Originally published in the New York Times, March 16, 2014
Where Are the People of Color in Children’s Books?
By Walter Dean Myers
Of 3,200 children’s books published in 2013, just 93 were about black people, according to a study by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin.
Reading came early to me, but I didn’t think of the words as anything special. I don’t think my stepmom thought of what she was doing as more than spending time with me in our small Harlem apartment. From my comfortable perch on her lap I watched as she moved her finger slowly across the page. She probably read at about the third grade level, but that was good enough for the True Romance magazines she read. I didn’t understand what the stories were about, what “bosom” meant or how someone’s heart could be “broken.” To me it was just the comfort of leaning against Mama and imagining the characters and what they were doing.
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