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.
Dreamers is your own story of immigrating to the
United States from Mexico in 1994 with your newborn son. What inspired you
write Dreamers almost 24 years later?
I was working
on a graphic novel when Donald Trump was elected president. My heart sunk. I
could not believe that the man who had accused Mexican immigrants as criminals
and rapists had been elected to lead the United States. I felt unable to work,
and that my stories made no sense anymore. I also felt afraid of what would
come next for immigrant families like mine, like those of my friends and like
those that my books had been written for and about.
My editor, Neal
Porter, saw that I was stuck and offered his support and patience. He reassured
me that he was there for me until I was ready to produce a new book, he also
told me that he thought the book I should be working on was my own immigrant
Aram Kim, author of No Kimchi for Me!, shares her picture book list of “Diverse Books with Food (and Recipe).” Check out the preview below and the full list on the Multicultural Children’s Book Day website.
1. Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji by F. Zia, llustrated by Ken Min
Aneel enjoys his grandparents’ visit, especially his grandpa’s fairytale-like old stories from India. This book intertwines contemporary Indian-American life, traditional Indian lifestyle, great storytelling, and intergenerational bond over stories and food. It is a great mixture of everything! [picture book, ages 4 and up]
2. Cora Cooks Pancit by Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore, illustrated by Kristi Valiant
Cora is the youngest and always stuck doing a “kid’s job” in the kitchen while her big brothers and sisters do a cool job. When Cora is in the kitchen with her mom alone, she finally gets to do a grownup job and plays a big part in cooking a delicious Filipino noodle dish pancit! Readers can feel the excitement of little Cora and follow her delightful journey. *Recipe included. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
3. Jalapeño Bagels by Natasha Wing, illustrated by Robert Casilla
Pablo helps out in the family bakery and picks an item to bring to his International Day at school. The bakery carries his mom’s various Mexican sweet bread and his dad’s Jewish bagels and challah bread. All kinds look delicious to Pablo, but he finally picks jalapeño bagels that seem to represent himself. The story carries multicultural fare effectively and deliciously. *Recipes included. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
The “Freedom Summer” of 1964 was a pivotal moment in the civil rights movement. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the landmark year in American history. Here is a list of 14 children’s books that deal specifically with the remarkable events of 1964 – and 3 additional books specifically for teachers and librarians. Thank you to the following for their invaluable input:
Andrea Davis Pinkney
And Scholastic’s “Guide to Teaching and Talking about the Civil Rights Movement with Books for Children and Teens”
Picture Books for Young Readers
Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Summer
By Deborah Wiles
Illustrated by Jerome Lagarrigue
Aladdin / Simon & Schuster
Ages 4 - 8
Friendship defies racism for two boys in this stirring story of the “Freedom Summer” that followed the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Now in a 50th Anniversary Edition with a refreshed cover and a new introduction.
Freedom School, Yes!
By Amy Littlesugar
Illustrated by Floyd Cooper
Philomel / Penguin
Ages 4 - 8
In this triumphant story based on the 1964 Mississippi Freedom School Summer Project, that celebrates the strength of a people as well as the bravery of one young girl who didn’t let being scared get in her way.
The Other Side
By Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrated by E. B. Lewis
Putnam Juvenile / Penguin
Though not specifically about the 1964 Freedom Summer, this award-winning book also deals with the themes of segregation, friendship, and fairness.
Back in April, Riky Stock, director of the German Book Office in New York reached out to me with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity—to join a group of children’s book editors on a trip to Frankfurt and Hamburg to meet with German publishers and agents. The German Book Office hosts this annual trip for editors to experience the wonders of beer, brats, and books in hopes of building a bridge between our two countries, for both American books that could succeed in Germany and vice versa.
My fellow editors for this year’s trip included Stacey Barney from Putnam/Penguin (and one of the founders of CBC Diversity!), Sheila Barry from Groundwood Books in Canada, Grace Maccarone from Holiday House, Ben Rosenthal from Enslow, and Reka Simonsen from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Our group had a great vibe, and by the end of the trip, we had our fair share of inside jokes and insightful discussion about books and, in particular, why foreign translations are so difficult for the North American market.
The CBC Diversity Initiative is committed to bringing diverse experiences to our book market, and this includes stories told from a non-American point of view. After learning some eye-opening numbers about the German book market, it’s evident that while the American perspective is pervasive worldwide, we in turn are reluctant to embrace stories from other cultures.
Here’s the breakdown:
24.8% of all new fiction titles in Germany are translations—and more than 70% of those are books from the US and the UK. Meanwhile, in the US, only 3% of all new titles are translations.
The biggest bestselling series in Germany mirror the American market:
YA and children’s translations into German have almost doubled in the last five years.
In 2011, a total of 46 German translations were published in the U.S.