We Need Diverse Books was founded in 2014 to give voice to marginalized writers and illustrators. Over the last nine years there have been significant increases in the number of diverse titles published in the United States, and yet Palestinian creators remain one of the most underrepresented communities in the industry today. Further, the handful of books published by Palestinian writers are often censored, not only silencing these authors but preventing readers from finding their stories.
At WNDB, we know that reading builds empathy, especially during this time of devastating violence and grief, occurring globally. Children need diverse books more than ever as a gateway to learn about our greater world and to provide a bridge to understanding and healing.
This is why WNDB is pledging its support to the Palestinian writing community in the American diaspora. Starting in early 2024, we will:
- Provide five Walter Dean Myers Grants, totaling $10,000, to unpublished Palestinian-American writers and illustrators to help bring their stories into the world. Our next grant cycle will open in Summer 2024.
- Reopen our Emergency Grants to Palestinian-American creators in financial need. We will make $5,000 available to eligible applicants starting in early 2024.
- Donate book bundles by Palestinian-American creators to schools and libraries across the country.
As we wind down 2023 and look to 2024, WNDB remains committed to supporting diverse voices and diverse stories—because we know that books save lives.