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Top 15 of 2015: The Looks inside Books (9)

December 22, 2015
Melanie Koss

Melanie Koss

Current headlines are bursting at the seams with stories of police officers charged with the murders of black teens, a presidential candidate calling to ban Muslims from coming to the United States and college campuses alive with protests over racism.

Before the melting pot began to boil over, NIU literacy education professor Melanie Koss released her study that found U.S. children’s picture books continue to show predominantly white characters.

The imbalance – still an issue 50 years after Nancy Larrick’s landmark “The All-White World of Children’s Books” was published Sept. 11, 1965, in the Saturday Review – spurs young readers of color to feel that they do not matter or even that “to be white is to be better.”

“People want to read about themselves. But if you never see yourself in a book, what does that tell you about how you are valued? You’re not,” Koss says. “We still have a long way to go.”