Showing posts sorted by relevance for query ccbc. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query ccbc. Sort by date Show all posts

Thursday, February 23, 2017

A Close Look at CCBC's 2016 Data on Books By/About American Indians/First Nations

Eds. note: See AICL's list for 2016

On February 15, 2017, Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC) at the University of Wisconsin released its statistics on the numbers of children's books by/about American Indians/First Nations and People of Color during the year 2016. 

This is vitally important work that CCBC has been doing for many years. Two important things to know about these statistics (I am not critical of CCBC at all in noting these two things; doing some of this work myself, I know how very hard it is to do, to get books, and then to categorize/analyze them).

The data is based on books that are sent to them. Small publishers generally cannot afford to send books out to review journals, bloggers, or centers like CCBC. That means books by small publishers who do great books by/about Native peoples may not be included in the data. It also means, however, that books by small publishers (or self published books) who do stereotypical books by Native people may not be included.

The data is statistical. It is a count. It is not about the quality of the books on the list. To see what they recommend, see CCBC Choices. 

CCBC sent me the log of Native books for their 2016 counts. For the last few years I have been taking a close look at their log, focusing on fiction (as tagged by CCBC; books tagged as picture books are not included in this list) published by US publishers. Here's what I see. 

Books in blue font are ones I recommend. 
Books in red font are ones I do not recommend.
Books in bold are from "Big Five" publishers.
Book in plain, black font are ones I have not read, with one exception (I have mixed feelings about Alexie's book.)

Fiction, US Publishers (books in bold are by one of the Big Five publishers)

Here's the list of fiction written by Native people (N = 4):
  • Bruchac, Joseph. The Long Run. 7th Generation
  • Bruchac, Joseph. Talking Leaves. Dial/Penguin
  • Erdrich, Louise. Makoons. HarperCollins
  • Smelcer, John. Stealing Indians. Leapfrog Press (Note: Smelcer's claim to Native identity is contested)

Now here's the books on the CCBC list, by writers who are not Native (N = 17):
  • Abbott, E. F. Mary Jemison: Native American Captive. Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan
  • Carson, Rae. Like a River Glorious. Greenwillow/HarperCollins
  • Flanagan, John. Brotherband: The Ghostface. Penguin
  • Flood, Nancy Bo. Soldier Sister Fly Home. Charlesbridge
  • Heacox, Kim. Jimmy Bluefeather. Alaska Northwest Books
  • Hitchcock, Bonnie Sue. The Smell of Other People's Houses. Wendy Lamb/Penguin
  • Inglis, Lucy. Crow Mountain. Scholastic
  • Harrison, Margot. The Killer in Me. Hyperion/Hachette Book Group
  • Lewis, Ali. Timber Creek Station. Carolrhoda Lab
  • MacColl, Michaela. The Lost Ones. Calkins/Highlights
  • Mann, J. Albert. Scar: A Revolutionary War Tale. Calkins/Highlights
  • Massena, Ed. Wandmaker. Scholastic
  • Oppel, Kenneth. Every Hidden Thing. Simon and Schuster
  • Patel, Sonia. Rani Patel in Full Effect. Cinco Puntos Press
  • Reeve, Kirk. Sun Father Corn Mother. Sun Stone Press  
  • Stokes, Jonathan. Addison Cooke and the Treasure of the Incas. Philomel/Penguin
  • Velasquez, Crystal. Circle of Lies (Hunters of Chaos, Bk 2). Aladdin/Simon and Schuster

Who publishes what?
In 2016, the Big Five published two Native writers (Bruchac and Erdrich). Of those two, I've read and recommend Makoons. Bruchac's book is out for review.

In 2016, the Big Five published eight non-Native writers (Abbott, Carson, Flanagan, Hitchcock, Harrison, Oppel, Stokes, and Velasquez). Of those eight, I've read and do not recommend Carson, Hitchcock, and Harrison (not all reviews are online yet). I also do not recommend some of the non-Native books from small publishers: Flood, MacColl, Mann, Massena (not all reviews are online yet).

A comparison between 2015 and 2016

Books by Native writers............................3......................4............              
Books by Non-Native writers....................7.....................17...........

From US publishers, there were 10 in 2015. For 2016, it is 21. That is a huge change, but it is due to non-Native writers. Of the 17, I've read eight and found all of them lacking in some way. What will I find if I read the other nine? Based on experience, I'm not optimistic. Ernie Cox, at Reading While White, reviewed Abbott's book about Mary Jemison. I trust his review. I think it would end up on my not recommended list.

There's more to do, in terms of analyzing CCBC's data. That's what I've got, for now.


Update, Feb 23 2017, 10:20 AM -- back to list titles in fiction/Canada, and picture books in US and Canada. 

Fiction, Canadian Publishers. (Note: none in either category are by Big Five publishers.)

Native Writers (N = 2):
  • Currie, Susan. The Mask That Sang. Second Story Press
  • McLay, R. K. The Rahtrum Chronicles. Fifth House

Non-Native Writers (N = 4)

  • Bass, Karen. The Hill. Pajama Press
  • Koner, Miriam. Yellow Dog. Red Deer Press
  • Ouriou, Susan. Nathan. Red Deer Press
  • Richardson, Eve. Saving Stevie. Red Deer Press

It is interesting that there are not any books from the Big Five. The Big Five are in Canada, too, with "Canada" tagged on.

For example, Robbie Robertson's Testimony is published by Knopf Canada, which is part of Penguin Random House Canada. It is non-fiction, by the way, and it isn't meant for children. It came out in 2016. My guess is that it wasn't sent to CCBC. Robertson is Native. Another example is Joseph Boyden's Three Day Road. It is published by Penguin Canada. It came out in 2008, in the adult market, but is assigned to high school students. Boyden is not Native.


Picture books, US Publishers:

Native writers (N = 2):

  • Alexie, Sherman; illustrated by Yuji Morales. Thunder Boy Jr. Little Brown
  • Connally, Judy Shi, and Lawana Tomlinson Dansby; illustrated by Norma Howard. My Choctaw Roots. Choctaw Print Services.

Non-Native writers (N = 3)

  • Burton, Jeffrey; illustrated by Sanja Rescek. The Itsy Bitsy Pilgrim. Little Simon
  • Lai, Trevor. Tomo Explores the World. 
  • Marshall, Linda Elovitz; illustrated by Elisa Chavarri. Rainbow Weaver = Tejedora del acoiris. Children's Book Press/Lee & Low.


Picture books, Canadian Publishers (none in either category are by Big Five publishers)

Native writers (N = 9)
  • Avingaq, Susan and Maren Vsetula; illustated by Charlene Chua. Fishing with Grandma. Inhabit Media
  • Baker, Darryl; illustrated by Qin Leng. Kamik Joins the Pack. Inhabit Media
  • Dupuis, Jenny Kay (and Kathy Kacer); illustrated by Gillian Newland. I Am Not A Number. Second Story Press
  • Highway, Tomson; illustrated by Julie Flett. Dragonfly Kites/Pimithaagansa. Fifth House
  • Kalluk, Celina; illustrated by Alexandria Neonakis. Sweetest Kulu. Inhabit Media
  • Mike, Nadia; illustrated by Charlene Chua. Leah's Mustache Party. Inhabit Media.
  • Robertson, David Alexander; illustrated by Julie Flett. When We Were Alone. Highwater Press
  • Smith, Monique Gray; illustrated by Julie Flett. My Heart Fills With Happiness. Orca
  • Van Camp, Richard; illustrated by Julie Flett. We Sang You Home. Orca.

Non-Native writers (N = 1)
  • Currie, Robin; illustrated by Phyllis Saroff. Tuktuk: Tundra Tale. Arbordale

Monday, March 17, 2014

2013 CCBC Data on Fiction by/about American Indians - US Publishers

I studied the 2013 list of books received by the Cooperative Center for Children's Books (CCBC) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that CCBC lists as being by/about American Indians/First Nations/Latin America.

CCBC is careful to note that the list means nothing about quality. It is just a tally of books they received. In total, the list they shared with me has 34 books on it. I am going to analyze the books on the list. I am grateful to CCBC for sending me the list, and I'm grateful to them for compiling this data every year. This is the first year I'm doing this analysis.

To start with, I am limiting my analysis of the list to works of fiction published by U.S. publishers, which means 13 books (I am excluding Little Red Riding Boots, which is on the CCBC list for its illustrator; the book itself has no cultural content specific to American Indians).


The "Big Five" publishing houses and/or their imprints published four works of fiction. None of them are by Native writers.

I do not recommend Ghost Hawk by Susan Cooper or Crazy Horse: Brave Warrior by Ann Hood because there is a great deal of stereotyping in both. From the way the Native characters behave to the way they speak... stereotyping. Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (Simon and Schuster)

I do not recommend Salt: A Story of Friendship in a Time of War by Helen Frost because I find it problematic to look for Indian people, make friends with them, and report that they asked you to write a book about them. And then, that book turns out to be a not-plausible work of historical fiction where White people and Indian people, before and after intense war, were friends. Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Macmillan)

I do not recommend Written in Stone by Rosanne Parry, partly became she writes at length of "Chief Lelooska" and the Lelooska Foundation which perform and stereotype rather than educate, and, she sends her young readers to Lelooska, too. Though she taught children at the Quinault school, Parry's book echoes stereotype rather than reality. Publisher: Random House.

The fourth book is Bo at Ballard Creek by Kirkpatrick Hill. Set in a gold mining camp in Alaska, the author tells us it is from her memories of living in a mining camp when she was a child. At her site, she says "Gold rushes are inherently sexy, with lots of wild, death-defying activity, over-the-top characters, and some dazzling rags-to-riches stories." It fails in the same way that Locomotive did. It celebrates something that has a very dark side to it, with that dark side having a negative impact on Indigenous people. Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (Macmillan)

These writers meant well. Each one of them has written about their motivation for writing these books. Each one, however, approached the project from a well-intentioned, but ultimately flawed, desire to tell a Native story, from a Native perspective (the exception is Bo at Ballard Creek, which does not take a Native perspective). To varying degrees, they are the white person so enchanted by our spirit or culture, or so infuriated by how we and our Nations are treated historically and in literature, that they decided to write these stories. Many readers--reading from that same position--feel very moved or inspired by their motivation and their books. There are others, however, who do not feel that same inspiration. Some (like me) are often more than a little irked that we keep getting books by white writers who just recycle stereotypes and biased stories. It plays to the mainstream expectation of what Native peoples are supposed to be, but that expectation is so far from what Native and non-Native readers ought to get, especially in books for young people.


Nine works of fiction by smaller publishing houses are on the CCBC list for 2014. One is by a writer who is not Native; eight are by Native writers.

The one by a writer who is not Native is Rob Owen's Spy Boy, Cheyenne, and 96 Crayons. It is published by Pelican Press. I am not able to get a copy of it and can't say anything about it.

The other eight? I recommend them. They don't stereotype. As far as my research has determined, they don't err with cultural material.

Joseph Bruchac's Killer of Enemies is published by Tu Books of Lee and Low. It is a post apocalyptic story with a female protagonist named Lozen who is a descendent of a noted Chiricahua Apache woman.

Art Coulson's The Creator's Game: A Story of Baaga'adowe/Lacrosse, published by the Minnesota Historical Press, is about Travis, a present-day boy sixth-grade Ojibwe boy who is getting started as a lacrosse player.

Eric Gansworth If I Ever Get Out of Here is one of my all-time favorites. I highly recommend it. No stereotyping in it. No romanticizing of a Native identity or history in it, and no performance of a not-legit Native identity, either. Elsewhere on AICL I've written about it, so won't go on and on here. It is by Arthur A. Levine Books (an imprint of Scholastic).

Gary Robinson's Little Brother of War, published by 7th Generation, is about a present-day Choctaw boy who thinks he's not an athlete like his big brother who was killed in Iraq. At a Choctaw gathering he finds himself playing stickball (a traditional game known as Little Brother of War), at which he excels.

Tim Tingle's How I Became a Ghost is published by Road Runner Press. It is set on the Trail of Tears, but in Tingle's deft storytelling voice, the story is more about the humanity and perseverance of the Choctaw people than the tragedy of removal.

Tingle's Danny Blackgoat: Navajo Prisoner is published by 7th Generation. This is the only book of Tingle's in which he writes outside of his own people (Choctaw). Though his storytelling skills are present, it doesn't have the depth that his Choctaw stories do. Even so, it is far more commendable than Cooper, Hood, Frost, Parry, or Hill.

Richard Van Camp's Little You, published by Orca, is a delightful board book celebrating a child's birth and childhood. Coupled with art by Metis artist Julie Flett, this book is gorgeous.

Richard Wagamese's Him Standing, published by Orca, is not--in my view--meant for young adult readers who are at the younger end of that scale (the range of YA is 12-18). A very dark thriller, the protagonist in Wagamese's book is 20 and living with his girlfriend.


The comparison between the two sets of books is lopsided in terms of quality. Really lopsided. The problematic books from the Big Five are doing well in the marketplace, which is no surprise. They have the marketing force of a major publisher, and, the stories cater to mainstream expectations of what stories about Native people will be about, and that's too bad! How are we going to get that depiction off of center stage?

My answer is:

1) Reject those problematic books. Tell others what is wrong with them.

2) Buy and recommend books that provide readers with stories that accurately present Native characters and culture. Tell others about them.

Bottom line of my analysis? Of the 13 books that I was able to read, I recommend 8 of them.

On March 16th, 2014, The New York Times ran an opinion piece by former children's literature ambassador, Walter Dean Myers. Titled "Where are the People of Color in Children's Books?", Myers pointed to the CCBC data. Of the 3,200 children's books published in 2014, 93 were about black people. I'm curious about the 93 books. What genre? What quality?

In 2013, CCBC received 34 about American Indians. In the analysis above, I looked only at fiction by US publishers. I have not yet looked at fiction by Canadian publishers, and nonfiction by US or Canadian publishers. Here's the numerical breakdown of that:

Fiction - US publishers = 14
Fiction - Canadian publishers = 8
Nonfiction - US publishers = 7
Nonfiction - Canadian publishers = 3

In 2013, CCBC reports that:

5000 books were published
3200 of those 5000 were sent to CCBC
13 of them were works of fiction about American Indians/First Nations/Latin America

Of those 13 works of fiction, American Indians in Children's Literature (AICL) recommends eight. As a society, we need those eight works of fiction in every school and public library, and in every classroom. Buy them. Booktalk them. Promote them every chance you get.

We need to buy those eight works of fiction so that the publishers and editors who worked on them will be encouraged to seek out additional manuscripts by those writers.

We need to thank editors like Cheryl Klein who worked with Eric Gansworth on If I Ever Get Out of Here, and Jeanne Devlin who worked with Tim Tingle on How I Became A Ghost, and Stacy Whitman who worked with Joseph Bruchac on Killer of Enemies for the care they took in bringing those books to us.

We thank those individuals by buying the books. 

By buying more than one copy of the books.  

*On April 10, 2016, I edited this post. Though Scholastic is a major publisher, it is not considered to be one of the Big Houses.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

A Close Look at CCBC's 2015 Data on Books By/About American Indians/First Nations

On February 23, the Cooperative Children's Book Center at the University of Wisconsin released its statistics on the numbers of children's books by/about American Indians/First Nations and People of Color during the year 2015. Their data is based on books that are sent to them. It is raw data that does not address the quality of the books themselves. This data is important and I'm very glad they collect it. I use it in my work.

In 2015, CCBC estimates that they received about 3,400 books. Dr. Sarah Park Dahlen at St. Catherine University, working with illustrator David Huyck, Molly Beth Griffin, and several others (including me), created a graphic that depicts the CCBC data for 2015. Kudos to Sarah for getting it done. David Huyck's idea--to reflect the percentages by different sized mirrors--is excellent. Including animals, trucks, etc., is also excellent because it tells us that there are more books about animals, trucks, etc. than about any individual demographic. That's deeply troubling.

As of this writing (Thursday, September 15, 2016), the graphic has gone viral. It is being widely shared across social media. I'm very glad to see that, but I'm also seeing lots of assumptions about the data itself. My post today is a close look at the data specific to Native peoples and my attempt to look closely at that 0.9% on the graphic.

Earlier this year, CCBC sent me the list of books on their American Indian Log (it includes First Nations, Latin America, Pacific Islands, and New Zealand). There are a lot of ways to analyze their list. I may do more with the list in another post, but for now, I'm focusing on fiction (according to CCBC's tags) published by US publishers.

Fiction, US publishers:

Here's the list of fiction written or illustrated by Native people (titles in blue are ones that AICL has recommended, here or elsewhere; titles in black have not been reviewed)
  • Bruchac, Joseph. Trail of the Dead. Published by Tu Books/Lee and Low (Apache)
  • Bruchac, Joseph. Walking Two Worlds. Published by 7th Generation (Iroquois)
  • Robertson, Robbie. Hiawatha and the Peacemaker. Published by Abrams Books for Young Readers. (Mohawk)

Now here's the books on the CCBC list, by writers and illustrators who are not Native (titles in red are ones that AICL reviewed here or elsewhere and did not recommend; titles in black have not been reviewed)
  • Bowman, Erin. Vengeance Road. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. (Apache)
  • Johnston, E. K. Prairie Fire. Published by Carolrhoda/Lerner. (Haida and Tseshaht)
  • Osborne, Mary Pope. Shadow of the Shark. Published by Random House. (Maya)
  • Rose, Caroline Starr. Blue Birds. Published by Penguin/Putnam. (Tribal nation not specified)
  • Shepherd, Megan. The Cage. Published by Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins. (Maori)
  • Velasquez, Crystal. Hunters of Chaos. Published by Aladdin/Simon and Schuster. (Mayan and Navajo)
  • Voelkel, J & P. The Jaguar Stones: The Lost City. Published by EgmontUSA. (Maya)

Who publishes what?
In 2015, the Big Five publishers did not publish Native writers. Over half of the books the Big Five published misrepresent and/or stereotype Native peoples. As I found in the 2013 data set, Native writers get published by smaller publishers.

What does that mean?
If teachers/librarians wanted to get all 11 of the fiction from US publishers on the 2015 CCBC list, they'd likely have a harder time getting those from the smaller publishers because those aren't stocked in stores like ones from the major publishers. Given the poor quality in the books from the Big Five, children will most easily see problematic depictions of Native people.

Is there a focus on one Native people?
Yes. There are 3 books with content specific to the Mayan people. I think that's interesting because this sample is US publishers. We might expect that, in sum, we'd see them publishing books about US tribal nations, but, no! It is very hard to make generalizations based on such a tiny set of data, but what do you think?

What settings (chronologically) get published?
There are 11 books. Some are straight up historical fiction (Blue Birds). Several, like Shadow of the Shark are hard to categorize because there's time travel. I think this sample is not large enough to make any definitive statements about setting, but what do you see? What observations might you make?

The bottom line:

The Native child in the new graphic is holding a very small mirror. 

When you take a close look at the quality of the books that could be mirroring her in some way, what she gets is, primarily, distortions. 

This post was updated on September 16 to correct an error. Patty Loew's book was incorrectly listed in the CCBC log as fiction. It is nonfiction and has therefore been removed from the list of books by small publishers, above. 

Friday, March 15, 2019

A First Look at CCBC Data for 2018: Books published in the U.S.

A few days ago, the CCBC released data for the 3,703 books published in 2018 that they received.

I asked for a copy of the list of the books they placed on the Native American log. There are 59 books on it. Their list has some overlap with the books I receive or purchase for review on AICL. I have some books they don't, and vice versa. (Update on Saturday March 16: CCBC provides a chart of books published in the US. There, you see that they counted 25 books by Native writers. My information below is about 16 books. Reasons for the difference are at the bottom of this post.) 

I've spent time looking over their log and sorting the books into categories that help me make some observations.

Today's post is about the books published in the US. I am using the categories that CCBC uses: picture book, fiction, nonfiction.

Books by a Native writer/illustrator of a Native nation in the U.S. (Total = 16)

Picture Books = 3
  • Bowwow Powwow
  • We Are Grateful
  • First Laugh: Welcome Baby!

Fiction = 7
  • Sasquatch and the Muckleshoot
  • Two Roads
  • Give Me Some Truth
  • Apple in the Middle
  • Hearts Unbroken
  • When A Ghost Talks, Listen
  • A Name Earned

Nonfiction (biography and traditional stories) = 6
  • Chester Nez and the Unbreakable Code
  • Unstoppable: How Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team Defeated Army
  • How Raven Got His Crooked Nose: An Alaskan Dena'ina Fable
  • Raven and the Tide Lady
  • Raven Makes the Aleutians
  • Raven Loses His Nose

Who published the 16 books?
  • Two are published by a "Big Five" publishing house (Dutton/Penguin Random House, and Dial/Penguin). 
  • Fourteen are from small publishers (Minnesota Historical Society, Charlesbridge, Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic, North Dakota State University Press, Candlewick, RoadRunner, 7th Generation, Albert Whitman, Capstone, Alaska Northwest, and Sealaska Heritage.)

Books by a non-Native writer/illustrator with content about a Native nation in the U.S. (Total = 12)

Picture Books = 1
  • Tomo: Adventures in Counting

Fiction = 7
  • Willa of the Wood
  • Code Word Courage
  • Squirm
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
  • Island War
  • Love, Penelope
  • Outlaws of Time: The Last of the Lost Boys

Nonfiction = 4
  • Jackson Sundown: Native American Bronco Buster
  • Secrets of American History: World War I, Fearless Flyers, Dazzle Painters, and Code Talkers
  • Of Dust and Blood: The Battle at Little Big Horn
  • Stories in the Clouds: Weather Science and Mythology from Around the World

Who published the 12 books?
  • Five are published by a "Big Five" publishing house (Macmillan, Disney/Hyperion, Knopf/Random House, HarperCollins, Simon Spotlight/Simon and Schuster).
  • Seven are from small publishers (Scholastic, Manga Classics, Holiday House, Abrams, Pelican, NBM, Whitecap).

Let's compare:
.17% of books by Native writers are published by Big Five publishers
.42% of books by non-Native writers are published by Big Five publishers

Said another way, the Big Five publishers published 7 books with Native content. Two are by a Native writer; the other 5 are not. The reason this is important is that Big Five publishers have more money to promote a book. This may mean that your library is likely to have more books about Native people than books by Native people, even though the CCBC list has more books by Native writers than non-Native writers on their list this year.

This post is only about the numbers of books published--not the quality of the books. In past years, books by non-Native writers, published by the Big Five had serious problems of bias or stereotyping. Of the five by non-Native writers published by the Big Five this year, I know for certain that Willa of the Wood and Squirm have serious problems and the Tomo books I've seen from past years also had serious problems. It is likely, then, that 3 of the 5 books from the Big Five are ones that misrepresent readers with respect to Native peoples. 


*CCBC lists four books by a writer whose name is unfamiliar to me: Jennifer Oxley. CCBC lists Oxley as being white/African American/Cherokee. She is not an enrolled citizen of any of the three federally recognized Cherokee nations. Until I learn a bit more about her, I will not count her books. Oxley is a filmmaker. The four books are spin offs from the Peg + Cat series and the Melia & Joe series on public television.)

Books by Native writers that I did not include in my analysis are:

  • Jamie is Jamie: A Book about Being Yourself and Playing Your Way; author's identity includes a nation that is not in the U.S.
  • A Day With Yayah; it came out in 2017 in Canada.
  • Welcome to Country: A Traditional Aboriginal Ceremony; author and book are Indigenous to Australia
That leaves 2 books. I've written to CCBC to see what the two might be. They might be books published by Orca, which is located in Canada and the US.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Books by and about American Indians: 2008

The Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison publishes CCBC Choices each year. It includes statistical data about numbers of books written by authors of color.

The information I share below is from "Thoughts on Publishing in 2008" by Kathleen T. Horning, Merri V. Lindgren, Tessa Michaelson, and Megan Schliesman. It was originally published in CCBC Choices 2009. I encourage you to become a Friend of the CCBC, which includes a copy of Choices.

In 2008, CCBC received 40 books that featured American Indian themes, topics, or characters. Of those 40, nine were created by American Indian authors and/or illustrators.

Here's two paragraphs from the essay, in the section titled "Multicultural Writing (and Illustrating, Too!)":

Louise Erdrich continued her chronicle of nineteenth-century American Indian experience in The Porcupine Year, which picks up the story of the Ojibwe girl Omakayas, last seen in The Game of Silence (HarperCollins, 2005). Now forced to leave their home, Omakayas’s family is on the move in a story based in part on Erdrich’s own family history. Joseph Bruchac, the most prolific Native author for children and teens, was inspired by family history to research and write what became March Toward the Thunder, about an Abenaki boy serving in the Union army during the Civil War. Nicola Campbell’s picture book Shin-chi’s Canoe looks at Native boarding schools through the a story of a boy enduring his first year away from home.

Horning, Lindgren, Michaelson and Schliesman note that few new picture books that show contemporary children of color were published. They write:
In fact, the only 2008 picture book featuring a contemporary American Indian child that we documented here at the CCBC was Niwechihaw=I Help, a bilingual (Cree/English) book published by Groundwood Books / House of Anansi Press. The Littlest Sled Dog (Orca) features a dog rather than a child or children but does offer a glimpse of a contemporary Inuit village. And The Drum Calls Softly (Red Deer Press) is a bilingual (Cree/English) picture book in the voice of a child who might be contemporary or from the past, although the stunning illustrations by Native artist Jim Poitras (Cree, Salteaux, and Métis) have a historical sensibility.

On October 24, 2008, I posted a table of data from CCBC specific to books by and about American Indians. It covered 2002 through 2007. I'm reposting that table here, adding 2008 statistics to the table.

Year---Number of bks---About Amer Ind---By Native writer

Friday, January 12, 2007

Books by and about American Indians: 2005

Each year, the Cooperative Children's Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison publishes an important year-in-review booklet called CCBC Choices. The essay from CCBC Choices 2006 is available on line. Below is an excerpt from the essay.

When CCBC Choices 2007 comes out, what will it tell us about books published in 2006 by and about American Indians? Will CCBC be able to say there were more than 4 books created by Native authors and/or illustrators? I hope so. Here's the excerpt from the CCBC article, "Publishing in 2005."

CCBC Statistics in 2005

Of the nearly 3,000 titles we received at the CCBC in 2005, we documented the following with regard to books by and about people of color:

• 34 books featured American Indian themes, topics, or characters. Of these, only 4 were created by individuals identified as American Indian authors and/or artists. Nine additional Native writers were featured in a single short story collection.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Books by and about American Indians: 2007

According to the Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC) at the University of Wisconsin...

In 2007, approximately 5000 children's books were published. CCBC received approximately 3000 books for review. Here are stats:

Forty-four of the 3000 books they received were about American Indians. Of those 44, 6 were written by Native authors. Looking at stats they compile by year:

Year---Number of bks---About Amer Ind---By Native writer

If you go here you can see stats I laid out above, and stats for other groups, too: African/African Americans, Asian Pacific/Asian Pacific Americans, and Latinos.

One of the publications you can get from CCBC is CCBC Choices. You get it by becoming a Friend of the CCBC. In the 2007 essay (included in the 2007 CCBC Choices) is this:

These statistics represent only quantity, not quality or authenticity. Additionally, a significant number—well over half—of the books about each broad racial/ethnic grouping are formulaic books offering profiles of various countries around the world.

The statistics, of course, tell only one part of the story. Throughout the year, it wasn’t the numbers but individual books that made a profound impact on us— compelling, vivid works that represent some of the finest creative output of authors and artists in 2007: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie...

As readers of this blog know, I've written about Alexie's book several times. It's a huge hit and is being used in literature classes across the country, from high schools to universities.