NEW BOOK SERIES Helps Fill Need for More Diversity in Children’s Literature
TOP SURGEON Creates Black Girl Super Surgeon Character with Powerful Messaging for All Kids
(FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE–May 9, 2014–Boston, MA)– Harvard-educated surgeon Dr. Oneeka Williams has joined the voices of other leaders in an online campaign launched on May 1 to promote greater diversity in children’s literature.
Dr. Williams in the author of a new children’s picture book series featuring a strong, positive, black girl super surgeon–Dr. Dee Dee Dynamo.
“I think of diversity in children's literature as akin to a healthy diet. All the food groups must be represented to achieve good nutrition–this is a basic and universal need. Similarly, children need to have diverse literary exposures in order to develop a healthy world view," states Dr. Williams, who is a practicing urologic surgeon in Boston and ranked as one of the top practitioners in her field.
The online campaign quickly went viral throughout the world. Publishers Weekly reported, “Even before the official launch time, the hashtag, #WeNeedDiverseBooks, had gone 'viral,' with 27,796 Tweets from 8,988 contributors recorded at 10:45 a.m. By 5:00 p.m., there were 46,672 tweets from 13,459 unique contributors, with 82,272,930 timeline deliveries, and with the numbers changing by the second.”
(SPECIAL NOTE: As of May 6th, 2014, the #WeNeedDiverseBooks hashtag on Twitter has garnered 87,520 posts from 23,275 unique users, with over 162 million timeline deliveries.)
The campaign was ignited by the announcement of an all-white male panel of “luminaries of children’s literature” who will be featured at Book Expo America (BEA), the leading North American annual book publishing event, which will be held in New York City May 28-31.
Declaring that “now is the time to raise our voices into a roar that can’t be ignored,” a group of 22 authors, publishers, and bloggers kicked off the three-day social media campaign “We Need Diverse Books” on May 1, to bring attention to the lack of diversity in contemporary children’s literature.
"Recently, there's been a groundswell of discontent over the lack of diversity in children's literature," say the authors, with a recent US study by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin showing that of 3,200 children's books published in 2013, only 93 were about black people, 34 about Native Americans, 69 about Asians and 57 about Latinos.
With 40% of the public school students nationwide being black and Latino, the disparity in children’s literature is very pronounced. The issue has been picked up by news outlets including the New York Times, the Guardian, CNN, the Huffington Post and NPR.
Dr. Dee Dee Dynamo’s Mission to Pluto and Dr. Dee Dee Dynamo’s Meteorite Mission were published this past year and Dr. Dee Dee Dynamo’s Saturn Surprise will be coming out this summer, with more titles to follow. The books are available in hardcover and eBook format on Amazon and other online retailers.
MORE INFO–Book information is available at www.drdeedeedynamo.com and information about Dr. Williams is available at www.droneeka.com. The official site for the “We Need Diverse Books” campaign is http://weneeddiversebooks.tumblr.com. Twitter: @diversebooks.
ABOUT THE BOOKS
Targeted age is 6 to 11. Common core aligned. Beautifully illustrated by award-winning fine artist Valerie Bouthyette. Book glossary includes science learning words. Hardcover retail price $14.95.
THE DR. DEE DEE DYNAMO BOOK SERIES IS FEATURED IN THE JUNE 2014 ISSUE OF ESSENCE MAGAZINE IN THE SECTION "TEN THINGS WE'RE TALKING ABOUT"