From Embrace Race:
A great many children love to draw. Yet, while more and more attention is paid to racial, ethnic, and other kinds of diversity in children's books, we pay little attention to diversity in children's depictions of the world. In observing our own children and talking to other guardians and educators, it seems that most kids, including kids of color, start by drawing White characters. This was true in our own childhoods and remains true today, even though children of color are fully half of all children in the US.
We think there’s a lot at stake in teaching kids to see themselves and each other across lines of race, and have invited some of our favorite picture book illustrator-writers to talk it through. Grace Lin, Oge Mora and Yuyi Morales will share their experiences as children who didn’t see people who looked like them depicted favorably or much at all in books and media. We’ll ask them what that invisibility cost them and how they came to create the images they wish they’d had as children.
We will reveal the portraits Grace, Oge and Yuyi drew of each other, share their suggestions for supporting kids to see and draw characters of color, and take questions and comments from the EmbraceRace community. Join us!
Oge Mora is a collage artist and storyteller. Her picture book, Thank You, Omu!, was a Caldecott Honor, Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award winner, and Ezra Jack Keats Book Award recipient. Her second book, Saturday won the 2020 Boston Globe—Horn Book Picture Book Award. She also recently made the Forbes 30 Under 30 2021 list in Arts & Style. Oge is a fan of all things colorful, patterned, or collaged, and enjoys creating warm stories that celebrate people coming together.
Before Grace Lin was an award-winning and NY Times bestselling author/illustrator of picturebooks, early readers and middle grade novels, she was the only Asian girl (except for her sisters) going to her elementary school in Upstate NY. That experience, good and bad, has influenced her books—including her Newbery Honor WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON, her Geisel Honor LING & TING, her National Book Finalist WHEN THE SEA TURNED TO SILVER and her Caldecott Honor A BIG MOONCAKE FOR LITTLE STAR.
Yuyi Morales is the author and illustrator of many books for children, including the New York Times bestseller Dreamers, Nino Wrestles the World, and she is a six-time winner of the Pura Belpre Medal for an outstanding work of literature for children that best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience. In 2015 she received the Caldecott Honor for her book Viva Frida.