Following on the heels of years, literally years, of conversations at conferences as well as on child-lit and other forums, a group of editors have come together under the auspices of the Children's Book Council, in a Diversity Committee, with the common goal of increasing diversity in children's publishing in the US. Since this is a goal to which I've more or less dedicated 20+ years of my writing and teaching life, I am especially thrilled to read this on the CBC Diversity blog site:
And this:The CBC Diversity Committee is dedicated to increasing the diversity of voices and experiences contributing to children’s literature. To create this change, the Committee strives to build awareness that the nature of our society must be represented within the children’s publishing industry.
We endeavor to encourage diversity of race, gender, geographical origin, sexual orientation, and class among both the creators of and the topics addressed by children’s literature. We strive for a more diverse range of employees working within the industry, of authors and illustrators creating inspiring content, and of characters depicted in children’s literature."Creators of" and "topics addressed." Yes! This is a thoughtful and meaningful recasting of a conversation that in the past has been all too prone to degenerate into polarized rhetoric about the right to write.
The committee is calling to all within the industry to become partners, spread the word, and participate in a variety of ways, including through social networking. I'm not sure how writers and illustrators can weigh in at this time, beyond blogging and adding a Twibbon, but I just want to applaud. This has been a long time coming and I'm so glad it's happening now.