This celebration of diversity in children’s books is the brainchild of bloggers Valarie Budayr of “Jump Into a Book” and Mia Wenjen from “PragmaticMom.” The initiative is focused on not only raising awareness of the necessity of diversity in children’s books, but also to make sure diverse books make it into the hands of children. That’s something we can definitely get behind here at Shout Mouse. Last year we were Bronze sponsors and helped spread the message via social media. Many of our books were celebrated and reviewed by bloggers who are invested in literature that is both representative and inclusive.
There is a devastating lack of multicultural representation in children’s literature. This is particularly troubling when one considers the negative effect this dearth has on literacy in underrepresented communities. That’s why it’s so important that our entire catalog is the libraries of all D.C. Public Schools, and in the public library system, and being spread across the country.
It’s also important that readers from non-marginalized communities are exposed to positive, affirming stories about people from all backgrounds. And it’s imperative that these books not be relegated only to Black History Month or to stories of civil rights injustices of the past. That’s why our children’s book authors write stories of everyday adventures led by characters of color, and why our YA book authors tell present-day stories that change the narrative about youth of color. We need that expansion of empathy and understanding now more than ever.
So, that’s why we’re shouting a bit louder than usual as we celebrate the work of our authors, who act as leaders and change-makers in their communities. Look for yourself and you’ll find ethnically and racially diverse characters with various representations of ability, life circumstance and personality. Race is not always at the heart of the stories our writers tell, but our catalog is designed to portray the multicultural world we all live in, and to value every individual for their unique talents and contributions.
Thank you for joining us in celebrating this important day, and for spreading multicultural books to the next generation!