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The We Need Diverse Books Campaign
Bringing Diversity to Children's Literature
We Need Diverse Books is a movement turned organization that is working to bring greater diversity and more perspectives to children's literature. After numbers revealed that minority representation in children's books failed to reflect the actual minority populations, authors and activists united with the goal of embracing diversity in children's literature by reaching out to readers, librarians, authors, and publishers.
Including non-majority narratives in children's books is crucial; as many have pointed out, developing children need a "mirror" in which their own culture is reflected back to them in healthy ways through television and literature, and children also need to experience other cultures through positive representations in literature. From the We Need Diverse Books website:
We Need Diverse Books is a grassroots organization created to address the lack of diverse, non-majority narratives in children’s literature. We Need Diverse Books is committed to the ideal that embracing diversity will lead to acceptance, empathy, and ultimately equality.
"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."
The We Need Diverse Books team has also launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise money for several initiatives that will promote diversity in literature: the production of educational kits to introduce teachers, educators, and librarians to diverse books; the inaugural Kidlit Diversity Festival, to be held in the summer of 2016 in Washington DC; the presence of WNDB at national conferences and discussions; the Walter Dean Myers Award & Grant, which will recognize outstanding contributions to literature; and the Diversity in the Classroom program to get authors speaking in classrooms at disadvantaged schools. To donate to the WNDB campaign, visit the Indiegogo page here.