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.
Contributed by Faye Bi, Senior Publicist, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Cultural Revolution in China, which historians agree took place 1966-1976. Many Western media outlets were quick to provide retrospectives (see: The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Guardian, CNN, and The Atlantic), but up until recently, it represented a huge gap in my historical knowledge, despite being born to two Chinese immigrant parents. This colossal historical event that caused nearly 2-30 million deaths (depending on whom you ask) was barely touched on in my formal education; China was nowhere near its current economic prowess when I was a kid, not important enough to be put under the international spotlight until now.
My parents, who arrived in Canada in 1989 with an infant-me in tow, were tight-lipped about their life in China beforehand. They were born in 1960, young children who came of age during the Cultural Revolution under conditions of which I was blissfully unaware. There were clues, of course—we lived a frugal life on my father’s Ph.D. stipend, and I was taught from an early age not to waste food. Education was highly prized, and my wardrobe was a steady rotation of homemade clothes, knits, and hand-me-downs. And then there were offhand comments, like, “I would have had to work in the countryside if I hadn’t moved to Canada” from my father, or “My parents sent me away as a baby to live with my grandmother” from my mother. I knew my mother had worked in a shoe factory, on her feet for 12 hours a day, which meant our early weekends selling spring rolls at the flea market for extra cash were pittance.