What do Children’s Books tell us about Society?

What do Children’s Books tell us about Society?


Children’s books shape us more profoundly
than almost anything else we read or encounter because we encounter these when we are very
much in the process of becoming, when we are very impressionable. Children’s books tell us whose stories matter,
and whose stories do not matter. Children’s books tell us what biases we may
harbor as adults, and what ones we may not. 50% of school children today are non-white,
but in 2016, only 22% of books for children featured non-white characters and only 13%
of books for children were by non-white creators. But of course, all children need to see themselves
represented in all stories. All children should be able to see themselves
on a quest to defeat a villain, as grappling with technologies of the future or banding
together resist a dystopian regime. All children should be in those stories, but
their not in those stories. So, there are many, many examples of how children’s
literature is racist and they permeate the field in ways that are easily seen and maybe
are not so easily seen.

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