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.
In her 15 years at LBYR Ling has edited books that have won everything from Newbery and Caldecott Honors to the Coretta Scott King Medal.
also a founding member of DIBs (Diversity in Books), a group of editors advocating for more diversity in the children’s publishing industry, who approached the Children’s Book Council in 2011 about creating a
diversity initiative. In early 2012 CBC Diversity was born!
'PW' Panel Warns Industry, Lack of Diversity Threatens Publishing
At a panel about the lack of diversity in the book publishing industry, hosted by PW, a number of publishing professionals warned that the overwhelmingly white makeup of the industry threatens its long-term viability.
Two of the three amazing panelists were a part of DIBs (Diversity in Books), the group of editors who helped create the CBC Diversity Committee. Alvina Ling and Stacey Barney not only talked about some of the barriers (to entry into the publishing world along with publishing more inclusive stories), but highlighted some of the amazing bright spots in publishing that need to be celebrated in this conversation. Some of these include:
Titles written by and starring people of color that have reached the bestsellers list
Outreach to schools and universities (in-person and through virtual career fairs that introduce students early to the possibility of a career in publishing)
After about an hour of moderated discussion, the conversation was opened for audience participation. One question that was asked of the panel near the end was, “To continue to move the conversation forward, but also as a means to institute more action and change, what collaborations/partnerships/programs would you like to see instituted to help promote more diversity in-house as well as get more books supported that are written by and about people from different cultures?”
Some of the panel’s answers?
More scholarship programs for publishing programs/internships to help with the financial burden of getting your start in publishing
More partnerships with media outlets to cover more diverse offerings
Finding a way to utilize celebrities to endorse reading cross-culturally
More support systems to allow individuals to be in the publishing world (like mentorship programs)
“I do think that things have gotten better. Of course, as has been widely reported, if you look at the numbers of main characters of color in children’s books, the stats have stayed stagnant. But I do think that the quality of books featuring characters of color has improved (fewer stereotypical depictions, more variety), and also, if you look at the total number of diverse characters in books, I believe the numbers would be vastly improved. When I was a kid, I could probably count the number of Asian characters in the books I read on one hand. Now I see them everywhere.”
–Alvina Ling, founding member of the CBC Diversity Committee, in an interview with Goodreads on how she found her way into publishing, why diversity in publishing is complicated (but improving), and her newest multicultural project. Check out the whole interview here.