The CBC Diversity initiative was founded in 2012, as part of the Children’s Book Council’s commitment to promoting diverse voices in literature for young people. We believe that all children deserve to see their world reflected in the books they read. We recognize that diversity takes on many forms, including differences in race, religion, gender, geography, sexual orientation, class, and ability.
In addition to championing diverse authors and illustrators, CBC Diversity strives to open up the publishing industry to a wider range of employees. We’ve taken an active role in recruiting diverse candidates, participating in school career fairs and partnering with We Need Diverse Books on its summer internship program.
How does it feel to know
Little Man, Little Man is being brought to a new audience of
It’s a wonderful
feeling. A feeling of great accomplishment. It took over a decade to bring it
about. Both my brother Tejan (“TJ” whom the book was written for) and I are
truly delighted to see this rare gem of a book be republished after almost four
decades. Thanks to the perseverance, commitment and dedication of Professor
The book vividly
describes the life of an urban child and the people in his neighborhood. Does
this mesh with your memories of growing up in Manhattan’s Upper West
Absolutely! The Upper
West Side of the 70’s was very different than what it has morphed into today.
It was a neighborhood with a myriad of intersections in terms of race, culture
and socio-economic backgrounds. So although it was just 6 blocks North of Lincoln
Center and 2 blocks away from the famed Dakota Building and ABC Studios; you
could experience a plethora of images. A person picking someone’s pocket, a
drug sale or an incident involving the police. This to me—is typical of many
New York City neighborhoods.
In middle school I was mesmerized by the world of Elizabeth and
Jessica Wakefield in SWEET VALLEY TWINS. I studied every cover and daydreamed
about what it would be like to live as popular blonde girls with bright smiles
in a suburban utopia.
Like the Wakefield twins I was a California girl, but the world
created in the beloved series seemed so different from mine growing up Filipina
American and straddling two cultures. The twins never had to be embarrassed
about inviting their non-Filipino friends over for fear of their grandmother
offering dried fish and rice as an afterschool snack.
Whenever I fumbled through an awkward tween moment I would wish
for a Sweet Valley existence. I wrote in my diary that if I only had blonde
hair like Elizabeth (my favorite of the two—she wanted to be a writer after
all!), my seventh grade life would be perfect.
books are transformative. They inform our identities and can end up shaping us
as adults. In my twenties I started to explore the Filipino American diaspora
and for the first time I realized how much I longed to read about characters
like me—that if I’d had such books as a kid it would have been life-changing.
middle grade novels with a Filipina American protagonist didn’t exist in my era
as a kid-reader and even well past that. In college my favorite genre was
(admittedly!) chick lit, though there were no breezy
beach reads with a Filipina American protagonist. When I became a parent,
I thought that maybe children’s literature had changed so I set out on a
mission: to fill my shelves with books that my future readers could see
themselves in. I scoured every bookstore but still… nothing.