Diverse kids' stories are missing
This Pulitzer Prize-winning author is committed to diversifying the choices on shelves at public libraries, schools and bookstores. “Children’s literature is this incredibly dangerous and damaging reservoir of unreality,” author Junot Díaz said on “Salon Talks.” The New York Times best-selling author who centered his novels “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” “This Is How You Lose Her” and “Drown” around coming-of-age stories has branched out into children’s books to fill the void of authors of color, who wrote only six percent of books in the genre in 2016, according to a study by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center.
Díaz’s new children’s book “Islandborn,” illustrated by Leo Espinosa, centers around the immigrant experience and the story of how a girl named Lola discovers her family roots. “Most children learn the most about their expectations of the world is when they read kids’ books,” Díaz said. “If they’re reading kids' books where it’s all white, they’re getting some delusions.”Watch the interview above to learn why Díaz’s own upbringing is part of the reason why he is committed to writing for kids. And check out the full interview to hear more about his plans for a second kids’ book and his take on banned books. Tune into SalonTV's live shows, "Salon Talks" and "Salon Stage", daily at noon ET / 9 a.m. PT and 4 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. PT, streaming live on Salon, Facebook and Periscope.