[Library Media] Fwd: Multicultural children's book awards

Juan Lee jtlee at utah.gov
Thu Mar 14 11:13:58 MDT 2013

Subject: Multicultural children's book awards


[image: Media Decoder - Behind the Scenes, Between the
**March 10, 2013, 6:26 pm**3
2 Awards Given to Promote Multicultural Children’s Books By LESLIE
A month ago a nonprofit called First Book, which promotes literacy among
children in low-income communities, announced the Stories for All project,
a program intended to prod publishers to print more multicultural books.
Kyle Zimmer, First Book’s chief executive, says that part of the motivation
was the “chasm” between the number of people who want such books and what
is available.

On Wednesday, First Book will announce that awards of $500,000 will go to
two publishers for their proposals for the project: HarperCollins, the big
publishing house owned by News
and Lee & Low, a minority-owned independent publisher.

In a 2012 study <http://www.education.wisc.edu/ccbc/books/pcstats.asp>, the
Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
evaluated some 3,600 books, looking for multicultural content. Of the books
examined, 3.3 percent were found to be about African-Americans, 2.1 percent
were about Asian-Pacific Americans, 1.5 percent were about Latinos and 0.6
percent were about American Indians.

Some 24 publishers responded to the competition, Ms. Zimmer said, and First
Book felt that the submissions were so good that it decided to give two
awards, instead of one. As part of the arrangement, First Book will add
nearly 500 new books to an online store for purchase at a low cost by its
member organizations, which all serve children in low-income communities.

Money for the grants comes from donations and the proceeds of sales by
First Book to its members.

Ms. Zimmer said that because of the short lead time for the competition,
not all of the books submitted were by new or minority authors. She said
those would follow as the award and related market became better known,
likening this phase to the first step in a marathon.

First Book serves people whose incomes are in the bottom third of
Americans. It says that while there is great interest within low-income
communities for high-quality books featuring diverse characters and
cultures, publishers have not served them well because they are unsure of
the market. Ms. Zimmer said that in challenging economic times, publishers
“make very conservative decisions and revert to market strategies that have
served them historically, but the problem is that they are missing the
larger market.”

First Book argues that it is in a position to cater to that larger market
and make it a force. In the last year, it has grown from roughly 23,000
member organizations, including schools, churches and shelters, to more
than 50,000.
A version of this article appeared in print on 03/11/2013, on page B4 of
the NewYork edition with the headline: 2 Awards for Multicultural Books.

*Lisa A. Mitten*
*Social Sciences Review Editor - Anthropology, History, Sociology, Geography
*Choice** Magazine, **American Library Association*
*575 Main Street, Suite 300*
*Middletown, CT  06457*
*860-347-6933  x122   **Fax:  860-704-0465*
 *mohawk6nations at yahoo.com**   **
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