I have read around 130 middle grade fantasy and science fiction books published between October 16, 201o and October 15, 2011. 130 books were nominated for the Cybils, for which I am a first round panelist in mg sci fi/fantasy, and I've read all but 15 of them. When I add to that the books I've read that weren't nominated, I have a nice and fairly comprehensive database.
And one of the things that interests me is the extent to which kids who aren't white get shown and included in this particular genre.
These are the eight books I know of whose main characters are not of white, northern European descent, and who are shown as such on the cover. Darwen Arkwright is stretching it a bit, because he's a silhouette, but his buddy Alexandra is shown as the African American girl she is, so I let Darwen be part of this cluster.
I read two books which included non-white characters in supporting roles, and showed them on the cover.
And I read five books with non-white characters (all clearly of African ancestry, or described as having dark, or brown, skin), that showed them on the cover, but in a somewhat ambiguous way.
Edited to add: I had meant to include The Boy at the End of the World, by Greg van Eekhout, in this category, but that picture got lost in my struggle with Blogger. Here's the author talking about the portrayal of the main character on the cover. Thanks for the reminder, Doret!
Additionally, there was one book, Zinnia's Zaniness, by Lauren Baratz-Logsted, whose protagonist looked to me as though she could be Hispanic, although I didn't see any mention of ethnicity in the text.
I can think of only two other books (sadly not nominated for the Cybils...I hate it when the good ones don't make it!) that didn't have a Northern European protagonist-- Laurence Yep's City of Ice, and Jenny Nimo's The Secret Kingdom. And I cannot think of a single other important supporting character of color in a book not already mentioned, but I could easily have missed many....especially in books I was really enjoying.
It was, sadly, easy to pull this list together (apart from Blogger being difficult viz formatting). I was not tempted to say "oh goodness there are too many" and throw up my hands.
19 out of circa 130 books nominated.
Please tell me I missed lots????