The Multiracial Population Is Growing, But Kid Lit Isn’t Keeping Up


“The multiracial population is undeniably growing. According to the 2010 United States Census, nine million people marked more than one race. In fact, the multiracial population grew by 32 percent since 2000, in contrast to the nine percent growth of the population marking a single race. Using the language of the U.S. Census, “interracial or interethnic” families grew by 28 percent. However, the Children’s Cooperative Book Center released the statistic that of the books published in 2013, a mere 253 out of 3,200 were about children of color. I look at these statistics and wonder how many of these 253 books feature protagonists who might fall into more than one of the categories used—African-American, American-Indian, Pacific Islander/Asian-American, or Latino. I suspect very few.

…The time has long passed for our children’s literature to develop more complex and realistic representations of race. Our kids’ books need to represent the biracial or multiracial experience, and not only in black and white. Multiracial characters do not need to have one white parent—they can be Native American and Latino, for example, or Asian-American and African-American.”

"Monica Brown ( is the author of more than a dozen picture books, including “Tito Puente: Mambo King/Rey del mambo” (HarperCollins) and the award-winning “Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match/no combina” (Lee & Low).”

The Multiracial Population Is Growing, But Kid Lit Isn’t Keeping Up

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The Sleepcoat League

Armchair anthropologist, sometime scribe, freelance philosopher, amateur artist, part-time poet, musical maven, alliteration aficionado.

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