Last year, a group of children’s book editors desirous of actively talking about and tackling these issues started gathering for lunch discussions. Over time, this grew into a full-blown initiative spearheaded by the wonderful people at the Children’s Book Council. Last week, I was overjoyed to have a chance to attend the kickoff celebration for the CBC Diversity Committee, which describes itself as “dedicated to increasing the diversity of voices and experiences contributing to children’s literature. We endeavor to encourage diversity of race, gender, geographical origin, sexual orientation, and class among both the creators of and the topics addressed by children’s literature. We strive for a more diverse range of employees working within the industry, of authors and illustrators creating inspiring content, and of characters depicted in children’s literature.”
I’m skeptical, of course, and don’t see any mention of their intent to *measure* progress, which I think is important. But it’s a start, and big change can come from taking a small step forward. The following is from their blog:
We plan to achieve these goals by taking the following actions:
- Participate in high school and college career fairs.
- Visit high school senior level English classes to discuss careers in publishing.Resources
- Maintain an up-to-date blog consisting of industry news, book spotlights, CBC Diversity event information, the personal stories of Committee members, and other ready resources for publishing individuals.
- Provide a Goodreads CBC Diversity profile that exhaustively curates front and backlist books by CBC member publishers in order to raise awareness of the diversity-friendly content already in existence.
Keeping the Conversation Going
- Hold safe space meetings at which industry employees can discuss the obstacles to diversity that they have encountered within the children’s publishing world.
- Host panel discussions at which different industry arms can communicate the challenges they face in selling and promoting diverse books, and can work together to develop solutions to these problems.