Where are all the black boys? Author Varian Johnson Highlights a Persistent Gap in Children’s Literature

I took the Kate Messner’s Challenge. I ordered Varian Johnson’s book from an independent publisher. You should take the challenge too.

Young People's Pavilion

Ashley Bryan wrote a classic article called the All White World of Children’s Books, in the 1960s.
How much have things changed since then?
varian_homeAn answer comes from author Varian Johnson, who wrote in his May 15, 2013 blog entry:
Last week, author and librarian Betsy Bird posted this on Twitter: “At the risk of sounding desperate, can anyone name me just ONE middle grade novel published in 2013 starring an African-American boy?”
She later followed up with a post listing all the books published in 2013 featuring African-American boys as main characters. If I’m counting correctly, the number is somewhere around eight. Maybe ten, when you count some of the small publishers.
You have no idea how depressed this makes me feel. … There are a lot of theories why these books aren’t being published. Maybe authors aren’t writing them. Maybe editors and agents aren’t…

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