Mon, Mar 24, 2014 -- 10:00 AM

People of Color Underrepresented in Children's Books

Download audio (MP3)

Getty Images
Getty Images

Ethnic diversity is on the rise in the U.S. So why are children's books still so white? Only about 6 percent of kids' books published in 2013 feature characters that are African-American, Latino, Asian or Native American. We take up the discussion with authors, illustrators and librarians. Does the ethnicity of characters in children's books matter to you?

Host: Mina Kim


  • Christopher Myers, illustrator of children's books including "Harlem" and "Black Cat"
  • Kathleen Horning, director of the Cooperative Children's Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's School of Education
  • LeUyen Pham, illustrator of children's books including "Grace for President," "Freckleface Strawberry" and "Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural Disasters"
  • Mitali Perkins, author of "Rickshaw Girl," "Monsoon Summer" and "The Not-So-Star-Spangled Life of Sunita Sen"
  • Nina Lindsay, supervising librarian for children's services at the Oakland Public Library, former judge on the Newbery Award selection committee

More info:

Guests' Recommendations for Books Featuring People of Color

Nina Lindsay's Picks:

Rain by Linda Ashman, with illustrations by Christian Robinson

Niño Wrestles the World by Yuyi Morales

The Thing About Luck Cynthia Kadohata

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

Honey I Love by Eloise Greenfield

Chickadee by  Louise Erdrich

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin


Mitali Perkin's Picks:

More, More, More, Said the Baby: Three Love Stories by Vera B. Williams (picture book)

Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis (middle grades)

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (Young Adult)


LeUyen Pham's List:

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, illustrated by Ellen Forney

Peter's Chair by Ezra Jack Keats

Become a KQED sponsor

Audio Archive

Episodes by Date

Calendar is loading...

Be a Part of Forum

Follow us on Twitter

Twitter bird in blue

Stay updated on show topics, relevant articles, and easily submit your questions.

Subscribe to Forum


Subscribe to Forum's podcast and you'll automatically get each new episode when it becomes available. You'll never miss out!