Of 3,200 children’s books published in 2013, just 93 were about black people, according to a study by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin.
From the New York Times:
“I’m talking with a boy. He’s at that age when the edges of the man he will become are just starting to press against his baby-round face. He’s got his first opinions and ideas and jokes, which are horrible, because there is nothing that boys his age love more than corny jokes…
“When I talk with kids like this, our conversations always seem to go the same way:
“‘So you’re telling me these are all the books published last year for kids?’ they ask me. ‘That’s a lot of books. That’s more books than I could read in a year.’
“There was something missing. I saw that these characters, these lives, were not mine.
“‘Yep, it’s a few thousand.’
“‘And in all of those thousands of books, I’m just not in them?'”
Read the rest of the NYT Opinion piece by Christopher Myers, “The Apartheid of Children’s Literature.”
“Reading came early to me, but I didn’t think of the words as anything special. I don’t think my stepmom thought of what she was doing as more than spending time with me in our small Harlem apartment. From my comfortable perch on her lap I watched as she moved her finger slowly across the page. She probably read at about the third grade level, but that was good enough for the True Romance magazines she read. I didn’t understand what the stories were about, what ‘bosom’ meant or how someone’s heart could be ‘broken.’ To me it was just the comfort of leaning against Mama and imagining the characters and what they were doing…”
Continue reading “Where are the People of Color in Children’s Books?” by Walter Dean Myers.