Recap of May Event: Diversity in Publishing

Hannah Ehrlich, director of marketing and publicity at multicultural children’s book publisher Lee & Low Books, discussed the state of diversity in publishing. Using a recent study of children’s literature, she found that while the representation of diverse characters was improving, there is still a great deal of work to do in promoting equity among authors. For example, Black, Latinx and Native authors combined wrote only 7% of the new children’s books published in 2017. Hannah then discussed the results of Lee & Low’s 2015 Diversity Baseline Study, which revealed that representation of several marginalized populations is also lacking behind the scenes at publishing companies. Editorial departments are overwhelmingly white, female, straight, and non-disabled. Hannah highlighted useful institutions and initiatives that are helping to bring forward underrepresented authors and recruit and retain diverse publishing professionals. She concluded by suggesting thought-exercises and readings to challenge our perceptions and unintentional sources of bias.

An audio recording from this event are available to members in Member Resources.