The Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) has updated its annual Diversity Statistics to include data on the 3,450 books for children and teens received by the CCBC that were published in 2022.*
The CCBC has been documenting books for children and teens it receives annually by and about Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) since 1994. Between 1985 and 1993, the CCBC documented books by and about Black people only.
In 2018, the CCBC began to document additional aspects of identity in its analysis, including disability, LGBTQ+, and religion.
This year’s statistics show the continuation of some positive trends. After a long period of relative stagnancy, the number of children’s books the CCBC received by BIPOC authors and illustrators and about BIPOC characters began to increase starting around 2015. By 2020 — only five years later — the number of books the CCBC received that were by or about a person of color had tripled.
“This is encouraging and, if this trend continues, we may soon see a world in which publishing for children and teens consistently reflects the rich diversity of perspectives and experiences within and across race and culture,” says CCBC Director Tessa Michaelson Schmidt.
In 2022, 40 percent (1,364) of the books the CCBC received were by a person of color, having at least one creator (e.g., author, illustrator, or compiler) who is BIPOC. This includes 18 percent (634 books) that had at least one Asian creator, 13 percent (462) that had at least one Black creator, and 11 percent (371) that had at least one Latine creator. By comparison, 71 percent (2,448) of the books the CCBC received had at least one white creator.
In addition, 46 percent (1,574) of the books the CCBC documented in 2022 have significant BIPOC content, and 39 percent (1,362) have at least one BIPOC primary character.
The CCBC has also noted that in recent years it is seeing more books that reflect the multifaceted complexity of individual lives when it comes to identity — for example, books in which characters are multiracial/multiethnic; that reveal intersectional identities; or that portray other aspects of identity, interest, and experience beyond race and ethnicity.
The complexities of identity are considered in how the CCBC staff approach this work, a welcome challenge as books increasingly reflect the complex identities of children, teens, and families today. In addition, the increasing numbers of diverse books has resulted in their greater visibility in libraries and classrooms, and in the lives of children and teens.
“For the librarians, teachers, parents, and other adults that care for children, this means they can find outstanding books to recommend to young readers and listeners that reflect dimensions of their lives, and give a broader understanding of who we are as a nation,” says Schmidt.
The CCBC’s annual Diversity Statistics focus on quantity, not quality. But CCBC staff note that there have been excellent diverse books across the decades. In the center’s annual CCBC Choices best-of-the-year list, there are a wide range of diverse titles highlighted for every year.
The Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) is a unique examination, study, and research library of the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. The CCBC is also funded by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction through the Division for Libraries and Technology.
*The statistics about books by and/or about Black, Indigenous and people of color are periodically updated online.