Diversity in literature is an important topic that is being actively debated across the publishing industry. Everyone should be able to open up a book and read about a character who looks like them, shares their beliefs and/or life experiences, and who can serve as a role model for their own existence. That same diversity needs to be reflected on the covers of the books, and in the photos of their authors.
This is especially important in children’s and young adult literature, because these readers more than any others are trying to form their opinions of the world in which they live. Books help kids decide what they can accomplish, inspire them to dig into new subjects or strive to achieve in sports, the arts, politics, etc. If a child opens book after book and reads only about the same type of children and their adventures — white children, Christian children, children who lead safe and prosperous lives — it will be that much harder for them to imagine themselves into the stories.
In this fabulous Ted talk, author Chimamanda Adichie discusses her own experiences with limited stories as a child, and how her own outlook changed and developed as she grew older and discovered other types of books that reflected the diversity of the world around her.