I recently posted a guest blog at the lovely GEO LIBRARIAN‘s website about the hot-button topic #WeNeedDiverseBooks. I posted some drawings I did as a child to illustrate the importance of diversity in children’s literature.
In these pictures, there are images of me identifying myself as an Asian American child with black hair. I also identified myself as a violinist because music was so important to me.
But after I began reading – and boy was I a bookworm! – I lost my sense of identity. Most of the books I read did NOT feature diverse children characters of color. As a result, I no longer wanted to identify with my racial and ethnic heritage. I wanted blonde hair. I wanted to be someone I was not. The difference in these pictures is heartbreaking.
This is the real reason why I am so passionate about reading and writing diverse books for children and teens. I think these pictures say it all.
You can read the guest blog here to see more of my child drawing examples: http://geolibrarian.blogspot.com/2014/12/blog-tour-giveaway-twenty-two-cents-by.html
EDITED TO ADD: UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 7, 2015: This topic is still very hot in social media nine months after I had posted this original blog. My updated thoughts here: There was a lot of furor on the Internets this past weekend over diversity and representation in kid lit, as well as the controversy over the good intentions of allies versus out-of-touch profiteers who do not realize they are taking away from our #ownvoices. (For example, this very insightful Twitter feed here: https://storify.com/tehawesomersace/this-is-why-we-can-t-have-nice-things) My response: Please check out this blog above that I wrote last year on why #WeNeedDiverseBooks I think the pictures speak for themselves. Remember, the statistics say it loud and clear: “From 1994 to 2012, only 10 percent of children’s books in the past 18 years contained multicultural content. And yet 37% of the U.S. population are people of color.” (From “The Diversity Gap in Children’s Books” report by Lee & Low Books.)
Thanks for reading my blog. As always, remember – Happy Writing! WRITE LIKE YOU MEAN IT!