CBC Diversity: A Considered Response
So what happens now? Book Expo will likely respond with another apology and promise to do better. But it’s too late. The damage is done. “We’re sorry” is no longer acceptable. It is clear that diversity is not a priority for ReedPop and BEA. Either they are not thinking about it at all, or they are actively choosing against diversity because they believe they can make more money with an all-white line-up. These are not our values at Book Riot, and so we will not be supporting, promoting, participating in, covering, or encouraging our community to attend BookCon. We can’t control ReedPop and BEA’s choices, but we can control this. No diversity = no support.
—Rebecca Joines Schinsky, director of content and community for Riot New Media Group
We admire any person or company that appreciates and promotes authors and the creation of more representative stories. Standing up for what you believe in is important as is educating the masses on the issue at hand.
This month, though, story upon story in the news covering the “lack of diversity in children’s literature” have said the same thing. Enough already. Writing one article after another that “talks” about the diversity buzzword isn’t solving anything.
Last month, a list highlighting what each group in the book purchasing process could do to change the situation was circulated—originating from the CCBC listserv post by Sarah Hamburg (bravo!). Let’s continue what Sarah started and come up with action items we can each undertake as editors, parents, librarians, booksellers, literary agents, publicists, etc. and then work together.
Awareness has been raised. Now the conversation needs to change. CBC Diversity is all ears on how we can help create and sustain that change.
- We were told that parents, teachers, and librarians couldn’t find the diverse books they were searching for so we created the CBC Diversity Goodreads Bookshelf, a quantitative, not qualitative, list compiling the diverse titles submitted by our members.
- We were told that a major reason why more diverse books weren’t ushered into houses was because the employees of those houses were not diverse. We answered this concern by attending the Baruch College Career fair in February, hosting a recruitment panel in March for publishing professionals, and representing the children’s publishing industry at a virtual career fair in April, which hosted 3,416 students and alumni from schools across the country.
- We were told that agents need to be a larger part of this conversation, so we welcomed agents to join the discussion at an Editor/Agent CBC Diversity Dialogue.
How else can we continue to grow and support an industry that is committed to reflecting our society in a representative way? What programs need to be put into place and what connections need to be forged to keep moving forward instead of stirring the pot and hoping that will be enough?