Booklists, Books, Library | September 3, 2020

Lantana Publishing Brings Inclusive Children’s Books to Readers Around the World

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For far too long, children’s books that feature diverse characters were hard to come by. That has changed significantly in the last few years. Publishers like Lantana Publishing are spearheading the way.

Stories are instrumental in developing a child’s imagination, inspiring their empathy, and empowering them to do extraordinary things. But in order for stories to truly resonate with any reader, it’s important that the reader can see themselves in the stories they read. 

Unfortunately, children of color, children with non-traditional family structures, and children with disabilities do not often see themselves in the books they read. Although half of all children in the US are non-white, only 23% of children’s books published in the US in 2018 had non-white protagonists. In the UK, fewer than 5% of books have non-white characters; nowhere near representational of the one-third of children in the UK who are Asian, Black, or other minority ethnic. This lack of representation does not reflect the diverse world we live in. 

Diverse characters are essential. They allow children from marginalized groups to see themselves and have a voice. Diverse characters also inspire children to understand and accept those who are different from them, and eventually become drivers of social change. 

In 2020, these books are ever more crucial to helping our children navigate the world. Books about race and inclusivity have encouraged children to think about the role of race in their society. Books about the coronavirus have inspired children to stay resilient and patient in uncertain times. 

“Because all children deserve to see themselves in the books they read,”

reads the tagline of Lantana Publishing, displayed in big, bold letters on their homepage. And their collection of books stays true to this mission statement. 

Their books are turning the tide in children’s publishing. In a world where 80% of staff and authors in children’s publishing are white, Lantana Publishing ensures that its creators come from backgrounds that are as diverse as their library by amplifying the voices of underrepresented and marginalized authors and illustrators. 

Our partnership with Lantana Publishing brings 12 diverse e-books to your fingertips through our BookSmart app. 

At Worldreader, we partner with publishers all around the world to create an inclusive and accessible digital library for all. Thanks to publishers like Lantana Publishing, we are able to promote both affordable and inclusive learning. 

Through their books, your child could travel to northwestern Kenya and meet Etabo, an aspiring camel racer and the protagonist in The Wooden Camel. Or, your child could go to Malaysia and meet Kaya, the brave and joyful girl who is the star of Kaya’s Heart Song. Twelve books of their inclusive collection are now available for free through Worldreader’s BookSmart app. 

To start reading, go to our BookSmart app here. You can also access our library of books via the Opera Mini browser. The low bandwidth required on the Opera Mini browser means that readers use less data when accessing the app.

Note: not all books from Lantana Publishing are available on BookSmart in every region. 

We thank Lantana Publishing for their contribution to Worldreader’s digital library. To support their work, you may buy physical books from their website. For each book purchased, Lantana Publishing will donate a book to a child in need. To support Worldreader, donate here.