Artist Illustrates Dramatic Lack of Diversity in Kid’s Books

By Jason Boog Comment

Illustrator Tina Kugler created a chart highlighting a diversity problem in children’s literature. Click to enlarge her illustration.

Earlier this year, a First Book infographic showed that out of 3,600 surveyed books for kids, only 3.3 percent focused on the lives of African Americans, 2 percent on Asian Pacific Americans, 1.5 percent on Latinos and less than 1 percent about Native Americans. Kugler added this statement:

I am very pleased that the first picture book I am illustrating, The Change Your Name Store by Leanne Shirtliffe, has an Asian-American main character. I hope to see these numbers shift in the children’s book industry. I grew up going to pow wows and reading picture books by Gerald McDermott and Byrd Baylor. (The little girl in my illustration is a Jingle Dancer.) My grandmother, the primary picture book buyer in the family, grew up on the Menominee Reservation in Wisconsin. She taught art at the first Indian Community School in Milwaukee, where her sister, my Great Aunt Dorothy, was principal. I would LOVE to see more Native American picture books!