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.
Please tell us about the
most recent diverse book you published.
still at the very early stages of building my list, but I was fortunate enough
to edit two books with diverse characters recently:
The Fantastic Body is a nonfiction,
illustrated guide to the human body for kids. Because the book would be so
heavily illustrated, we wanted the children depicted to be multifaceted and
diverse. The book is nonfiction and prescriptive, so the text doesn’t actually
address race in a direct way. It’s important to address serious issues of race,
culture, and identity in diverse books, but it’s also important to show that
children are children, no matter their background, and that there are more
things that unite them than divide them. I firmly believe in publishing books
featuring diverse characters without making race the main issue, so I’m proud
of that book.
was also the developmental editor for a middle grade series of novels called
Shred Girls. The first book, Lindsay’s
Joyride, is about young girls who befriend each other through their shared
love of BMX. What I loved about the book was how multifaceted every main
character was. Lindsay likes comic books, but she also, it turned out, loves
riding bikes. And she likes many other things: her new friends. Her Mexican
grandmother’s cooking. The cute boy who rides at the same park. Kombucha.
Mariana Pajón, Colombian cyclist and two-time Olympic gold medalist and BMX
World Champion. No one thing defined her, nor any other character. While
Lindsay is Latina and proud, her heritage informs the novel but isn’t its sole
Candlewick Press Assistant editor Melanie Cordova, with questions provided by
summer editorial intern Isabella Corletto.
Candlewick has been my first experience in publishing. What made you want to
get into publishing? How did your career begin, and how long have you been
working in the industry? Did you always know you wanted to pursue a career in
I didn’t know I wanted to work in publishing until my
freshman year of college. Back then, I desperately needed a job and after many
attempts, my boyfriend (now husband) convinced me to apply to a bookstore.
Luckily, the bookstore I applied to needed a children’s bookseller immediately
and they hired me on the spot. The experience changed everything. At the
bookstore, I rediscovered my love for books, especially children’s books. By
the end of my sophomore year I had changed my major from Journalism to Writing,
Literature, and Publishing. After that, I interned and worked at a couple of
publishing houses until I finally landed at Candlewick. If we count my
bookstore experience, which I obviously do, I’ve been working in publishing for
a decade now.
To be able to work
with a text when it’s in its earliest drafts and then see it published has to
be an incredibly special experience. So much more time, care, and hard work is
put into every single book than I could’ve ever imagined. What is one of the
most rewarding experiences you’ve had during your time in publishing?
When I was a sales assistant at Candlewick, I saw a press
release about Candlewick acquiring Juana and Lucas. The story appealed
to me so much, and I was so excited we had taken it up. After transferring over
to editorial, I found out that my boss was the book’s editor and had just
started working on it. From admiring this project from afar to working with the
incredibly talented Juana Medina to seeing it win the Pura Belpré Award,
working on this book has been one of my most rewarding experiences so far.
Assistant Editor at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
To tell you how I got into publishing, I could start by mentioning that my mother always had a book in her hand, and taught me to do the same—or that I spent most of my time lost in books like One Fat Summer by Robert Lipsyte.
These experiences definitely shaped me to be the kind of person who would find myself in the world of publishing but, honestly, the idea of a publishing career didn’t even pop into my mind until the day I watched Margaret Tate and Andrew Paxton (played by Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds) banter on the silver screen in The Proposal.
I remember that being a particularly difficult time for me. I’d just spent the last year working at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary while taking pre-med classes at night. Although I was proud of the idea of becoming a doctor, I wasn’t eager to go to work and class every day, but I didn’t like the idea of quitting either. Then one weekend, as I watched Margaret and Andrew throw humorous insults at each other, I noticed Margaret’s hardcopy manuscripts sprinkled across her desk. I was fascinated by the part where Andrew was trying to convince her to buy a manuscript that he loved. I remember thinking, Is this a thing? Does this career actually exist?! That night, I looked up the industry guides that my school had available, and ta da, there it was—an industry guide on publishing. Seriously…never doubt the power of media.