Media, art, entertainment–whether mass produced, or self-funded–are the very vehicles in which we look for our stories, our lives, and ourselves. As NYC teacher and children’s author Torrey Maldonado puts it, books are mirrors, and when we don’t see ourselves reflected in the mirror, how do we develop a sense of self? A way to grow and improve?

It is for these very reasons that he exhorts all of us to demand change in the publishing industry. Audiences are more diverse than ever, and yet, the industry turns a blind eye. And for Torrey, who teaches young children every day in the classroom, not only is it a financial imperative for the industry to sit up and take notice, it is a social one–because these children need to start seeing their stories and their lives reflected back.

Voted a Top 10 Latino Author and best Middle Grade and Young Adult novelist for Black readers, Maldonado was recently honored as a top teacher by NYC’s schools Chancellor. His work builds youth into caring multidimensional citizens. Praised for its timeless feel, his acclaimed novel, Secret Saturdays, made states’ reading lists and is assigned alongside classics and in anti-bullying initiatives. His forthcoming works also are inspired ... View Profile