March 15, 2022
UW-Madison’s Madelyn Tyner recently spoke with India’s general news and opinion website The Quint about why children’s books are diversifying. CCBC data is also highlighted in the article.
Tyner is a librarian at the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) at the School of Education. She was recently named chair of the American Library Association’s Notable Children’s Book Committee.
The article, titled “Embracing Diversity: Indian American Children’s Literature Booming in the US,” describes how children’s books about India and by Indian authors are gradually becoming more mainstream. Tyner explains why CCBC data shows an increase in diversity in children’s literature.
“Every year the number of books written by and about people of color increases,” she says, “but over the past two years the pandemic has slowed people’s lives and given them more time to reflect and the reboot of social movements like Black Lives Matter following the George Floyd incident, there seems to be genuine interest in diverse voices.
Tyner says she thinks nonprofits such as We Need Diverse Books have played a big role in changing the perception of diversity. She notes that the organization’s #WeNeedDiverseBooks online hashtag campaign in 2016 “not only raised awareness in schools and libraries about the need and demand for more diverse representation when it comes to children’s books, but also pushed the publishing industry in the United States is heading for a major transition.”
CCBC data is also highlighted in the article. In 2008, this data showed that out of 3,000 children’s books, 98 contained Asian stories – and only two books had Indian American protagonists and were written by Indian American authors. In 2021, out of 3,356 children’s books, 351 featured Asian subjects, and 67 of them were Indian. Additionally, 73 books had an Indian author or illustrator in 2021.
To learn more, read the full article.