Racial diversity in children's books grows, but slowly
Crews said the work of independent publishers and grassroots organizers are vital in bringing more racial diversity into children's books. Racial diversity in children’s books has been picking up since 2014, reversing a 25-year plateau, according to Kathleen T. Horning, director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Cooperative Children’s Book Center. Children’s books written by authors of color in 2020 increased by 3% to 26.8% compared with 2019. Ellen Oh, CEO of the grassroots advocacy nonprofit We Need Diverse Books, said one barrier to achieving diversity in children's books is the myth within the publishing industry that books about people of color don't sell. A 2019 diversity baseline survey by Lee & Low Books, an independent children’s book publisher centering diversity, found that 76% of the publishing industry was white.