Lunch & Learn: Talking Diverse Books
CBC Diversity’s Lunch & Learn series continued on June 16, 2015. The panel focused on the overall climate of publishing children’s books from inside the publishing house and the ins and outs of discussing diverse books with your colleagues – both inside and outside of the publishing house – to gain champions at every turn. This event offered a unique opportunity for attendees to hear directly from four CBC Diversity Committee members and learn from their experiences.

Read the PW article here for a lovely recap of the event and, if you’re a CBC member, visit CBC’s multimedia page to watch the whole event.

BEA 2015: The Diversity of Success Panel

BEA 2015 was an exhilarating event! Not only was the Children’s Book Council represented on May 29th through our annual Author Tea and Speed dating event in the afternoon, but CBC Diversity was specifically asked to create and present an educational panel on diversity in children’s literature to enlighten attendees directly after the Children’s Breakfast.

This panel focused on a few of the success stories in our industry with the understanding that a book can achieve success in many different ways – earning out its advance, garnering lots of engagement, launching the author into a new age category, reaching the market it was intended for, and more. 

Each panelist (one editorial director, one marketing/publicity director, and one sales director) discussed the success of a single title and how it might be applied to others.

If you’re a CBC Member you can watch highlights of the event through the multimedia section here.

April 2015 Virtual Career Fairs

On April 1-2 and April 7-8, approximately 15 publishing professionals volunteered their time throughout the days to provide council and support, as well as advertise open jobs at their publishing houses, to the 100+ students who entered the Children’s Book Council chat room.

Over the four days, the mostly undergraduate students from schools in the Midwest or Southeast asked questions about one of two things:

  • Where to find job openings and stand out amongst the crowd
  • How their current interests/expertise could transfer into the industry

The publishing professionals from various CBC Member publishing houses were more than happy to shed light on the application process, give chin-up advice, and relay their own tales of how they broke into the industry. Read the full recap here.

Day of Diversity: Dialogue and Action

The Association for Library Service to Children and CBC Diversity co-hosted a Day of Diversity: Dialogue and Action in Children’s Literature and Library Programming at ALA Midwinter on January 30, 2015 in Chicago. It was a day-long event of inspiration, information, and actionable outcomes for promoting and increasing diversity in children’s literature.

Too often publishers are easily blamed for the lack of diverse children’s books on the market, or the homogeneity of the choices when inclusive books are created (historical fiction and biographies). We all know that publishers are just one piece of the puzzle in the creation and dissemination of diverse material to the end consumers, the children. Publishing house staffers, librarians, nonprofits in literacy, reviewers, and booksellers all have the power to institute and push action through their companies so more authors creating books that showcase different lifestyles and from different backgrounds can get published and seen by the public in the future.

The invitation-only event provided a forum for children’s literacy advocates to brainstorm ways of increasing diverse literature and library programming. Check out the action steps documented from the event, recaps of the programming, and footage highlighting multiple attendees’ thoughts and takeaways to help others continue the conversation in their communities.

NCTE 2014: Landscapes of Multicultural Stories
CBC Diversity committee members Andrea Pinkney and Antonio Gonzalez spoke at the NCTE convention on the Landscapes of Multicultural Stories: Notable Books and Writers panel Saturday, November 22, 2014.

With five panelists, including CBC Diversity representatives, a large range of topics were covered for teachers at the 8AM session. The topics included a presentation of this year’s Notable Books for a Global Society with special attention paid to books that are LGBTQ focused, book selection and how careful and discerning committees are when considering diversity content, the importance of “searchable terms” and how books get categorized and sometimes marginalized, and the resources out there for teachers to utilize when searching for inclusive content for their classroom.

A few resources that the teachers in attendance especially appreciated were the CBC Diversity Goodreads Bookshelf, the CBC Diversity Newsletter, and the CBC Diversity Tumblr where new posts go up weekly that are focused on diversity in children’s literature from a range of perspectives.

CBC Diversity Sales Panel Speaks Up About the Wants/Needs of Buyers
On November 12, 2014, the CBC office hosted approximately 50 book publishing professionals during a Lunch & Learn session focused on the different avenues of sales within the children’s book publishing industry. The wonderful panelists (l to r) were Angus Killick, Max Rodriguez, Nikki Mutch, and Ray Paszkiewicz. If you weren’t able to attend the one-hour event, check out the PW write-up!

A Place at the Table: Speed Dating with Children’s Book Creators
The CBC hosts a speed dating event every year at BEA that features up-and-coming talent and introduces them to booksellers in a fun, fast, and informative way. On May 14, 2014, CBC Diversity partnered with Children’s Books Boston to create a similar event co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at Simmons College.

Unlike the focus of the BEA event, A Place at the Table’s mission was not only to introduce these children’s book creators to the workshop attendees, but to provide a space for discussion and collaboration between everyone involved in children’s literature to promote diversity in children’s books.
Check out the full write-up here, provided by CBC Diversity committee member Yolanda Scott, who ended her post with the the compiled list of action steps attendees and facilitators created to continue to stimulate change.

Hire Big 10 Virtual Career Fair
To continue promoting the publishing industry to a variety of talented job seekers, CBC Diversity participated in the Hire Big 10 Plus Virtual Career Fair, which gave us access to over 3,400 students from 17 universities during the three-day event.

With the help of 15 volunteers from our member publishers (from editorial, marketing, publicity, and design departments), we were able to provide three 1-hour sessions each day for students to drop in, chat, and pose their industry questions. On the experts’ side, they were there to provide information for students and alumni about the many jobs in the publishing industry, help them see where their skills might fit in best, and point them in the right direction for applying for those positions with tailored guidance.

Hiring Methods for a Representative Work Environment Panel
From the beginning, one of the goals of the CBC Diversity Initiative was to help create a more diverse range of employees working within the industry. Now in its third year, CBC Diversity is taking a closer look at how we can help bring about this change.

On March 12, 2014, the CBC Diversity Committee hosted a Lunch & Learn Panel for hiring managers and human resources professionals within children’s book publishing to come together and explore key ideas focusing on how to bring about a more representative industry. The amazing panel was moderated by Andrea Davis Pinkney, Vice President and Executive Editor of Trade at Scholastic, and the panelists included David Bronstein, Chief Talent Officer at Perseus Books Group; Amy Brundage, Human Resources Director at Hachette Book Group; and Carolynn L. Johnson, Chief Operating Officer at DiversityInc.
Read the full write-up including some key takeaways here.

CBC Diversity Attends the 2014 Baruch College Spring Career Fair
On February 7, 2014, the Children’s Book Council participated in the Baruch College Career Fair in an effort to connect the publishing industry with “one of the most ethnically diverse campuses in the nation”, according to U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review.

The fair hosted more than 800 students looking for internships and full-time employment from the companies in attendance. Not surprisingly, most companies at the fair represented the accounting and finance sectors of business; however, during the 4 hours the career fair was open, at least 50 students approached the Children’s Book Council table to learn more about the publishing industry.

Representatives from the CBC Diversity Committee excitedly manned the table and spent about 5 minutes with each student explaining the many different jobs within the publishing industry, where the students’ majors would fit into the publishing profession, and how to find more information about job and internship opportunities. The Children’s Book Council looks forward to participating in more career fairs like this one in the future.

A Quick Look at the 2014 ALA Midwinter CBC Diversity Panel

The session touched on what the CBC Diversity Initiative has accomplished in the past year, with a focus on the Diversity 101 series we feature on our blog, as well as ALSC’s Día initiative (Diversity in Action), dedicated to helping librarians work with their community to build interest and excitement for literacy dedicated to all children from all backgrounds.

This year the panel included a terrific librarian representative (Ana-Elba Pavon from the Oakland Public Library) as well as a larger group of editors from a range of publishers (Dan Ehrenhaft of Soho Teen, Wendy Lamb of Penguin Random House, Cheryl Klein of Scholastic, who was the moderator, and Connie Hsu, representing Little, Brown Books for Young Readers).

There were many helpful takeaways from the overall conversation, prompted by organic discussion among the panelists and the many audience members who came up during the Q&A session. Take a look at panelist Connie Hsu’s wrap-up blog post all about the CBC Diversity ALA Midwinter panel here, SLJ’s article about the panel here, and listen to the audio recording of the panel here.

LOVE Media Workshop Invites CBC Diversity to Talk With Students

On July 23, 2013, CBC Diversity committee members Alvina Ling, Liz Waniewski, and Wendy Lamb participated in Leave Out Violence’s Summer Media Workshop to introduce their students to the world of publishing. The eighteen or so 15-18 year old students in attendance were smart, inquisitive, and ready to relate how their experiences and what drew them to books lent them to specific roles in the publishing industry.

At the end of the presentation, and boy were there many questions throughout, Liz, Wendy, and Alvina spread out two boxes worth of YA books and asked the teenagers to have a quick discussion on covers with the three editors. Some of the observations included that they didn’t like faces on covers because they don’t want to see the main character immediately, they did not like NYT Bestseller on the cover, and they did not like covers that didn’t portray what the book was going to be about. The students did like bright “happy covers”, covers with medals on them, and covers with typography that illustrated how the book should make you feel.

CBC Diversity Travels to Boston During Children’s Book Week 2013

Panelists From l. to r:  London Ladd, Katie Cunningham, Alyssa Mito Pusey,  Ayanna Coleman, Monica Perez, and Mitali PerkinsIf you missed the first, but certainly not the last, visit CBC Diversity had to Boston on May 16, 2013, don’t fret! The initiative along with its gracious host, Charlesbridge, and the wonderful panelists seen at right, got some great coverage in PW, which wrapped up some of the very interesting topics discussed during the 1.5 hour event. The panel was entitled Diversity on the Page, behind the Pencil, and in the Office and highlighted voices from three amazing editors (from Candlewick, Charlesbridge, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) an author (Mitali Perkins) and  illustrator (London Ladd). What PW didn’t report on was the lively Q&A session after the moderated portion of the panel. Questions ranged from how to attract a more diverse pool of applicants when hiring within the children’s publishing industry to how to avoid tokenism in your work.

CBC Diversity Presents Initiative to Librarians at ALA Midwinter

Amongst the brewing excitement induced by the prospect of finally learning the winners and honorees of the 2013 ALA Youth Media Awards, Alvina Ling (current chair of the CBC Diversity Committee), Ayanna Coleman (CBC Diversity Committee Liaison), and Caroline Ward (Coordinator of Youth Services at the Ferguson Library) took their seats on the very first CBC Diversity Discussion Panel held January 27, 2013 at 3PM in Seattle, Washington.

One of the goals of CBC Diversity is to educate those within and outside of the publishing industry. The purpose of this panel was to explain the CBC Diversity Initiative to librarians and to highlight the resources the Initiative offers. These resources are aimed to help them more easily find books currently on the market that relate to the various children in their lives and services to help encourage those who wish to write, to write respectfully, inclusively, and in an informed manner.

The panel had well over 75 attendees, including librarians, teachers, agents, and publishing house staffers. The overall tone of the panel was hopeful and appreciative, but it was not missed that librarians feel publishers have a lot of work to do in terms of publishing diverse books. Topics included the realities of running a business—the need to show that there is a market for diverse books by buying those books, discoverability challenges for diverse books, appreciating the broad spectrum of people the term “diversity” applies to, the need for more resources for young writers, and the wish for more programs like this one to bring the different groups involved in the promotion of kid lit together to continue to bring about progress. Listen to the full panel discussion here.

CBC Diversity Committee Hosts a Panel to Discuss Children’s and YA Book Covers

On September 25, 2012, CBC Diversity hosted a panel featuring all of the bloggers who contributed entries to the “It’s Complicated! – Book Covers” blog series:
From left to right, panelists noted below.
  • Joseph Monti, Agent at Barry Goldblatt Literary and former B&N Bookseller
  • Coe Booth, Author
  • Laurent Linn, Art Director at Simon & Schuster Children’s
  • Felicia Frazier, Senior VP and Director of Sales at Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Elizabeth Bluemle, Owner of Flying Pig Bookstore
The lunchtime event, moderated by Alvina Ling, CBC Diversity vice-chair and Executive Editorial Director at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, continued the conversation begun online, addressing the challenges the panelists have faced and successes they’ve had in selling/designing/writing books portraying diverse characters on the cover.

Safe Haven Provides Supportive Environment for Publishing Staffers to Discuss Obstacles to Diversity
Last month, CBC Diversity launched “It’s Complicated!”, a blog series focusing on the challenges in promoting diversity in children’s books. The week-long dialogue began on May 21st and included posts & comments from a variety of voices from the industry and beyond.

To further the discussion among publishing professionals offline, the Committee held their first Safe Haven event at the CBC Thursday, June 7th, 2012. CBC Diversity Safe Havens bring together intimate groups of children’s book publishing staffers to speak candidly about diversity and problem-solve collaboratively in a supportive environment. Topics addressed at last week’s event included: the power of reviewers, searching out authentic sources to establish an authors’ credibility, and diversity in book covers.

CBC Diversity Committee Performs School Visits

In honor of Children’s Book Week, a few CBC Diversity Committee members ventured out to Bushwick Leaders, a high school in Brooklyn, NY, and participated in 2 separate school visits. Each visit contained a presentation about how a book is made—told through the different jobs in publishing—from two members of the committee, a Q&A session, and (of course) pizza for the engaged audience of approximately 50 high school seniors. Check out Cheryl’s blog post describing her visit in detail!

CBC Diversity Committee Kick-Off Cocktail

On January 31, 2012 the CBC launched its Diversity Committee!
The evening included a discussion of the initiative, including personal stories from the founding members of the Committee, and a call to action for all attendees to keep the diversity conversation ever-present in the industry. Check out more pictures on the Children’s Book Council Facebook page within the CBC Diversity Kick-Off album.
Alvina Ling, CBC Diversity Committee Chair

A rapt audience listening to the  personal stories of committee members