Thursday, December 13, 2018

A Very White 'How I Landed in Children's Books' in Publishers Weekly

Grateful for the inclusion of Ginee Seo, the one person of color highlighted in the PW article

Yes, the twenty-one stories shared in "How I Landed In Children's Books" vary a bit - Children's Book "Industry Veterans" telling us about the friend-of-a-friend, or the college roommate, or their college dean's friend, or responding to the ad... all fun and interesting how-I-made-that-first-connection that took them to children's books.

And yes, there's the opportunity to make a game of it, i.e., can you guess whose path included a failed CIA test?

 Brenda Bowen, Literary agent, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates

Yolanda Scott, Associate publisher, Charlesbridge Publishing

David Levithan, V-p, publisher, and editorial director, Scholastic

Cathy Goldsmith, President and publisher of Beginner Books, Random House Children’s Books

Elise Howard, Editor and publisher, Algonquin Young Readers

Abigail McAden, Associate publisher, Scholastic

Susan Van Metre, Executive editorial director, Walker Books U.S.

Jennifer Greene, Senior editor, Clarion Books

Hilary Van Dusen, Executive editor, Candlewick Press

Donna Bray, V-p and copublisher, Balzer + Bray, HarperCollins Children’s Books

Dinah Stevenson, Editor-at-large and former publisher, Clarion Books

Laura Godwin, V-p and publisher of Godwin Books, Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group

Ginee Seo, Children’s publishing director, Chronicle Books

Beverly Horowitz, Senior v-p and publisher, Delacorte Press

Charles Kochman, Editorial director, Abrams

Debra Dorfman, V-p and publisher, global licensing, brands and media, Scholastic

Liz Bicknell, Executive editorial director and associate publisher, Candlewick Press

Victoria Stapleton, Executive director of school and library marketing, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Mary Lee Donovan, Editorial director and director of editorial operations, Candlewick Press

Caroline Wells, Coordinator, desktop projects, managing editorial, HarperCollins

Kristen Pettit, Executive editor, HarperCollins Children’s Books

Yes, it's fun. And yes, these are all successful people in our industry, totally deserving of being profiled.

Yet... it's telling that out of twenty-one featured children's book industry professionals, there is only one person of color included. And, perhaps not coincidently, Ginee Seo's story was the only one that spoke of being part of a program designed to bring in promising young people to the industry.

Clearly, structured efforts to diversify children's publishing can help.

And when reporting on the industry (even in 'fun' How I Landed in Children's Publishing pieces like this one), we should be mindful that presenting children's publishing as a table with nineteen white women, one gay man, and one Asian woman sends a message that is not particularly inclusive...

And if we want to bring more diversity to our industry, we should add more chairs to that table (and more profiles to these kinds of articles), enough for editors and agents and marketing and sales people of color, people who are disabled, and  people who are LGBTQ, too.

Illustrate and Write On,

1 comment:

Debbie Reese said...

Excellent title. Calling out so much, in so many ways. Thanks.