This past weekend I was with a group of children's writers and illustrators who discussed the lack of contemporary kids, who also happened to be "of color," found in children's books. The lack was particularly noticeable on the covers of books, especially those for young adults. Our discussion included mention of the marketing decision by Bloomsbury to have a "white" girl on the cover of the book Liar by Justine Larbalestier. Liar's main character is a black girl! You can read more about the Liar cover controversy on Larblestier's website.
It seems that Bloomsbury has done it again with another book, Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore. A young blogger has taken Bloomsbury to task with an "open letter" that is worth reading. The writer said, "I'm considering becoming a CEO of a publishing house and being committed to having books about people of color as well as letting my authors help pick their covers." More power to her--I hope she succeeds!
Television has gotten a little better over the years by including/featuring characters who aren't WASPs. So, why has it taken children's publishing so long to get with the program? Kids are kids. We want to see them in all colors, shapes, genders, and religions. They want to see themselves, too.