School of Education News

New York Times Magazine utilizes CCBC research in report on Jacqueline Woodson’s efforts to diversity publishing

September 26, 2019

The New York Times Magazine recently profiled award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson and her efforts to transform children’s literature and diversify publishing.

As the report explains: At 56, Woodson is already the author of 21 novels, 13 picture books and one memoir, publishing a title nearly every year since 1990. She has won countless major literary awards, some in multiples. When she first began publishing books, the industry was considerably whiter, from the people who made the books to the characters inside them. Many credit Woodson herself with helping to change that, at least incrementally.”

The New York Times Magazine report utilizes the research of UW-Madison’s Cooperative Children’s Book Center, housed within the School of Education, to spotlight the dearth of books from black authors and illustrators.

The magazine explains: “In 1985, of the estimated 2,500 children’s books published in the United States, only 18 were by black authors or illustrators, according to research by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Last year, of the 3,653 books submitted to the CCBC, 202 were by African or African-American writers and illustrators — a notable but imperfect improvement. There were many factors in this change, but many in the industry will tell you that Woodson’s decades of writing are among them.”

“She has just set a standard for herself and for others,” Kathleen T. Horning, the director of the CCBC, tells The New York Times magazine for the report. “I think when kids read her books, they feel like it’s somebody who isn’t making the world seem different from how it is.”

To learn much more about Woodson and this important topic, check out the entire New York Times Magazine report, headlined: “Jacqueline Woodson Transformed Children’s Literature. Now She’s Writing for Herself,” via this web page.

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