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.
I was a sophomore English major at Spelman College, spending
the afternoon in the Office of Career Planning and Development. I had started
to get anxious about not knowing what I’d do after graduation, and needed to
find an internship for that summer. People often asked me why I was working
toward an English degree if not to pursue teaching or law, and I’d say that I
just really loved to read and think about books. I had been that way my entire
I had almost browsed the entire catalog of internships when
I noticed a large envelope that was underneath a stack of papers and other envelopes.
It caught my eye because a familiar logo was printed above the return address:
the red bar of Scholastic. I was immediately intrigued because I had, like many
kids, grown up reading and loving Scholastic books. I opened the envelope.
Andrea Davis Pinkney is the New York Times bestselling and
award winning author of many books for children and young adults. She is
also Vice President, Executive Editor at Scholastic, where she served
as Walter’s editor. Andrea has been named among the “25 Most Influential
Black Women in Business” by The Network Journal, and is the mom of two incredible teens who love to read.
The “It’s Possible” series showcases six inspiring publishing
professionals, including this forward from Andrea Davis Pinkney, sharing a little bit of their experience with Walter
and how working with him helped push his goal of more diverse literature forward.
Pam Muñoz Ryan On The Creative Process Behind ‘Echo’
Scholastic will release Pam Muñoz Ryan’s latest book, ‘Echo,’ on February 24, 2015. Ryan challenged herself as a writer by linking together three interconnected storylines for this project. She used a large whiteboard to keep track of all the details for each different plot and incorporated a fairy tale.
Two authors, one video!! The absolutely AMAZING Marie Lu and Alaya Dawn Johnson answer our tough question: if you woke up tomorrow as a book character, who would you be? (Trust us, this isn’t an easy question!)
“…I was afraid of being stereotypical without realizing it. Afraid someone would take issue with something I wrote and call me racist. Still, I didn’t back down, and did the best I could, because ultimately, I believe diversity in fiction is something we all need to work on. And I truly believe trying is better than not trying. If I got something wrong, and I most likely did, I will learn from my mistakes and work hard to do better in the future.”
– Lisa Schroeder, Thoughts from a scared, white author on diversity in Kid Lit
Author, Lisa Schroeder opens up about feeling uncomfortable writing outside of her perspective but embracing it because she wants all of her readers to know that they are important and should be able to see themselves in the stories they read.
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.