I recently helped plan and facilitate a “Place at the Table” conversation sponsored by Children’s Book Council and Children’s Books Boston as part of Children’s Book Week. Below are the questions that I posed to the librarians, publishing professionals, educators and booksellers who attended. The conversations were rich and I would love to continue them virtually. Feel free to add your thoughts to this important dialogue about inclusion.
1. Why is it important that children have access to books with diversity content (ability, age, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic class)?
2. What are the barriers for diversity books that may prevent them from getting into reader’s hands?
3. What are some solutions, strategies, or conversations to help shift the barriers to getting these books into the hands of children? (Think about your industry.)
4. Who has access to power in your field? Which voices are denied access? Why?
5. How can we educate the gatekeepers in your industry? Or what do they need to know or believe to create bookshelves that reflect our population?
6. How can your industry promote and reward excellence as it pertains to inclusive literature?
And stay tuned to learn about some of the action steps people committed to taking to create change in their spheres of influence.