More Than Enough White Children's Books?
A young boy fights bullying while celebrating Basant, a springtime kite-flying festival in “King for a Day.” A group of kids transform their bodies into the letters A-Z in “AFRO-BETS ABC Book.” In each of these picture books, none of the protagonists are White—representing a movement aimed at augmenting the diversity of children’s literature. A recent study by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center found that of the 3,200 children’s books published last year only 253 (about 8%) were about children of color. This percentage represents a decrease since 2002 when 415 (about 13%) of the 3,150 books published were about children of color.
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"The Apartheid of Children's Literature" -- Christopher Myers
I’M talking with a boy. He’s at that age when the edges of the man he will become are just starting to press against his baby-round face. He’s got his first opinions and ideas and jokes, which are horrible, because there is nothing that boys his age love more than corny jokes. There is a whole industry of knock-knock-joke books for boys this age. Everything about him is gangly; his voice and his limbs fit awkwardly, like hand-me-downs. He’s young enough that his smile is easy, and he is the kind of boy who finds reasons to smile in everything: the cracking of his voice, a fire-engine siren, the fact that a grown-up is talking to him and listening to what he says. When I talk with kids like this, our conversations always seem to go the same way:
“So you’re telling me these are all the books published last year for kids?” they ask me. “That’s a lot of books. That’s more books than I could read in a year.”
“Yep, it’s a few thousand.”
“And in all of those thousands of books, I’m just not in them?”
Why patting the bunny is better than swiping the screen
Book Trailer Premiere: The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern
Written in 1940, “Pat” is one of those books, like “Goodnight, Moon,” that can make parents of young children cringe. It elicits “Again! Again!” from countless 2-year-olds. That is not because of well-developed characters or clever plots. At just 135 words, “Pat” is spare. One of the most complex character interactions goes like this: “Judy can play peek-a-boo with Paul.”
So why is a 20-page book an enduring children’s classic?
“Pat the Bunny” is interactive.
"The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern falls into the category of books-that-are-turning-my-youth-into-historical-fiction. This appears to be a big trend for 2014 (I’m looking at YOU, Riverman). In this case, the book is set in 1988 and follows one young woman as she navigates her life and the secrets that her family members keep from her."