Naomi V. Dunsen-White is a children's book author who loves to inspire and encourage children to use their imagination and interests to discover their potential. She uses her experience as an educator and foster care specialist and mom to write educational children’s books that focus on diversity, self-discovery and self-determination.
Naomi has always been a book lover! She believes that encouraging children to become book lovers is one of the greatest opportunities a person could have. She also believes that all children have a gift within, just waiting to be discovered. It's up to us, the adults in their lives, to help them discover it. The joy of reading is the first step toward discovery!
Naomi has a passion for closing the diversity gap in the children’s literature industry and believes that all children deserve to have books with characters who look like themselves. When children don't see representation of people who look like them, they may struggle with acknowledging their own value, importance and place in the world they see portrayed in their books. ALL children need to see each other in order to learn to respect and appreciate people from all cultures and backgrounds and understand that they ALL belong; they ALL matter.
As an African American woman, it's important to Naomi that Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) characters are featured and positively represented in books. Motivating her to self-publish her debut book, “Johari The Great,” were the grim statistics published by the Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC) which has conducted research and provided yearly statistics on diversity in children's books in the United States since 1994.
As of 2021, Characters of Color in children's books released by major U.S. publishers continue to lag behind by a large margin. Independent BIPOC authors, like Naomi, continue to make strides, but overall progress is slow. They are determined to make a difference.
DIVERSITY STATISTICS - 2021* (main characters in children's books)
White, animals and objects: 66%
Black/African American: 14%
Indigenous American: 2%
Arab American: 1%
Pacific Islander -1%
*Data on books by and about Black, Indigenous, People of Color published for children and teens compiled by the Cooperative Children's Book Center, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison.