Diversity in Children’s Books: My Motivation by Alex Paramo
Community Publishing was founded on a dollar and a dream, or something like that. Well, not exactly. There were two main motivating factors, equally as important: equity for artists of all mediums and the lack of diversity found in children’s books. I will not delve into the former here, suffice to say that it is still a primary motivator.
As it concerns diversity in children’s books, or lack thereof, I have previously written on this topic and will avoid covering the same ground. I must reemphasize the dearth of people of color in children’s books in every facet of the industry: Authors, Illustrators, Protagonists.
Whet Moser’s article, Diversity in Children’s Books Is Hard to Find—But Important, got me thinking about a point I overlooked in my first article which is the fact that, “Picture books are among the first representations of the broader world that we see. And they are introduced at a critical time.” Indeed folks in the publishing industry know the importance and value of a cover.
Community Publishing recently teamed up with the independent bookstore, Bookworks Albuquerque for a celebration of Samuel’s Story, our latest multimedia children’s book featuring an African American Author (Hakim Bellamy), Illustrator (Melvin Mayes), Music Producer (Roscoe Floyd aka DJ Flo Fader) and protagonist (Samuel). As my daughter Marisol (voice of Princess Marisol of Princess Marisol & the Moon Thieves) browsed around the bookstore, I wondered if she see saw lots of faces on the books that looked like hers? Probably not, but this is part of our team – and here is our plan:
Princess Marisol & the Moon Thieves written by yours truly (latino/mestizo) featuring a Native American/Chicana/Latina main character with Juancho, Mato, the Wise Woman and Metzli the moon rounding out the multicultural cast. Narrated by Jackie Zamora (Peru) and Music by Matias Pizzaro (Chile) and Juan Carlos Ramirez (El Salvador).
Fiona the Funkadelic Freckle Fairy features a female Author (Alayna Roche), with an all female cast of characters.
Samuel’s Story features an all African American creative production team, an African American protagonist and multicultural characters in an urban setting.
The forthcoming Janie & the Hummingbird written by Artist/Musician/Educator Seth Hoffman is a bilingual story about a Hummingbird stuck inside a school library.
The forthcoming Bella the Caterpillar is bilingual and was written by a 7 year old girl (Native American/Chicana/Latina). It is set in the Carribean, narrated by Raquel Rivera (Puerto Rico) and including children voice actors, with music by Christian Orellana (Peru).
The forthcoming Places I’ve Been was written by Educator Alexandra Villegas (Latina) and features wildlife from the various states that Ms. Villegas has lived in.
The forthcoming Princess Marisol & the Portal is the sequel to Princess Marisol & the Moon Thieves. features the characters mentioned above and includes Keith Sanchez as the Music Director.
Overall the publishing industry itself is terribly underrepresented. At Community Publishing we pride ourselves in the diversity, our Founder’s are myself and Yvette Sandoval (Chicana), as well as our creative talent and books! Please consider our books, available in digital and print. Together we can make books more colorful/culturally diverse and therefore more reflective of the country and world at-large. Find our books here.
Community Publishing brings local artists of all mediums together in creative collaborations for distribution as Multimedia Books while promoting literacy in our communities. We are proud to be a community partner and digital marketer at the Rail Yards Market and the Monte Vista Fire Station. Need help with your web presence and social media marketing? Click here to find out how we can help you!
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