Story books are a magical part of growing up, but the majority of books in schools only show white princesses, scientists, magicians, teachers, parents and children. I’m raising money to donate high quality books to schools where a diverse range of characters are represented and a wide range of voices are heard.
- In 2017 just 1% of children’s books published had a character that was Black, and just 4% had a character from a minority ethnic group.
- 33.1% of children in England are of minority ethnic origins, but in 2018 out of over 11,000 children’s books published, just 743 had a BAME presence.
- Out of those books with a BAME presence, over a quarter showed these characters in the background rather than centre stage.
- Many books contributing to the number of books with BAME presence represent BAME characters poorly in comparison with their white counterparts, both in illustration and character development.
This means a child at school is more likely to see a talking bear or a dragon in a story book than a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic character. Publishers are producing more books than ever that show the diverse world we live in, but progress is slow, and tight budgets mean schools can’t afford to fill their libraries with these new more diverse books. Books are incredibly powerful. I want to buy sets of books for ten schools, containing stories which all of the pupils can see themselves reflected in.
Storybooks are a way of exploring the world with young learners from the comfort and safety of their classrooms and homes. It is so important that we teach children that all identities and cultures are worth representing. Your donation will buy a beautiful book for a London school which shows quality representation for the children reading.
If you want to find out more about ethnic representation in children’s books, the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education have published reports for the last two years funded by Arts Council England. I also have a list of my personal favourites I am happy to share. Thank you for your interest in this project!