June 2013 Census—Numbers We “Know”
On June 13, 2013, the Census Bureau released an article that was eye-opening, but not necessarily shocking. For the past few years many of us have understood that the make-up of our nation is changing and shifting. Publishing professionals have followed the many news articles published in the last year that raise the subject of the evolving population of our country and observed that children's books don't reflect that evolution. As industry professionals, we read and we are listening. These issues are the very reason that CBC Diversity was formed. The CBC Diversity initiative was organized before the first controversial article with the tone of "wake up and see all the white kids on covers–not OK" in 2012 was written. The publishing industry gets it. But seeing change takes time (it takes about a year + to make a book) and it requires widespread collaboration from everyone involved in children's books (librarians, teachers, booksellers, agents, parents, writers, illustrators, etc.) to solve the problem.
That being said, sitting around Diversity Dialogue sessions where industry professionals come together in a safe environment to discuss how to "solve the problem" can be frustrating at times. We all "know" that there are a whole lot of, say, Latinos who need good mirror books, but reaching that audience is easier said than done. We "know" the market is there, but is it really? Stupid question, right? Of course it's there, but just so everyone is on the same page, here are some interesting tidbits directly from the June 13, 2013 Census Bureau report to really think deeply about.