According to a report by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, although Latino children make up 25% of all public school children in the United States, only 3% of children’s books are by or about Latinos. With half of today’s children under 5 years old being non-white and only 8% of children’s books being about people of color, there is a severe disparity.
One Latina mother in this NPR article on “As Demographics Shift, Kids’ Books Stay Stubbornly White,” said it best when she said, “I think children today are told, ‘You can be anything.’ But if they don’t see themselves in the story, I think, as they get older, they’re going to question, ‘Can I really?’ ”
These statistics and what this mother said are the very reason why I will continue to press forward with finding an agent and a publisher for my tween coming of age novel featuring Southeast Asian American protagonists growing up in a predominantly black urban environment. Our young people who are underrepresented in children’s books, tween and young adult literature need us!
Check out this video by author Meg Medina who talks about this issue: