A Market-Driven Solution to the Need for Diverse Books

Nicola Yoon tweetLast week, hundreds of thousands of parents, educators and readers of all ages issued a call for more diversity in children’s literature, rallying under the banner of #WeNeedDiverseBooks. The campaign spread quickly from Twitter to media outlets around the world as people shared powerful stories about the need for all children to see themselves in books.

Today First Book is answering the call with a market-driven solution addressing the lack of diversity in children’s literature.

Children from all walks of life need to see themselves – and others – in the stories they read. So First Book – a nonprofit social enterprise that provides new books to kids in need – has reached out to U.S. and Canadian publishers and asked to see more books from new and underrepresented voices.

But we understand that publishers won’t print what they can’t sell, so First Book is putting our money where our mouth is and pledging to purchase 10,000 copies of every title we select.

Once published, the titles will be available to children everywhere.

The Lack of Diversity in Children's Books

In addition to helping bring these new voices to the children in our national network of schools and programs and to bookshelves everywhere, First Book will also fund, for the first time ever, affordable paperback editions of diverse titles that have previously only been publicly available in expensive hardcover formats.

Although we’re excited about the attention this critical issue has been receiving lately, our commitment isn’t new. Today’s announcement is part of First Book’s Stories for All Project, our ongoing efforts to increase the diversity in children’s books.

Join us in helping all children see themselves – and others – in the stories they read.

Click here to sign up for occasional email messages about The Stories for All Project and other First Book news.

Click here to download a PDF copy of the ‘Request for Proposals’ that First Book issued to publishers.

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Posted in Inside First Book
2 comments on “A Market-Driven Solution to the Need for Diverse Books
  1. Mike Jung says:

    Thank you, First Book, for stepping up in such admirable style! This is astonishing, and altogether wonderful.

  2. I heard Kyle’s interview this morning on NPR which led me to the website and this great blog. All of it was an incredible revelation. I’m working with an organization in Philadelphia called the West Philadelphia Alliance for Children (WePAC). For the past six years, we’ve gone into public elementary schools to open, staff and resources their previously shuttered libraries. We’re now in 12 schools and I’m helping them during their leadership transition. I’m also a writer (columnist and advertising) but have always lamented the lack of diversity in the stories we share with our children. I hope to work with you in this important initiative.