Is There Diversity in Publishing?

Is There Diversity in Publishing?

By Megan Habel , Jan 9th 2018

Diversity in Publishing

We're recognizing those who strive to create diversity in publishing.

It's no surprise that the publishing industry suffers from a lack of diversity. The groundbreaking 2015 Diversity Baseline Survey from Lee & Low Books reports that nearly 80% of the industry is caucasian. Though these results have since sparked new movements on inclusion in the industry, there is still a long way to go. Many publishers and organizations have made great strides towards advocating for more diversity in publishing — through internships, committees, and other programs. Below, we're highlighting a few publishers and organizations that are doing an exceptional job, as well as a few of their most popular books for schools, districts, and literacy programs.

One World

One World is an imprint of Random House, a division of the publishing giant Penguin Random House. As stated on the Random House website, it's "a home for authors who seek to challenge the status quo, subvert dominant narratives, and give us new language to understand our past, present, and future. [The] writers represent voices from across the spectrum of humanity telling critical, universally important, and compelling stories about a changing world." Led by successful editor Chris Jackson, One World continues to provide a growing list of National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning books.

Read One World's latest publication:

We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates

We Were Eight Years in Power


HarperCollins is a global superpower in the world of publishing. They strive to ensure that their employees and authors accurately represent the diverse cultures that shape the world we live in. Over their 200 years in business, they have published works by distinguished authors, including Martin Luther King Jr. and Zora Neale Hurston, that have spanned the political, social, racial, and religious spectrum. They also look to building a diverse future with various internship programs and support of literacy programs.

Discover award-winning HarperCollins titles that celebrate diversity:

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

Inside Out and Back Again

Monster by Walter Dean Myers


Lee & Low Books

Lee & Low Books is the largest multicultural children's book publisher in the country. Since 1991, they have made it their mission to publish "contemporary diverse stories that all children can enjoy" and pledged to make a special effort to work with unpublished authors and illustrators of color. In years following, they have established award programs to celebrate authors of color, launched a Diversity in Publishing Internship, been recognized for multiple publishing awards, and published a variety of studies (including the Diversity Baseline Survey cited in the beginning of this post).

Here are some great titles from Lee & Low Books:

In Daddy's Arms I Am Tall: African Americans Celebrating Fathers by Javaka Steptoe

In Daddy's Arms I Am Tall

El sombrero del tío Nacho / Uncle Nacho's Hat by Harriet Rohmer

Uncle Nacho's Hat

People of Color in Publishing

Founded in July of 2017, People of Color in Publishing is a grassroots organization "dedicated to supporting, empowering, and uplifting racially and ethnically marginalized members throughout the industry". They advocate for people of color in the publishing industry, whether they hold jobs in publishing houses or are authors looking to become published. Since its conception, People of Color in Publishing has held events, webinars, and programs to foster career development for minority publishing professionals. To date, they have over 470 members, who participate in five subcommittees.

We Need Diverse Books

We Need Diverse Books is a non-profit organization advocating for essential changes in the publishing industry by putting more books featuring diverse characters in the hands of children. Over the years, We Need Diverse Books has implemented book awards, grants, internship and mentorship programs, an app that helps users discover diverse books, and many other initiatives to promote diversity in publishing.

More suggested titles:

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

The Crossover

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give


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This post was written by Megan Habel, the marketing associate at BookPal. She is currently reading The Power of Moments by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.

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