From Multicultural Children’s Book Day: Creators Empowering STEM Diversity in Multicultural Books
From the #ownvoices to #readyourworld to specific trends like #WomeninSTEM, book creators and readers are hungry for the production and consumption of diverse literature.
As an author and an educator myself of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math or STEM publications, I have found that especially in the nonfiction children’s book world our biggest challenge may be us as creatives. We shape not only the words, illustrations but the accolades around diverse literature. We have the power to do so much more in driving that diversity, especially in the creation of STEM works. I am sharing four observations for creators of books, whether you are a writer, illustrator, reviewer or publisher, and even a reader to consider.
STEM Diversity in Multicultural Books
Diversity is NOT monolithic. Look up or ask a reader, publisher or another author how they define diversity and you will be surprised at the spectrum of answers. In the book world, research, readers and creators have focused on what the characters look like, #representation matters.
We as creators need to ensure that our characters embody the cultural nuances, from language, beliefs, abilities, gender, and age, beyond just how they appear. All of these shape experiences and connections with our readers. My point, it is not enough to just have a diverse character on the page, but we must authentically tell or share their story.
Not all scientists are dead or old. It may seem obvious and don’t get me wrong, I love all the recognition and push for nonfiction children’s books autobiographies (I have written one myself). But I keep asking who are the scientists of today? We forget about #ActualLivingScientists.
As a young reader, don’t you want to know who is leading efforts to revitalize our coral reefs or creating the spacesuits that will fit our women astronauts? Our readers need to see that it is not always just “ancient” scientists making discoveries and shaping our future.