by Kathleen T. Horning
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.
That number got around. Most people knew there weren’t many books being published by Black authors and illustrators; they just didn’t know the number was that small.
The next year it was the same — 18 again. After that, it almost doubled, and started going up a bit each year until it peaked in 1992. Since then it has plateaued.
Before too long we were being asked for the number of books by and about American Indians, Asians/Asian Pacific Americans, and Latinos, and we started keeping track of those numbers, too. CCBC librarian made a graph that shows the progress (or lack thereof) since 2002.
Looking at this graph you can see what I mean when I say the numbers have plateaued. Some years the numbers go up, only to go down again the next year.
This year we saw an increase in the number of books about Africans and African Americans, Asians/Asian Pacific Americans, and Latinos. the number of books by and about American Indians increased by two. It’ll be interesting to see if next year the lines on our graph continue rising upward.
In the meantime, you can look at the statistics on more detail here on our website.