School of Education News

NBC puts spotlight on CCBC's research examining diversity in children's books

March 13, 2019

NBC recently posted an article that features research conducted by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC), which is housed within the UW–Madison School of Education. 

The CCBC publishes an annual report tracking the number of children’s books by and about people of color and from First/Native Nations. The center started tracking these numbers in 1985, documenting them in their annual best books listing, “CCBC Choices” publication. Today, the CCBC also maintains a web page devoted to multicultural literature, including lists of recommended titles by age group.

NBC reports: "A 2018 survey by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that out of the 3,703 children’s books they received, 778 were written by people of color and 1,014 were about people of color. Kathleen T. Horning, director of the center, has been tracking these statistics since 1985 and said that in the last two years, there have been “small, but steady gains” — about 5 percent — in both African-American and Latino books. There has been a small decrease in books by and about Native Americans."

Statistics for Asian and Asian-American books were "distinctive," Horning adds.

"While there are actually more books each year being published by Asian authors and illustrators, the percentage of these books that are about Asian characters is actually decreasing each year," Horning tells NBC. "So the long and short: Asian and Asian-American book creators are producing more books each year. They just aren’t necessarily writing about Asian characters.”

“This year for the first time, we are seeing an increase in the number of books about African-Americans and Latinos that are actually being created by authors and illustrators from those two groups,” Horning tells NBC. “Publishers are clearly responding to the public demand for more diversity in books for children and teens.”

Check out the entire NBC report here

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