It’s been a while since we’ve done one of these roundups, but there’s been some big news lately, so here we go!
Lee and Low published their 2019 Diversity Baseline Survey. This is an update to a study they did in 2015, and to sum up their results in one line, they've found that "There is no discernible change to any of the other racial categories. In other words, the field is just as White today as it was four years ago." If you won’t have time to digest the whole survey until your next 3-day weekend, catch the highlights on Lee and Low’s Twitter thread about the survey. EDITOR'S NOTE (1/31, 9:45 AM EST): We'd like to acknowledge an oversight in our original post – Dr. Laura Jiménez, PhD, led a team at Boston University with graduate student Betsy Beckert that analyzed and aggregated the data for the survey. This is especially galling considering how often BIPOC are uncredited for their work. We apologize for our mistake.
Aaaaaaaaand… there’s so much great news from the Youth Media Awards!! This was the first year that all Caldecott recognition went to BIPOC artists, that a Native author won the Sibert Medal, that the winners of the Coretta Scott King Author AND Illustrator Award also received Newbery and Caldecott recognition, that the American Indian Youth Literature Award winners (featuring a truly fabulous set of books) were revealed at the YMAs… the list goes on (add more fun facts in the comments, please!) Read the complete press release here. We at Reading While White were glad to see Dig, a novel that wrestles with Whiteness head-on, get Printz recognition, and we highly recommend this article from Public Books about Dig.
Amidst the celebrations, we’re trying to make space for criticism of the awards, and to honor the complexities therein. We recognize that as a White blog with the mission to examine Whiteness in children’s literature, it is almost never appropriate for us to criticize BIPOC work, so we almost never do so. A rare exception to that rule: We highly recommend this thread about White Bird from Ingrid Conley-Abrams, a school librarian in New York City. We continue to wrestle with the systems that grant unearned advantage to White people at the expense of BIPOC people in the publishing and library worlds; and, we want to promote authentic Jewish representation in children’s literature. We have a long way to go on both subjects.
What have we missed, here? What are you reading that’s caught your attention, of late? Leave a comment!