I've been running a series of social media posts throughout April featuring graphs, charts, and statistics regarding guests on The Children's Book podcast. Using the hashtag #knowyourpodcast my goal has been to shed light on how accurately my guest list over the past year on the podcast aligns with my goals and values on the show.
I've recently launched a Patreon page as a means of giving listeners an outlet where you can choose, if you'd like, to directly back the podcast. In even proposing such a request I felt it important to lay all of my cards out on the table, as it were.
PART 1 of the graphs reviewed general information about the podcast including listenership, number of episodes, and the most requested guest for the show.
In PART 2 I break down the presence of women through the guest list and across book formats.
Before we begin, I want to recognize my use of binary gender labels in the graphs below. All of my guests from the start of the podcast until now (April 2018) have been cisgender guests, I welcome authors and illustrators who identify as nonbinary, but have not yet interviewed any individual who identifies as such.
In the early years of the podcast I didn't give much thought to how gender was represented across the podcast guest list, though I've tended to interview more female guests than male (with 2015 being the exception).
Interestingly, I seem to divide my focus almost equally between male and female authors and illustrators of picture books. In general I'd like to see women represented as around 70-75% of my guests. Picture books are an area I need to work on.
Though I do not interview many middle grade authors, the ratio of female guests to male over the past year suggests a healthy balance of both.
And I interview even fewer YA authors, so this may more be a result of the authors of the books my friends are most likely to recommend to me versus any sort of conscious decision I was making.
I'm always a bit disappointed that I don't represent graphic novels more than I do on the show (and I'm working to improve on that), but I think it's particularly important to be interviewing more female cartoonist. After all, I want my students (especially my 5th grade girls) to see themselves in this possibility of telling stories through comics.
These women represent some really outstanding books, but I'm a bit disappointed that this list only contains one person of color. A number of factors go into making a popular episode including how recognizable the guest might be, how much people are talking about the featured book already, and how much the episode gets promoted over social media. These episodes resonated most closely with listeners at the time of running the numbers.
I love asking you, the listeners, who you'd like to hear on the show. It's a chance for me to find out about new books, talented authors and illustrators, and sometimes you and I are on exactly the same page. I don't know LeUyen Pham personally, though we did meet very briefly at a librarian conference a few years ago, but, like many, I've been a fan for many, many years. I hope to have her on an upcoming show soon.
And I'll leave you with this final slide calling to light the percentage of guests in the past year or so representing women, broken down further to women of color and Indigenous or First Nation women writers. This is probably one of the most useful charts of the series for me because it so effectively (and quite literally) illustrates the room I have to grow in regards to representation of women and women of color on the podcast.
Thanks again for going on this journey with me.