Okay, today must be blog-a-thon day. I was just sent this link. I went over, excited to see who the must-reads were, according to the Cooperative Children's Book Center (via the National Education Association). They have an impressive array of multicultural voices there including some of my favorite authors of color -- for this, let me state emphatically that I am thrilled beyond measure.
However, how is it possible that from 1990 through 2009 there is not ONE SINGLE South Asian author whose book could be listed as "one that every child should read"? How is it possible to overlook an entire demographic? One that is the second largest (quite possibly the first now) population on the planet?
I think of my fellow South Asian authors whose books I've held close because they reflected me back to myself and showed me the beauty in who I was . . . authors like Mitali Perkins, Tanuja Desai Hidier, Uma Krishnaswami, Marina Budhos, Anjali Banerjee, and a whole host of others. And I think of all the teens and children out there who are desperate to see their own reality reflected within the pages of a book that they will cherish throughout their lives, and pass along to their own children.
I am saddened and, quite frankly, stunned. Obviously, the discussion around diversity needs to continue.
Update: Yayy!! Just received a warm and wonderful email from Kathleen Horning, Director of the Cooperative Children's Book Center--the organization that compiled the original list--and she said they would update the list to include South Asian authors, and maybe make it "75 Multicultural Books Every Child Should Know"!!! It's a GREAT day. *beaming*