In the Sunday Times, YA author Walter Dean Myers and his son Christopher Myers, an illustrator, discussed the necessity of more diverse children’s books. A new study from the Cooperative Children’s Book Center of the University of Wisconsin says only 3% of books published last year featured black characters, and only 2% were by black writers.
Why aren’t there more people of color in children’s literature? Christopher Myers said the closest thing to a villain he can find is The Market: “The Market, I am told, just doesn’t demand this kind of book, doesn’t want book covers to look this or that way, and so the representative from (insert major bookselling company here) has asked that we have only text on the book cover because white kids won’t buy a book with a black kid on the cover — or so The Market says, despite millions of music albums that are sold in just that way.”
Walter Dean Myers took a more personal tack, talking about empathizing with white characters as a young reader and growing frustrated with the absence of characters like him:

Then I read a story by James Baldwin: “Sonny’s Blues.” I didn’t love the story, but I was lifted …read more

Via: Melville House Books