How many kids do you know who wish they were Harry Potter? Or Katniss from The Hunger Games? Or Harold from Harold and the Purple Crayon? Now try to think of an African American protagonist with the same level of popularity. Or an Asian American. Latinx. Until recently, it wasn't so easy.
It’s an interesting time to be publishing history books for the educational market. One of our forthcoming books is about the Oregon Trail. Intrepid settlers braving the wilds of uncharted territory in hopes of forging a new, better life out west—middle grade books about westward expansion have all the ingredients for a sweeping, epic experience!
When you hear a first grade class shriek with enthusiasm during a science experiment, it can be hard to believe that more than half of those kids are going to reach high school thinking that science is too hard for them. Or they'll think it's boring, or messy, or a waste of time. They might see so few people who look like them doing real science that they'll be unconsciously discouraged from doing it themselves.
What does race mean to you? Do you discuss race in your classroom or library? Do you make sure that the materials you use with your students are reflective of a diverse range of people? The anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech is a fantastic chance to talk about race with your students.
If you’ve been paying any attention to the publishing business for the past several years, you’ll know that publishers, writers, illustrators, teachers, librarians, and parents are calling (and answering the call) for more diversity in the books we give to our children. The grassroots organization We Need Diverse Books has been instrumental in getting #WeNeedDiverseBooks into the spotlight and into editorial meetings around the country.