America's Poor White Children

The four words in this blog post title might read like an ironic oxymoron, but they aren't:
A fact sheet released today by the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) shows that, contrary to some common stereotypes about America's poor, at least one-third of the 13 million children living in poverty are white.
How I wish those four words ("children living in poverty") were beyond oxymoronic so that nobody could ever again link them in a sentence.

We talk a lot about race on the Fire Escape, but rarely mention class. Now I'm wondering how poor or working-class North American children are represented in the world of books. Not very well, because most published authors haven't experienced poverty firsthand, and when it comes to class, we dwell in the wide, comfortable place called "middle." That's why I recently wrote a note of thanks on Laurie Halse Anderson's Facebook page:
Just listened to Prom on a long drive to Saratoga Springs and back to Boston ... the actor did such a great job staying true to each of the characters. Thanks for writing a story featuring a hero with a "normal" voice; I grow tired of hyper-intelligent suburban protagonists with upper middle class tenured parents.
If one of my novels ever makes it to audio, please, oh please let Katherine Kellgren read it. The nuances of accent and class are the main benefit I gain from a well-made audio book, and Ms. Kellgren's voices were mesmerizing. Wonder if she can go desi and sound like my Mom ...