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.
Tell us about your most recent
book and how you came to write/illustrate it.
BRIGHTSIDERS follows a teen drummer in a famous rock band as she deals with
being labelled a tabloid train wreck, coming out as bisexual, family struggles
and new feelings for her best friend and lead singer, Alfie. All my books are
about fame and fandom in some way, and while my last book (QUEENS OF GEEK)
focused more on the fan’s point of view, THE BRIGHTSIDERS is from the
perspective of a girl being thrust into the spotlight and dealing with the
fallout of that.
Do you think of yourself as a
I’m queer, nonbinary, and autistic. Those parts of my identity definitely
influence the stories I write and the way I see the world in my daily life.
Who is your favorite character of
all time in children’s or young adult literature?
This is a tough question! I have a few, but the one that I really connected
with as a teen was Adrian Mole of the Adrian Mole series, so he’ll always have
a special place in my heart.
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