The book I have written fills me with so much joy. That is not simply because I wrote it but because I truly believe in the words I am sharing. Earlier this month I came across an article published in the New York Times written by a children’s book author, Walter Dean Myers. There is a specific paragraph that stood out to me. He said “Books transmit values. They explore our common humanity. What is the message when some children are not represented in those books? Where are the future white personnel managers going to get their ideas of people of color? Where are the future white loan officers and future white politicians going to get their knowledge of people of color? Where are black children going to get a sense of who they are and what they can be?” These were my thoughts exactly during the last 3 years specifically.
Especially with all the publicized brutality and violence against black and brown people, from the shootings, to the election of a president whose interest aren’t the betterment and equality of all people, and the immigration issues where children are being separated from their families, and so much more. All of these issues make adults confused, let alone children trying to understand their place in the world. Children are mentally sketching out dreams for their futures and I believe it is society’s responsibility to fuel them, with positivity and education; to guide them in the direction of making their dreams come true. I believe this for all children, but the black and brown children unfortunately keep getting the short end of the stick.
The Cooperative Children’s Book Center found that out of the 2500 trade books published in 1985, only 18 were created by African-Americans. The Cooperative Children’s Book Center also found that out of the approximate 5,000-5,500 total number of books published in the United States, in 2001, only 99 books were by African-Americans. The Cooperative Children’s Book Center received 3,500 books in 2017 and only 122 were by African-Americans. In a total of 16 years there were only 23 more books created by African-Americans. Lee & Low Books publishing house found that only 13 percent of the books published in the last 24 years, actually contain multicultural content. According to Lee & Low books, “Black, Latinx, and Native authors combined, wrote just 6% of new children’s books published (in 2017). This year the number is only 7%.” These statistics aren’t acceptable. There is a need for representation in the book industry.
Here are the links to the websites that provided me with these statistics, if you are interested in reading up on more information