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We Need Diverse Books

We Need Diverse Books is a nonprofit organization created to promote diversity of multiple forms in children's literature and publishing. The organization's programming includes funding grants and internships for diverse authors and people interested in publishing, a mentorship program, providing lists of book recommendations for librarians, teachers, and parents on finding books with characters from marginalized backgrounds, and publishing an anthology of short stories featuring multiple authors from diverse backgrounds.[1]



We Need Diverse Books started on Twitter. Following the announcement of a panel of all-white, all-male children's authors at BookCon in 2014, Ellen Oh and other authors and publishing insiders began protesting and discussing the lack of diversity and representation in the field on Twitter using the hashtag #WeNeedDiverseBooks.[1] As the online discussion surrounding the hashtag grew, a core group of individuals decided to formally create a group to continue the movement. On July 29, 2014, We Need Diverse Books filed for incorporation as a nonprofit in Pennsylvania.[2]


Walter Dean Myers Award and GrantsEdit

The Walter Dean Myers Award for Outstanding Children's Literature (or "The Walter" for short) was created in 2014. Named after young adult author Walter Dean Myers, the award recognizes published, diverse authors who champion marginalized voices in their stories.[3] The inaugural award was given to Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely in 2016 for their book All American Boys.[4]

In addition to The Walter, We Need Diverse Books also established the Walter Dean Myers grant program open to unpublished, diverse authors.[3]

Collaboration with ScholasticEdit

In 2016, Scholastic and We Need Diverse Books announced their expanded collaboration for the 2016-2017 school year via a series of eight flyers distributed to classrooms via the Scholastic Reading Club.[5][6]

YA Short Story ContestEdit

In 2016 a program that allowed children of all ages, races, and genders to submit short stories to the company was started. To be eligible for a prize, the stories have to be 4,000 words or less, and applicants have to explain in less than 75 words how the story is diverse. The applicant must also be under 18 years of age to be considered a child and must not have published this writing prior to this contest. The contestant that wins this contest receives a $1,000 grand prize.[7]


In January 2017, We Need Diverse Books published a middle-grade anthology of short stories called Flying Lessons and Other Stories featuring a wide breadth of diverse authors and stories.[1][8]


  1. ^ a b c Charles, Ron (3 January 2017). "'We need diverse books,' they said. And now a group's dream is coming to fruition". Washington Post. Retrieved 9 January 2017. 
  2. ^ Sun, Carolyn (1 September 2014). "We Need Diverse Books Inc. formed". Library Journal. 139 (14): 20. 
  3. ^ a b Kirch, Claire (16 October 2014). "Diversity Group Announces Walter Dean Myers Award and Grants". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 9 January 2017. 
  4. ^ Kirch, Claire (20 January 2016). "Reynolds, Kiely win WNDB's debut Walter Award". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 9 January 2017. 
  5. ^ "Scholastic & We Need Diverse Books(TM) announce expanded partnership". PR Newswire. 29 February 2016. 
  6. ^ Baker, Jennifer. "We Need Diverse Books and Scholastic Inc. extend partnership on diversity flyer distribution". Forbes. Retrieved 10 January 2017. 
  7. ^ "The We Need Diverse Books YA Short Story Contest". We Need Diverse Books. Archived from the original on 4 June 2016. 
  8. ^ Begley, Sarah (19 December 2016). "A collection of tales the bind". Time Magazine. Retrieved 9 January 2017. 

External linksEdit