Last year, a University of Wisconsin study revealed that only 8 percent of children's books in the previous year were written by or about people of color. In a country where almost 50 percent of American children came from a minority background, 8 percent was far from an accurate representation of that diversity.
This sparked a much-needed conversation in the world of publishing. With New York Times' writer Dean Myers asking key questions like, "Where are the People of Color in Children's Books?" more than a few people demanded an answer. And, when BookCon, the publishing industry's most high-profile event, announced their all-white lineup of speakers, that spark grew into a blaze.
Author Ellen Oh knew something had to be done. She began rallying fellow writers to start a movement -- a movement that has been ongoing for more than a year now. The #WeNeedDiverseBooks Campaign grew into a non-profit organization created to address the lack of diverse, non-majority narratives in children's literature.
In the campaign video (below), author Matt de la Pena talks about why diverse books are important for everyone, not just for people of color. "It doesn’t matter if you’re African American, Asian, disabled, part of the LGBTQ community - we all need to see ourselves in books. Because if we don’t see ourselves in books, we may not feel as connected to the human experience - the story of all of us. At the same time, books are more than mirrors, they’re also windows. I’ve always believed that reading is the ultimate form of empathy. Yes, we’d love to find ourselves in books, and read about ourselves and our own experiences, but it’s also important to read about people who aren’t like us. It’s only then that we’ll have a full understanding of the world around us."
At Bharat Babies, we're determined to be a part of the change. We want to share India's rich culture and heritage with the world. We know that when children see themselves and their experiences mirrored in the books that they read and see in libraries and schools, it creates a sense of belonging. But, our books aren't just for Indians. Diverse books are for everyone. They give children a window into other cultures and different perspectives, broadening their view and understanding of the world around them.
We are proud supporters of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign and active participants in this much-needed conversation. Everyone's story is worth sharing, and we can't wait to share our stories with you. Take a look at Bharat Babies' diverse collection here.