To me, equality goes hand in hand with welcoming diversity.
There was a recent study by the CCBC (Cooperative Children's Book Center) that made this shocking revelation:
Of the 3,600 books the Cooperative Children’s Book Center reviewed in 2012:*
3% were about Africans/African Americans; 1.8% were written by Africans/African Americans
1.5% were about Latinos; 1.6% were written by Latinos
Less than 1% were about American Indians; less than 1% were written by American Indians
2% were about Asian Pacifics/Asian Pacific Americans; 2.3% were written by Asian Pacifics/Asian Pacific Americans
Here is another infographic, too.
Update about the CCBC's method of review- read this blog post.
This image has been hugely popular, so I did a full color version!
Above is the original rough scribble I did for Illustration Friday, "Equality."
I am very pleased that the first picture book I am illustrating, THE CHANGE YOUR NAME STORE by Leanne Shirtliffe, has an Asian-American main character. I hope to see these numbers shift in the children's book industry.
I grew up going to pow wows and reading picture books by Gerald McDermott and Byrd Baylor. (The little girl in my illustration is a Jingle Dancer.) My grandmother, the primary picture book buyer in the family, grew up on the Menominee Reservation in Wisconsin. She taught art at the first Indian Community School in Milwaukee, where her sister, my Great Aunt Dorothy, was principal. I would LOVE to see more Native American picture books!
If this gets you inspired to write a children's book, the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SBCWI) is a great resource.