The Numbers Are In 2014 edition

Every year around this time for the past 30 years, the CCBC has published the number of books by and about people of color. We started doing this in 1985 when our Director, Ginny Moore Kruse, was on the Coretta Scott King Award Committee and knew that there were only 18 books eligible for the award that year. We were so shocked at that number that we decided to document it in our annual publication, CCBC Choices.

More Than Numbers

Last week KT Horning tweeted that it would be a great year to be on the Coretta Scott King Award Committee because of all the outstanding novels by African American authors that have been published so far in 2014. At the time, I’d just finished novelist Teresa E. Harris’s terrific debut book, The Perfect Place (Clarion), and had also been thinking about what a great year it’s been for longer books in general by African American authors.

Culturally Generic/Neutral?

Several years ago, a Korean American colleague of ours was in the CCBC reading the latest picture book by Yumi Heo. She was laughing aloud with nearly every page turn.  “Oh, these pictures!” she said. “They’re so Korean and so funny!” We loved the book ourselves but hadn’t found the illustrations to be particularly funny. Or, for that matter, particularly Korean.

By and About Numbers

Last week I posted mid-year statistics about the multicultural landscape in children’s book publishing so far in 2013.  Using the review copies in our Current Collection I counted the number of books we’ve received to date (1509) with human characters (1103) as opposed to animal characters or about non-human topics (326), and found that 78.3% are about human beings.  Of the 1103 books about people, 124 (or 10.4%) of these were about people of color.