disability and 3.1% have a main character who identifies as LGBTQIAP+.
The CCBC research also covers how many books about diverse main characters are written by authors who share that race or ethnicity. The percentage of books written and/or illustrated by authors and/or artists of the same race is 68.2% for Native/First Nations, 46.4% for Black/African, 80% for Pacific Islanders, 95.7% for Latinx, and 100% for Asian/Asian American.
ARE THERE ANY STATISTICS ABOUT THE DIVERSITY OF STAFF WORKING IN THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY?
Lee & Low collects statistics on the diversity of people who work in book publishing. According to their most recent 2019 research, 76% of people in publishing are white, 7% are Asian/Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander/South Asian/South East Indian, 6% are Latinx/Mexican, 5% are Black/Afro American/Afro Caribbean, 3% are biracial/multiracial, <1% are Middle Eastern, and <1% are American Indian/Alaskan Native/First Nations/Native American.
According to Lee & Low, 74% of those working in publishing are cis women, 23% are cis men, 1% are genderfluid/genderqueer/nonbinary, and <1% are trans men, intersex people, and trans women. Among those working in publishing, 81% are straight, 10% are bisexual/pansexual, 4% are gay, 2% are lesbian, and 1% are asexual. Finally, 89% of publishing staff identify as nondisabled.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF CHILDREN SEEING THEMSELVES IN BOOKS?
Seeing Reflections of Themselves
Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop published an article in 1990 titled “Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors” that speaks about how our society has grown with culture, but our books don’t reflect it. She describes that people of color see through windows, looking in at a world that isn’t like their own.
Bishop noted, “When children cannot find themselves reflected in the books they read, or when the images they see are distorted, negative, or laughable, they learn a powerful lesson about how they are devalued in the society of which they are a part.” Children are affected by what they see around them, and it helps them to grow.
Learning the True Nature of the World Around Them
For white children, they also suffer from not seeing the true nature of the world around them. It can distort the world around them and their connections to other humans. All children can learn from the richness of culture. As this School Library Journal blog post notes, non-white parents are three times more likely to talk about race to their children than white parents. Even at a young age, children do categorize themselves into groups. Children’s books can be used as a resource to help with tough topics.
Seeing Themselves in Characters and Their Environment
Kids do search for themselves in books. While our population continues to grow and change, children do deserve to find connections with characters they are looking for like themselves. Children aren’t the only ones who are looking for themselves in books. In a survey of 2,000 schools, 90 percent of the educators believed children would become more enthusiastic readers if they had books reflecting their lives. Schools and libraries are searching to remedy this, however, it can be a challenge to find go-to books that remind them of their own students and want to share with them. Initiatives like First Book’s Stories for All initiative can bridge that gap. Read more in the “Study on Children Are Not Colorblind: How Children Learn Race” from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee by Erin N. Winkler, Ph.D.