Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Why not this book?

I love Karen Katz's board books. The faces are always big and bright, making them very appealing to little ones. When I show a Karen Katz book 8 out of 10 times the customer will get the book especially if its a lift flap . What Does Baby Say?: A Lift-the-Flap Book by Karen Katz. So I am always disappointed but not surprised when customers choose I'm a Big Brother by Joanna Cole over Best ever Big Brother. Same holds true for Big Sister version. Both have a black family on cover. Inside the books feature different families. I think Katz's Big Brother/Big Sister books (they're lift flap) are as cute as her other board books that customers decide to buy 8 out of 10 times. It makes me think that some customers decide against these books because its not a white family on the cover. Its okay if there is a black family inside the book, but not the cover. When a customer decides to go with something else, I always want to ask is it because the cover family is black? Like I said before this disappoints me though I can totally understand. Its nice to see yourself reflected in the books you read, and you want to pass this on to your children. It helps foster high self esteem (I haven't done any research on that point, but it sounds right). However, We (black folks) don't have this luxury. We (black folks) have accepted that white faces will fill a lot of our picture books. We (black folks) stopped expecting picture book diversity along time ago. I am not talking about shopping @ a black bookstore or online. I am talking about US (black folks) being able to go to our area bookstore and see beautiful brown babies on board books and pictures books and it be no big deal. When I was thinking about this earlier today I thought of a John Travolta movie I saw years ago. All I remembered was that his daughter really wanted the black doll, it was the coveted doll. This world doesn't appeal to me either, its too extreme. All I want is a little book equality.

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