Welcome to this LibGuide on Asians in YA and Children's Publishing! Not long ago, it was hard to find some diversity in the publishing world. Nowadays, there is an improvement but not enough and more can be done. In this introductory guide, the focus is on Asians in regards to books, booktubers, reading challenges, podcasts, publishers, and advocates.
In my generation, we didn't grow up with a lot of diversity in the books we read. We didn't see ourselves represented in these stories in appearance, culture, or way of life. When there was representation, sometimes we were just token Asians or stereotypical Asians. That type of portrayal could be both harmful and hurtful. A lot of times, books with people of color were not written by people of color.
Today's generation is different. There is more conversation and awareness. Marginalized voices are speaking up and speaking out. Social media plays a part in spreading the word.
I hope this movement continues in the future because diversity is important. Everyone deserves to see themselves as heroes and heroines in the stories they read.
Children's book author and illustrator, Grace Lin, gives a talk about the importance of her culture reflected in her stories. It is important for kids to see themselves in the "mirrors" and also see others through the "windows" of the books they read.
From 2015 to 2018, diversity in children's books has improved a little. The infographics, provided by Sarah Park Dahlen which are pictured below, show the non-white races have grown in percentages, such as the Asians going from 3.3% to 7%. Still, it's not enough. The white percentage has dropped, but the non-human percentage has gone up. For the 2018 numbers, if you add up the first 4 percentages, they equal 23% which is still less than the non-human percentage at 27%. It can be startling to see diverse identities not as widely represented as non-human characters in children's books.
In the article by the SLJ staff (2019), it is mentioned that "Children's literature continues to misrepresent underrepresented communities" so some of the diverse titles may be inaccurate and low quality. Not having more #ownvoices authors (authors who share the same marginalized identity as their characters) may have contributed to that misrepresentation.
More needs to be done to give young readers the opportunity to read characters like them. More authors of marginalized identities should be given the opportunity to write those stories.