We Need Diverse Books AND MORE!!


This is an important week for appreciating and sharing the diversity of the United States of America. On Monday we celebrate a true hero of diversity – Martin Luther King Jr. and on Friday we inaugurate our 45th president. What an excellent time for all of us to pause and reflect on the progress we have made, and the work we still need to do.

America is certainly not a perfect country and we have a long way to go before we truly meet standards of equality. BUT I am encouraged by the number of people who are willing to roll up their sleeves and do the hard work. If you – as a writer or educator are looking for places to plug-in, I’m listing just a few of the fine programs and organizations that are worth your time.


Celebrate the wonderful books and lessons that can be learned through Multicultural Children’s Book Day . Children’s reading and play advocates Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom have teamed up to create an ambitious (and much-needed) national event. On January 27th, Jump into a Book and Pragmatic Mom will be presenting the first ever Multicultural Children’s Book Day as a way of celebrating diversity in children’s books.



WNDB – We Need Diverse Books – If you are a writer this is a fantastic program to encourage the development of books from diverse view points. Click on the icon to go to the newsletter and find out all about the program.



name The Founders of NAME envisioned an organization that would bring together individuals and groups with an interest in multicultural education from all levels of education, different academic disciplines and from diverse educational institutions and occupations.


Research and learn how you can make our world a better place for all citizens!

Picture Book Diversity in 2015


I am a strong proponent of diversity and I firmly believe that our children need to see a diverse world in the books they read.  I am happy to say there have been several great picture books published this year that give our children a beautiful view of the world.

Take a look at these titles and revel in the diversity on the pages and in the pictures!

Draw What You See: The Life and Art of Benny Andrewsbennyby Kathleen Benson and Benny Andrews

Benny Andrews loved to draw. He drew his nine brothers and sisters, and his parents. He drew the red earth of the fields where they all worked, the hot sun that beat down, and the rows and rows of crops. As Benny hauled buckets of water, he made pictures in his head. And he dreamed of a better life—something beyond the segregation, the backbreaking labor, and the limited opportunities of his world.

     Benny’s dreams took him far from the rural Georgia of his childhood. He became one of the most important African American painters of the twentieth century, and he opened doors
for other artists of color.
28 Days: Moments in Black History that Changed the World
by Charles R. smith
28DaysEach day features a different influential figure in African-American history, from Crispus Attucks, the first man shot in the Boston Massacre, sparking the Revolutionary War, to Madame C. J. Walker, who after years of adversity became the wealthiest black woman in the country, as well as one of the wealthiest black Americans, to Barack Obama, the country’s first African-American president.
Juna’s Jar
by Jan Bahk
Sometimes a simple, everyday object can take you away on great adventures. Juna and her best friend, Hector, have many adventures together, and they love to collect things in empty kimchi jars. Then one day, Hector unexpectedly moves away without having a chance to say good-bye. Juna is heartbroken and left to wonder who will on go on adventures with her. Determined to find Hector, Juna turns to her special kimchi jar for help each night. She plunges into the depths of the ocean, swings on vines through the jungle, and flies through the night sky in search of her friend. What Juna finds is that adventure―and new friends―can be found in the most unexpected places



connieHsuThis weekend I attended the Missouri SCBWI conference and got to hear the amazing Connie Hsu (Roaring Brook Press) speak on the need for diversity in children’s books.  She talked about growing up as a Chinese American in Alabama. As a young reader, Connie was a huge fan of the Sweet Valley Twins books. To this day she remembers which twin had a mole on her shoulder and which one was in the unicorn club.  While she loved the series and devoured the books, they never provided a reflection of her Ethnic heritage. As a matter of fact she rarely saw Chinese faces in the pages of any books or magazines, and that had an impact on her self image.

Its a problem that Latino, African-American, and Asian-American children have been facing for decades.  It seems like by 2015 we would have fixed the problem.  But we haven’t.  And shame on us!

Working as an editor Connie now has the opportunity to promote diversity in children’s books, but it’s not just up to the writers and editors to effect change.  As educators we need to demand diversity in the texts and images that are presented to the children in our classrooms.  What teachers say matters, and you can have an impact on the illustrations selected for books, and the stories that are purchased for your libraries.

WeneedDiverseBooksIf you are interested in helping promote diversity in children’s literature please get involved in the We Need Diverse Books Movement.  It does take a village to raise a child and that village is full of people from all different backgrounds.  Let’s make sure our books reflect the blessing of diversity.