Children's/YA Book Awards: A Demographic Survey

Most of you know I'm teaching a Jan Term course called "Race, Culture, and Power in Children's/YA Stories" at Saint Mary's College in California. In class today students researched and compiled statistics about 12 children's/YA book awards (13 books) NOT restricted by the race of the author or illustrator. We included the National Book Award, Newbery, Caldecott, Printz, and other major awards.

GENDER: In 2012, 10 protagonists were male, while 4 were female (one book had two main characters). Meanwhile, 6 authors/illustrators were women (about half). So, to generalize, last year's award-winning books were mostly about boys, but created almost equally by men and women.

RACE: In 2012, 9 protagonists were white, while 4 protagonists were not (2 African American, 1 Middle Eastern, 1 Japanese). Meanwhile 10 authors/illustrators were white, while 3 were not (2 African American, 1 Middle Eastern). So, to generalize, last year's award-winning books were mostly about white people and created by white people.

Still, remember that according to the 2010 census, 63% of the US population is non-Hispanic white, 16% Latino/Hispanic, 12% Black, 6% Asian, and 3% more than one race.

Once again, we find a dearth of Latino/Hispanic main characters. Other thoughts?


David Lubar said…
One other factor that gets discussed fairly often around awards season is that while the male/female distribution for authors is about 50/50, there is a feeling that the ratio of published books by male and female authors is skewed highly toward female authors, and thus the awards still have a bias for male authors. I have no position on this, but thought I'd toss it into the conversation.
Ms. Yingling said…
I'm having a hard time finding any books at all about Hispanic characters, much less award winners. In fact, characters that are not middle class Caucasian have to really be sought.
Thanks for posting this. It's frustrating that it continues to be so low on the horizon for many people. Keep talking!