When it comes to children literacy my heart has a special place dedicated to the awareness my mother has strived to make in many communities. I learned from her first had the importance of reading to our kids. This is why I am so excited to participate yet again in the L4LL’s Día Blog Hop.
For L4LL’s 2nd annual blog hop, 24 authors/illustrators were paired with 24 Latina Bloggers.
I am happy to introduce author Talia Aikens-Nuñez. I love Talia’s journey of becoming a writer and being inspired by the birth of her children to write multicultural books! Talia shares her thoughts on multicultural literature and how parents must make the change!
There have been numerous articles written by the New York Times and Publishers Weekly, to name a couple publications, about the need for multicultural literature. But, these calls are falling on deaf ears, as the statistics from the University of Madison-Wisconsin Coopertive Children’s Books Centre show. In 2013, less than 3% of children’s books were about black people, just 57 books out of 3200 children’s books written were about Latinos, 69 about Asians and 34 about American Indians. These numbers have fallen since they started to compile the statistics in 1985.
The main reason I started writing children’s books is because I became a mother of multicultural children. Perfect beautiful brown faces (I am their mother…of course I think they are perfect) like theirs were difficult to find in children’s books. And, it was even more difficult to find books with universal topics, not books that address differences like hair, skin color, food and culture. Those books are great and definitely needed but I was looking for ‘first experience’ books and general topic books with a multicultural main character. Dora, Diego, Doc McStuffins and ‘Sofia the First’ are great but I wanted to round out their libraries with less commercial literature.
So, I started writing.
I got a literary agent and she did submissions. My stories were met by rejection after rejection. One rejection truly saddened me: “As much as I am passionate about bilingual books and Latino literature, [large publishing house] doesn’t seem to do a good job of selling it.” I do not fault the editor. The editor was simply being honest.
I fault us. We have to demand more. We have to buy more books with multicultural main characters! We have to tell our friends to buy these books! We need to push our schools to request multicultural literature and incorporate it into the curriculum. We need to push our school book fairs to carry multicultural literature. WE have the control and WE need to exercise it!
There are some publishers that understand the need for multicultural literature like Pinwheel Books and Musa Publishing. They published two multicultural stories I wrote, OMG…Am I a Witch?! and Escucha Means Listen. But, WE, as consumers, need to make more publishers listen!
Talia Aikens-Nuñez wanted to be a meteorologist, a politician and a lawyer. She never thought she would be a writer. It was the birth of her daughter that caused her to start writing. Raising a bilingual child inspired Talia to write multicultural children’s books. Talia’s family loves nature so much that she and her husband vowed that they will always try to live close to water. She, her husband, daughter and son live on a river in Connecticut. Read more: http://talia-aikens-nunez.vpweb.com/
Multicultural Children Books by Talia Aikens-Nuñez
OMG… Am I a Witch?!
April Appleton is so annoyed at her older brother that she searches the Internet for a spell to turn him into a dog. When the spell works, April realizes she has more powers than she ever dreamed of! Now she has to figure out how to turn him back to normal before her parents find out. She has little time, but with help from her friends Grace and Eve she finds a book of magic that will hopefully reverse the spell. Will it work, and will April’s newfound magic save the day?
Escucha Means Listen
From the mowing of the lawn to the splish-splashing of rain puddles, Talia Aikens-Nuñez’s bilingual picture book Escucha Means Listen introduces toddlers and babies to the sweet sounds around them.
Take a journey through the world—just listening. Escucha Means Listen helps children discover sounds around them in English and Spanish.
Mil Gracias L4LL and Talia for the opportunity to spread awareness for children literacy! I look forward to adding Talia’s books to my children’s library! Stay tuned for the next featured author/illustrator over on L4LL blog and be sure to read previous post!