Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Zig's F&Gs

Yoohoo!  F+G's came today!  (Folded & Gathered.)  Zig looks very good.  I feel great.  Also, in the package, the Penguin catalog for January to April 2015.  Zig will be out in March.  Still over 6 months to go!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Diverse Children

Reviewed the spot images of school visit page on web site.  Feels good.  (Drawings were from a project that never found a publisher.  As it happens with so many projects.)  Eventually need to replace a couple of images on portfolio but need to create some good horizontal pieces for that.  

Sunday, August 10, 2014

About Diversity

On Friday, I received an e-mail from a reader of my very fist book WHEELS ON THE BUS.  A thought-provoking e-mail about the lack of diversity in children's books.  Thank you to Ariane and her daughter for voicing their concern.  Here is our exchange: 

Ms. Kantorovitz,

My daughter and I recently read (well, sang) the Wheels on the Bus book from the Raffi Songs to Read series that you illustrated, and while my daughter and I liked your drawings very much, I was appalled by the fact that in the entire beautifully detailed town there is not one person of color - any color, really - included.  That kind of oversight (hopefully unintentionally) communicates a message of exclusion to little kids who read the book and don't see anyone in an entire town who looks like them or their family. 

On your website I noticed your portfolio only had one little brown girl featured. I truly hope that you'll consider incorporating more diversity into your art for children in the future. Below is a link to an article about the importance of diversity in children's books.

Thank you for your consideration,
Ariane Corcoran

Dear Ariane,

Thank you for your very thoughtful note.

I am glad that you enjoyed the illustrations of WHEELS ON THE BUS.  I totally agree with you that children of all colors need to be incorporated in children's literature. 

WHEELS ON THE BUS was my very first assignment.  I was 26, and had lived in the US for only a few months.   I chose a little French town for the setting of WHEELS because that is what felt natural at the time.  I grew up in small French towns which were very white. In fact, as the only Jewish kid in class, I often felt like an outsider myself.  So I do understand your concern.  I am not offering this as an excuse but as an explanation.  I believe I would handle the assignment totally differently, were I to do it again, some 27 years later.

As far as my website is concerned, I am glad you brought this oversight to my attention.  I will soon include drawings I have of children of various ethnicity. 

The notion of inclusion is one of importance.  Among my colleagues, this is a notion we often discuss.

Please give a hug to your daughter from me.  I hope she will enjoy the little drawing I pasted above.  It is from an project that has not found a willing publisher.  

With all my best,

P.S.  Would you mind very much if I posted your letter with my answer on my blog?