The Makers Of Culture

Culture is not merely an epiphenomenal outcome of computational systems in human brains, but in part at least is the result of feedback upon those systems by the high-level concepts and practices which earlier mental activity produced. Culture assumes an existence of its own outside the individuals who affect it. The majority of people may be passive consumers or spectators of culture, but significant minorities have a crucial influence on cultural development and content — chiefly: religious leaders, demagogues, writers, and thinkers — and the ordinarily vague grasp of the majority is a set of diluted versions of what these few have wrought.

– A.C. Grayling, The Reason Of Things

(An epiphenomenon is a secondary phenomenon that occurs alongside or in parallel to a primary phenomenon.)

Diversity Of Authors In Writing and Illustration for Children

From what I’ve gleaned from attending conferences, it feels like a large percentage of the people writing children’s books are white women in their forties, fifties, and sixties with at least some college education. This probably has been the case for decades. The children’s book authors I’ve met often share a few characteristics: They grew up with books, they’ve read a lot, they have some sort of connection to children, either through teaching, parenting, or a job that puts them in contact with kids, and they’ve had the time and money to develop their writing skills and attend conferences. So I think there is definitely a socio-economic factor in becoming a children’s book author.

– Literary Agents Discuss the Diversity Gap in Publishing

For a very good list of reading about diversity and children’s literature see this post at Philip Nel’s blog.

Storytelling and Choice

Only by being aware of a rich array of possible narratives and goals to choose from can one’s choices and actions be truly informed and maximally free…exposure to stories — which in part represent possible lives — is a vital ingredient int he ethical construction of an individual’s personal future history.

– A.C. Grayling, The Reason Of Things