Open letter to publishers
Publishers try to bring us books that we want to read and to buy. We have asked for more diverse titles and they have tried. The recent uptick in titles by and about minority group characters has been fabulous to see. But in a recent presentation I gave, my audience of librarians said that is not enough.
Publishers, I hope you are reading, because here is what those 175 librarians want.
They want more stories where children can see themselves. Not just in skin color but also in circumstances.
They want books about families with children living in trailer parks or being homeless.
They want stories about families where substance abuse is a problem; where the battle against drug addiction is fought.
They want books about separation from family members, whether from military deployment, from travel for work, from jail, from care issues, or from immigration issues.
They want books about children or family members who are amputees and wear prostheses. This is especially important in military communities.
And they want these books for elementary children, so yes, in picture book format. Because this is where the stories will do the most good. Because this is where children cannot verbalize what their greatest fears may be but they can recognize themselves and their circumstances in a book. Because children can look through the window of a book and see others who may not be the same but who also struggle. And school librarians can match them with that book if it has been published.
Thank you for reading.
Author: Karen Perry
Former school library media specialist. Reviewer. Online instructor for Old Dominion University and University of North Carolina at Greensboro in the school library program.