What? Isn't it Monday? Why, yes, yes it is!
There are two things going on today. One is the Twitter push for the Big Five Publishers to be open about their diversity statistics via the Diversity Baseline Survey.
For the original tweet and petition from Lee&Low, click here.
Click here for more information about it from my writing pal SC.
So far, only Macmillan has signed the petition. If you've followed the #WriteInclusively or #WeNeedDiverseBooks hashtags, you'll understand the importance of having a diverse staff controlling what gets published.
As a child, there are only two stories I can remember reading that featured a young black girl. One was a book called Corduroy, about a teddy bear who wants to be sold, but the mother of the little girl who wants him says no because he's missing a button. The little girl is black, and I used to pretend that she was me.
The other book was an American Girl book for Addy, a slave girl in 1864. There have been many American Girls since Addy, but only one other that was a little black girl from 1850*, who wasn't a standalone character and was archived. The majority of the currently active dolls are not only white (6 of the 9), but little blonde girls (4 of the 6). Not only that, they archived Felicity, Kirsten, and Molly! (These were my three favorite girls.) No offense to the other little girls whom I haven't read as I aged out of interest in the stories, but these three were extremely diverse on the surface level alone. Felicity was a redhead who dared to put on pants in the 1770s; Kirsten was a Swedish immigrant; and Molly was the girl-next-door tomboy.
*Reading more on Cécile Rey, the other black American Girl, while I'm sure her character was whimsical, she seemed to be a pretty stereotypical black character. Paraphrase: Confident, curious, and loving the limelight, her lessons bored her, and she wanted to become an actress and loved to party. Hm...
And after 1864, where are the black American Girls? After 1824 where are the other American Girls of Color? Skimming through, I see Julie has a Chinese-American friend whose collection was archived in 2014. Can you imagine the interest the company could generate if they gave us, say, a black American Doll from 1958? Is that too hard a period to write about from that perspective? I know there is a glamorization of the time period because of the fashion and classiness, so maybe they just...I don't know.
And this is why it's important for people to mean what they say when they say they need diverse books. That also means you need to not only have people who advocate for diversity, but people who ARE diverse. They'll see those gems that the majority just might not feel are "right for them." They have a fresh take, a different eye. So I'm hoping the other 4 of the Big 5 will take a stand and follow suit.
Oh, by the way, this is a blog hop, so if you want to join in, scroll back up and click on SC's post to find the LinkyLink. :)