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.
New York, NY – September 28, 2018 – The CBC Diversity Committee is proud to announce
the winners of the inaugural CBC Diversity Outstanding Achievement Awards.These
awards will be given annually to professionals or organizations in the
children’s publishing industry who have made a significant impact on the publishing
and marketing of diverse books, diversity in hiring and mentoring, and efforts
that create greater awareness with the public about the importance of diverse
The winners were announced at the CBC Annual Meeting in New York City
on September 27, and an official ceremony and conversation with the winners
will take place on October 24 at a CBC Forum event. The winners will each
select an organization to receive one thousand dollars’ worth of children’s
books in their name.
Kapadwala, the CBC Diversity Committee’s moderator, said: “The committee had
the great joy and responsibility of reviewing nominations from across the
children’s publishing community. In making their selections, the committee has
summarized the accomplishments of these inspiring people and organizations.”
Join CBC Diversity every Tuesday to discuss ways of increasing access to diverse literature for all children.
This year, the Children’s Book Council and the Association for Library Service to Children teamed up to host a Day of Diversity: Dialogue and Action in Children’s Literature and Library Programming at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting.
We now invite all advocates for diverse children’s literature to join us on Twitter every Tuesday to keep the conversation moving forward.
Ellen Oh: Diverse Books are Not ‘Special Interest’
Ellen Oh, YA author of the Prophecy series, recently weighed in on the inappropriate and unfair treatment of diverse books; specifically the way that they are handled like ‘special interest’ books instead of being promoted as much as other titles.
“Diverse books shouldn’t be considered “special interest” and shelved in a separate area. If books containing minority characters are special interest, then any book with a talking animal should be separated into a ‘non-human category.’"
We asked author Ellen Oh, one of the authors and bloggers spearheading the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign, to tell us about the genesis of the campaign. Here’s what she told us:
While diversity initiatives have been on my mind for a very long time, this particular hashtag campaign struck me hard on the day BookCon announced its all white male panel on kid lit. It started with a twitter conversation I was having with Malinda Lo, Cindy Pon, Hannah Ehrlich of Lee and Low Books, and Megan from Braun Books. We were talking about how hard it was being a POC author in a marketplace that clearly only favors white authors and the conversation took off from there.
Please tell us about the most recent diverse book you published.
For the purposes of this response, I propose that we define “diversity” in a more expansive way.
I suggest that “diversity” should mean more than issue based books by authors of color about protagonists of color. (While I believe that these books are still needed, the definition of diversity in the 21st century needs to be broader. I encourage all of you to read Christopher Myers’ excellent Horn Book piece for more on this subject.
Please consider the work of the debut novelists Korean American Ellen Oh and Asian Indian Soman Chainani. They are part of a growing number of authors of color who are breaking boundaries with regard to the diversity of book content and genre.
In Prophecy by Ellen Oh, our heroine is a girl soldier/demon slayer. Oh based her research on Genghis Khan and feudal Korea. Readers may pick up on the nods to Asian history and culture, or they can be content with reading an action packed adventure with a strong heroine.
Darius & Twig by Walter Dean Myers, is about the friendship of an aspiring writer, Darius and a runner, Twig, set against an urban landscape. Myers sets the standard for challenging himself as a writer and for giving voice to young people, their fears and frustrations, but also their hopes and dreams. But do not be fooled. These are not “just urban novels for urban teens.” Pay more careful attention, dear reader. Myers’ message is about universality.
In The School for Good and Evil, Chainani skillfully upturns our notions of the good, bad and ugly. Readers will find the travails of Sophie and Agatha uproariously funny but I also like to think that the novel offers another perspective, a broader perspective about identity that maybe, you may have taken for granted.
All three novels were acquired with the slightly subversive intention of pushing us along just a little bit farther as readers.