The Super Life of Ben Braver by Marcus Emerson (Roaring Brook Press, March 2018). All rights reserved. @macmillanchildrensbooks
Jo Meserve Mach, Vera Lynne Stroup-Rentier, and Mary Birdsell, authors of
Claire Wants a Boxing Name, share their book list “Books Making the World Better Through Inclusion.” Check out the preview below and the full list on the Multicultural Children’s Book Day website.
1. Emanuel’s Dream by Lauri Ann Thompson, illustrated by Sean Qualls
I love true stories and this true story of Emmanual Ofos Yeboah is so inspiring! Because his mother believes he can teach himself how to gain the skills he does just that. The fact he is missing part of one leg doesn’t limit him. Emmanuels quote at the end of the book says it all: “In this world, we are not perfect. We can only do our best.” [picture book, ages 4 and up]
2. My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay by Cari Best, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
This is a fun story that takes place at school. It portrays inclusion in a wonderful way. Zulay becomes just another child participating in Field Day. At first she seems different because she is blind but then she is like every other child competing at school. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
3. Max the Champion by Sean Stockdale and Alexandra Strick, illustrated by Ros Asquith
I like this story because it’s about following your passion. Max loves sports and he and other children with all types of abilities enjoy playing together. The fact that Max has a hearing aid doesn’t interfere with his inclusion in the sports he loves. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Read the full list here.
The Dear Book Publishers series is a showcase of letters written by 5th graders from Dothan Brook School. These students were tasked with looking at the diversity in their school library’s picture book collection along with the race of children featured on Kindergarten Second Step cards. Reacting to what they had learned, the students wrote letters to book publishers, the Vermont Agency of Education, the school principal, and the district superintendent. During the month of August, CBC Diversity will showcase all of the letters created by the Dothan Brook School’s 5th grade class.
Guest post by educator and writer, Cory Silverberg.
The publisher Lee and Low recently mobilized social media (through the nifty infographic on the left) to jumpstart a discussion of diversity in children’s literature.
No surprise to anyone who is paying attention, while the US continues to undergo a significant demographic shift, diversity in children’s books is not reflecting what we the people look like today.
When we grow up not finding ourselves represented in popular media and educational curricula it becomes just a little harder to creatively imagine our futures, to explore our identities, to try on different ways of being; all of which are essential aspects of development.
Shame thrives in invisibility and silence. This is why representation is a critical aspect of diversity work.
But we need to also be mindful of how easily a complicated idea like diversity becomes code for one flattened out thing. That thing is usually the visual representation of race. As authors and educators, editors and publishers, we need to notice how this is missing the forest for the trees.
So as publishers start identifying even more specific ‘diversity markets’ and begin to make editorial “requests” to meet them, it seems like a good time to consider both the forest and the trees, and think about whether there’s a way to tend to both.
To accomplish this we need to think not only of diversity but also of inclusion.