I found this image on Facebook. The original source is First Book, illustrated by Tina Kugler and shared by Latinas for Latino Literature. I was taken by surprise at the numbers and wondered, how can this be?! Why is it important? It is important for all children to be able to read about others having the same experiences as they are, to be able to relate, and to see their culture represented fairly in books; all of this engages kids and encourages them to keep reading.
For now. It simply is. Dedicated to find the positives and encouraging you to take an active role in the education of the children around you (godparents, grandparents, tias y tios too!), here are 5 things Latinos can do to help change this reality.
1) Buy the books you find by Latino authors. It is no secret that for businesses (including publishers) it is all about supply and demand. Talk to your favorite book store and ask for what you are looking for: diversity in children’s books.
2) Check out the books you find by Latino authors at your local library and speak to your librarians about getting some more of these books in! Our librarians have searched high and low for books on Day of the Dead and las posadas. They are so willing to help out!
3) Even if the book is translated, I encourage you to buy Spanish language books . We have Mo Willems, Eric Carle, and Dr. Seuss translated. Someone will notice that Spanish books are important to us. We have Ezra Jack Keats and P.D Eastman too.
4) Encourage your children to read and write as much as possible. Model the behavior. Talk about your favorite Latino authors and show them the books available to you. Have older children share the books they personally create with younger kids and other family members.
5) Encourage your children to pick up books with diverse characters! As you can see above, African-Americas, Native-American and other minorities are few but out there. Support all authors who include multi-cultural characters in their books.
All kids deserve to see diversity in their books! Whether you are Latino or not, we need to learn about each other. White, Black, Latino and Asian…there is so much to share!
Any other ideas on how we can fix this problem? Please let us know in the comments below!