We Need More Diverse Books!
Updated: May 25, 2021
As I am going through this author journey, many of you have asked me why I decided to publish a book?
I have always been committed to doing what God has put on my heart to do. I know that my book will encourage so many children and families.
The COVID-19 pandemic has really shown me how limited our time is on this earth and that tomorrow is Not promised to anyone. Get started on your projects. Execute your dreams. Don't wait!
I really have to hunt and look for main characters in books that my children can relate to. Representation matters and I realized the lack of Black characters in picture books, especially in Christian kid-lit.
As I research this subject more, the numbers are staggering! I knew the percentages for diverse books would be low for minorities, but I wasn't expecting it to be THAT low. According to the stats that I pulled from diversebooks.org, in 2019, only about 12% of children's books represent Black main characters. That is less than half of those main characters portrayed by animals or some other inanimate object (i.e. stones, crayons, ball, egg, etc.)! It came as no surprise that about 42% of all children's books have white main characters. (These stats are consistent with some others I found online. You can google it.)
I believe that representation matters for all races. There is something powerful for a child to view themselves and others in the images that they see and the material that they read.
My stories reaffirm that ALL children are Super! It is a bonus that the main character and family are all Black. Super Obi is inspired by my own super son and all children will be able to relate to his adventures.
Whatever your race, I encourage you to diversify your children's books! Exposure to all ethnicities and traditions will help your child(ren) to relate to ALL people in the long run.
To those reading this blog without kids, I also encourage you to diversify your OWN books! Go ahead, survey your bookshelf and see which books are written by authors who are white, Black, and other. What do your personal percentages look like? Please feel free to share in the comments below.
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