Yesterday, Guardian Children’s Books released a list of the 50 best children’s books published from 1950 to the present day that celebrate cultural and ethnic diversity. Behind the list is Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books for sharing the list with us today – and to the experts they called on to pull it together: Julia Eccleshare (the Guardian children’s books editor), Jake Hope (from Youth Libraries Group), Library specialist Sarah Smith and Katherine Woodfine from the Book Trust.
One of the books is 2011 ALMA Laureate Shaun Tan’s graphic novel The arrival, which follows a man who leaves his home and his family and emigrates to a foreign land, where he struggles to settle in, while always dreaming of being reunited with his family.
The Guardian children’s Books web has in fact dedicated the whole week to exploring diversity of all kinds in children’s books. Why? Here´s their own words:
First things first. What makes a diverse book? This means books by and about all kinds of people, as the UK and the world are full of all kinds of people. So that means boys, girls, all different colours, all different races and religions, all different sexualities and all different disabilities and anything else you can think of – so our books don’t leave anyone out.
Now here are some shocking stats: of the 3,200 children’s books published in 2013, only 93 were about black people, 34 about Native Americans, 69 about Asians and 57 about Latinos (people from South America). Not too good!
Our amazing children’s laureate Malorie Blackman told site member Megan TheBookAddictedGirl: “Growing up I wanted to read books that featured people of colour but having adventures and having stories; that’s a major part of the reason that I thought ‘there seem to be none, I’m going to write them myself.’”
Here´s a clip were children’s laureate Malorie Blackman introduces her book, Boys Don’t Cry and talks about the importance of cultural diversity in books & writing.
In this clip, produced by the Guardian, she´s interviewed by teenager Megan Quibell at the very first Young Adult Lit Convention (YALC) held at Comic Con in July.