Monday, 1 September 2014

Does the face of Children's Literature need to change?

Are there too many white faces in Children's Literature? What do you think?

How many non-white Children's Books editors are there in the UK? I'm almost sure there aren't any in Ireland.

How many books produced in the last five years in Ireland and the UK are by authors from culturally different backgrounds?

What is the white/non-white ratio of authors/illustrators in Ireland and the UK?

What do you think cultural diversity is?

Do you think Children's Literature is culturally diverse?
Should an emphasis be on cultural diversity at all?

What was the last culturally diverse book you read?

Do you think the books you write/illustrate or promote, fairly represent society as it is?

How many publishing houses actually have children's best interests at heart and advertise the fact in their manifesto? We hear about ethically sound production for example...

Why is it that almost all other areas of marketing have embraced people of colour but children's literature seems so far behind?

How often do you see non-white children on the covers of books in bookshop windows?

How often do we see animal characters in books?

How many authors/illustrators actually include people from other cultures in their books in an inclusive non-token way? Try and think of ten authors who have done this successfully.

How many books produced in the past five years have a black protagonist?

Think of a children's book with a Muslim character in it.  

Name a black protagonist in a children's book.

If you were going to do a reading/presentation to a group of culturally mixed children, what book would you choose and why?

How many books were self-published by people from other cultures because major publishing houses turned them down?

Try and think of five children's books which are the equivalent to Sesame Street i.e: culturally diverse and inclusive.

Take a look at your own bookshelves, what decisions did you make buying those books and how many authors from other cultures feature in the line up?

Cast your mind back to your own childhood. Did you notice children from other backgrounds in the text/illustrations?

What were your favourite books and why?

When and where did you last see a person of colour promoting a children's book?

If you have children or are in contact with them, please ask them these questions and see if your answers differ from theirs.

The Oxford readers are sold in 130 different countries. Their success is due to inclusion.