children's literature

Crayon Crunch

Think about some of the classics of children’s literature. There’s Where the Wild Things Are...Goodnight Moon...and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Those are just a few books that have shaped the lives of many Americans. What do all these books have in common? They’re all about white people. And what do most children’s books have in common? They’re almost all about white people. Actually, just 10% of children's books published in the last 21 years are about people of color.  But a Berkeley-based children’s book company called Crayon Crunch wants to help change that. They’re publishing a book where parents and children can pick what the main character looks like. But what do kids think of having characters who look like them? And can one book really change the diversity problems in an entire publishing industry? 

Interview with children's author Stacey Lee

Jul 13, 2015
Photo courtesy staceyhlee.com

When she was a child, author Stacey Lee wanted to read stories about more people like her. She’s a fourth-generation Chinese-American whose ancestors came to California during the heyday of the cowboys. Her new young adult novel, Under a Painted Sky, is about a Chinese girl and an African-American girl traveling the Oregon Trail together, disguised as boys. They’re trying to get to California during the gold rush. 

On the next Your Call, we’ll mark the 75th anniversary of Dr. Seuss’s first children’s book by talking about classic kids books, and the remarkable children’s literature being written right now.  Why are the bonds we make with those special children’s books so powerful?  And when stories like The Lorax head to the big screen – or the iPad -- how does the magic of a grown-up reading to a kid change? 

Guests:

Carla Kozak, children’s librarian at San Francisco Public Library.