We Need Diverse Books More Than Ever
We need diverse books because books fight hate.
Because our children are the future.
Because all voices must be heard and celebrated.
Because it’s important to read about people who are different than yourself.
Because kids need to see themselves represented in literature.
Because all our stories are important.
Because children’s books can change the world.
Illustration from Josephine
For the past three weeks, we’ve been fully engrossed in our 5th annual Give Books campaign, that special time of year when we encourage everyone to give books during the holidays. For each pledge, we donate a book to a child in need through First Book, a nonprofit that sends new books to the schools and neighborhoods where they are needed most. Take the pledge today—our goal is to donate 30,000 books.
This Giving Tuesday, we want to shine the spotlight on another organization we hold near and dear to our hearts: We Need Diverse Books. They are a group of children’s book lovers that showcase and encourage literature that mirrors and honors the lives of all young people. To help get these stories into the classrooms that need them most, we’re proud to donate a selection of our diverse publishing to We Need Diverse Books:
- Green is a Chile Pepper by Roseanne Greenfield Thong, illustrated by John Parra
- Round is a Mooncake by Roseanne Greenfield Thong, illustrated by Grace Lin
- Lowriders to the Center of the Earth by Cathy Camper, illustrated by Raul the Third
- Josephine by Patricia Hruby Powell, illustrated by Christian Robinson
- Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth by Sanjay Patel and Emily Haynes, illustrated by Sanjay Patel
- Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns by Hena Khan, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini
- You Can Do It Too! by Karen Baicker, illustrated by Ken Wilson-Max
- I Can Do It Too! by Karen Baicker, illustrated by Ken Wilson-Max
- Bintou’s Braids by Sylviane A. Diouf, illustrated by Shane W. Evans
- The Quickest Kid in Clarksville by Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrated by Frank Morrison
One of their many noteworthy programs is WNDB in the Classroom, which works to share diverse literature and promote representation of children’s book creators from marginalized groups in school communities.
Illustration from The Quickest Kid in Clarksville
So how can you help? Here are a few ways:
- Buy, read, and give diverse books—support authors and publishers who are promoting these stories and making an effort to distribute them worldwide.
- Donate to WNDB here to help get these books into the classrooms.
- Request diverse books at your local bookstore.
- Suggest diverse books for your child’s school library or for your public library.
- Suggest authors and/or illustrators from underrepresented groups for school visits.
Illustration from Green is a Chile Pepper
Why do you think we need diverse books now more than ever? Share your answer in the comments. To celebrate past responses from our community, here are few of our favorites:
“#WeNeedDiverseBooks because I don’t want to live in a hetero-normative-white-misogynistic-ableist world anymore, and we need to start with the next generation of readers! (Get ’em while they’re young!)” —Larissa
“We need diverse books because children need to see themselves reflected in the books they read as everyone says. But we need diverse books in our house because we live in a very white town in the Colorado mountains and are too broke to ever travel. Books are the way my daughter learns about different places and cultures. I want her to understand how differences should be respected and are interesting and valuable.” —Jill Bergman
“Growing up in the Southwest with Hispanics, Latinos, Native Americans, Whites, and Vietnamese refugees was very educational, but we all were made to study the same materials that were produced by companies who thought we all were similar and thought the same (or wanted assimilation). It is so refreshing to see more books of this kind that celebrate diversity and teach about different cultural heritages.” —Ruby T
“We need diverse books because our country is increasingly diverse but continually divided. By exposing children to the many positive implications of greater diversity, other traditions, and different cultures, we are teaching them to respect one another regardless of race or ethnicity. Parents can make an active choice to promote respect, tolerance and community and confront the ignorance and inequality we still see in our society.” —B.R.
“You don’t read books just to hear your own story again and again. You read to hear everyone else’s.” —@ArmyofWomack
“The world is diverse. And books are a window to the world. You can go anywhere with a book. Who doesn’t want a wide world for their child with abundant with adventures of all sorts, characters of all kinds and dreams unfettered?” —Erin Strickland
Illustration from Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns
You can browse all our diverse titles here.
Latest posts by Jenna Homen (see all)
- 7 Marijuana Books for All Types of Weed Enthusiasts - April 20, 2017
- The Art of Marbled Paper: Inside the Archives at the San Francisco Public Library - April 19, 2017
- #IReadIndie: Letter Writing Books + Stationery from Independent Publishers - April 17, 2017
Amy Krouse Rosenthal, We Wished You MoreMarch 10th, 2017
7 Must-Read Articles on Diversity Within the Publishing IndustryFebruary 23rd, 2017
The Winners of the Little Free Library Design CompetitionFebruary 16th, 2017
We Need Diverse Books More Than EverNovember 28th, 2016
The Chronicle Books Gift Guide: Our Top Picks of the YearNovember 21st, 2016