Stories of a Colorful World x YAP: Making BIPOC Stories Mainstream
Inclusivity in the publishing industry is not standard practice. Especially for children’s books, failure to represent generations of diverse young readers is common. While BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) representation in books is being slowly introduced, more effort from publishers–on a national scale–is required for this to be the literary standard, not a trend.
The above infographic details 2018 statistics from the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC). 50% of book characters were white, 26% were animals/others, and 10% were African/African-American. As shown, other ethnic groups were depicted in children’s books at even lower percentages. Unfortunately, these statistics have not budged much.
In a 2020 CCBC study, “12.1% of children’s books… featured a [Black]/African main character and 7.6% were written by a [Black]/African author.” While there was a 306% increase in Black main characters on the front cover of children’s bestsellers, according to WordsRated, there was a 23% decrease in children’s best sellers that have Black main characters. These findings demonstrate the disparity in the number of high-quality children’s books that feature BIPOC main characters. But, more importantly, these percentages emphasize the significance of creating space for diverse stories.
To further create and promote diverse literature, we’ve partnered with Stories of a Colorful World (SOCW), a Black-owned online children’s bookstore. The co-founders, Kanika Mobley and Vanessa Mitchell, are committed to carrying books that feature diverse representations of BIPOC characters, authors, and stories. A percentage of SOCW books are donated to classrooms around the country, creating better access to children’s books. And by partnering with Black and Brown publishers, such as Young Authors Publishing, the SOCW E-library ensures that youth-centric and culturally responsive literature is the root of young readers’ learning experiences. Head over to the SOCW E-library and enjoy YAP titles such as New Kid Rule Book, Fatima the Activist, Dinner Table Distractions, and more.
From "New Kid Rule Book" (2021)
The responsibility is on us to normalize diversified stories, characters, and authors. As a result, young readers can enjoy narratives that celebrate cultures and communities of the world. So, let’s continue to invest in BIPOC stories. The value placed on reading will then involve inclusion and human recognition.
About Stories of a Colorful World | storiesofacolorfulworld.com/
Stories of a Colorful World is an online children’s bookstore that understands every child deserves to see themselves in the books they read. They want children to grow up embracing their bold, brilliant and beautiful selves, so we believe they should be surrounded by stories as colorful as the world they live in.