The University of Wisconsin reports that fewer than 100 out of 3,200 kids' books published in 2013 were about people of color.
Author Walter Dean Myers recently wrote about the lack of diversity in books aimed at children in a piece for The New York Times:
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?
And what are the books that are being published about blacks? Joe Morton, the actor who starred in "The Brother From Another Planet," has said that all but a few motion pictures being made about blacks are about blacks as victims. In them, we are always struggling to overcome either slavery or racism. Book publishing is little better. Black history is usually depicted as folklore about slavery, and then a fast-forward to the civil rights movement. Then I'm told that black children, and boys in particular, don't read. Small wonder.
Andrea Davis Pinkney, an editor, poet and a New York Times best-selling author, is in Minneapolis to deliver the 2014 May Hill Arbuthnot Lecture at the University of Minnesota this weekend. She joins The Daily Circuit to talk about why children's literature doesn't reflect America's changing demographics.
What do you think it says to kids that what they're reading is so one-dimensional when it comes to race? Can you think of some examples of kids' books that are much more diverse? Add your thoughts and suggestions to the comments below.