Back in 2003, when I took a class with Lucille Clifton, my first professor in children’s literature, I have been even more aware of the lack of non-majority narratives in kids’ books—as well as the need for more diverse individuals in the world of publishing. Teaching in West Africa and experiencing other moments in my personal/family life only solidified my recognition that, on the whole, we need more diverse books (and authors, editors, agents) in our world.
Fast-forward to 2014, when an online discussion with colleagues turned into an opportunity to network and, ultimately, do something big about the diversity gap. I joined forces with several others and we rocked the world with a #WeNeedDiverseBooks Twitter hashtag campaign.
But that’s not all.
We Need Diverse Books is now a non-profit organization with several initiatives and partner organizations implementing diversification programs on the ground. I am proud to be a part of it, currently serving as the Mentorship Committee chair after more than a year on the Executive Committee board as VP of Outreach.
(Please note that all opinions expressed on my personal website are my own, and do not necessarily recognize the organization as a whole.)
I hope you will take the time to learn more about WNDB and consider contributing financially if you can. If you want to email me in regard to the organization, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re interested in reading more about what I’ve had to say on the topic of diversity in literature (or ‘multicultural’ literature, as some term it), here are some links to past articles:
I also encourage you to follow those who are #DiversityJedi – including (but not limited to!): Cynthia Leitich Smith, Debbie Reese, Dhonielle Clayton, Tracey Baptiste, Mike Jung, Sarah Park Dahlen, Edi Campbell, Ellen Oh, and so many more. They are doing a lot of examination, groundwork, and speaking out for an industry that reflects better the stories of all our children. Although joining the conversation is not always comfortable, it is only through these conversations and the actions that come about as a result that we will reach a common goal: more authentic and positive representation for children.