I know some people dislike the word ‘diversity’. I get it, I really do. But I can’t think of a better word right now. Maybe what I really mean is ‘people of colour’.

Can picturebooks start to help with this problem?

I Don’t Feel Your Pain

A failure of empathy perpetuates racial disparities.

– from Slate, which talks about the Trayvon Martin shooting.

illustration by Tina Kugler

 

1. Diversity In Picturebooks from Carol Rasco at the PiBoIdMo Blog, in response to an article in the NYT: For Young Latino Readers, An Image Is Missing

2. PSA: Your default narrative is not apolitical from Shattersnipe: Malcontent and Rainbows

3. Politics, YA and Narrative also from Shattersnipe: “It’s the things we take for granted — the things we neither explain nor question — that say the most about us as writers, political beings, and as people.” Read the comments section for a discussion of a useful concept: ‘Discrimiflip’.

4. Lest We Forget, Brown Kids Absolutely Deserve More Brown Superheroes, Jezebel

5. I’m Biracial, and That Cheerios Ad Is a Big Fucking Deal. Trust Me, also from Jezebel

6. Native Americans In Children’s Fiction from HuffPost Books

7. A Mighty Girl Spotlight: Celebrating Diverse Dolls during Black History Month

8. The Ongoing Problem of Race in Y.A. from The Atlantic Wire

9. Children’s Books Are Still Really, Really White from Jezebel

10. Why Being a POC Author Sucks Sometimes from Racialicious points out that white authors who depict POC in their work are damned if they do, damned if they don’t. This reminds me of a passage from The Rhetoric of Character In Children’s Literature (Nikolajeva):

A general consensus about children’s literature seems to be that adult writers can easily penetrate a child character’s mind, while logically such a task should be infinitely more difficult than entering the mind of another adult. By analogy, it is often questioned, especially by feminist, postcolonial, and queer theories, whether male writers can successfully depict female characters; white writers, black characters; or heterosexual writers, homosexual characters. This skepticism is based on the unequal power positions, in which the “oppressors” presumably have limited possibilities for understanding the mentality of the “oppressed”.

11. Modern children’s books help families explore diversity from CNN

12. ALA Recap: Lee & Low and Cinco Puntos Discuss Multicultural Publishing from Lee & Low Books