What is Canerow?

This is a place reflective of the histories, lives, experiences, and dreams of people of color.

Canerow is a resource that enables us to show our children a world that reflects the spectrum of who they are—not as tokens or on the periphery, but as central. We are committed to children of color having access to stories, literature, and media where they don’t have to look so hard to find themselves. We work to bring the best of what is out there to one place so we can share it with our children, students, families, and communities.

In Chimamande Ngozi Adiche's seminal Ted Talk "The Danger of the Single Story," she says, "Because all I had read were books in which characters were foreign, I had become convinced that books by their very nature had to have foreigners in them and had to be about things with which I could not personally identify." 

This is the experience of most children of color in the United States today. Despite the fact that people of color are 37% of the US population, we are represented in only 10% of the children’s books published. If one looks at children’s literature, their social studies and history classes, and the television shows and movies they watch, they will find few representations of people of color as central figures. We might see ourselves depicted as the best friend in a book or cartoon, on packaging in the “ethnic” section of the grocery store, or hear Martin Luther King’s famous speech about dreams once a year, by and large, children of color do not see themselves, their histories, and their experiences reflected back to them.

Why does representation matter? Because the stories we read, the images we see, the history we learn tells us what’s important and what’s not, it shapes our understanding of how the world works and what our role can be. And today literature, media, and curriculum are still dominated by white cultures and white people. We can do better for our children.