Earlier this year when BookCon (a reader’s convention organized by the industry’s Book Expo America) announced its lineup of 30 all-star children’s authors, two things were missing: female authors, and authors of color. In response, a group of 22 authors, publishers and bloggers launched the We Need Diverse Books campaign. In less than a day the campaign went viral, with hundreds of followers adding to the #WeNeedDiverseBooks Twitter chat by the hour.
Today, We Need Diverse Books (WNDB) is a bona fide non-profit organization with a team of dedicated volunteers and an advisory board of top-notch children’s authors. Their mission: “We recognize all diverse experiences, including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities. Our mission is to promote or amplify diversification efforts and increase visibility for diverse books and authors, with a goal of empowering a wide range of readers in the process.”
WNDB has recently teamed up with School Library Journal to collaborate on a diversity-focused event to be held at the 2016 American Library Association Midwinter Meeting; to get support for the We Need Diverse Books Diversity Festival to be held in Summer 2016 in the Washington, DC, area; and to jointly develop an Education Kit to introduce teachers, librarians and booksellers to incorporate more diverse books in classrooms.
Most groups (especially those less than six months old) would think that’s a fine start, but WNDB has gone one step further. They’ve partnered with An Open Book Children’s Literacy Foundation (AOB), a non-profit created to promote literacy among disadvantaged children and teens in the greater Washington, DC area. AOB takes authors and illustrators of children’s and teens’ books to disadvantaged schools and gives each child a copy of the author’s book to take home. It is often the first book the child has ever owned. With WNDB’s new Diversity in the Classroom Program, An Open Book will now be able to bring a wider range of authors and books to these kids.
And that’s where they need your help.
We Need Diverse Books has launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to raise $100,000 by November 24. Click here to contribute, volunteer, join in the discussion, and help bring children the books that fully reflect the world in which we live.
Tags: change the world, diversity