Arts Council England (ACE) has launched research into the level of inclusion and representation of people from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds in children’s literature.
Working with Sheffield Hallam University, ACE is conducting a survey for those working in the sector, and is particularly interested in hearing from people who may be able to influence, or who have experience of the barriers and enablers to achieving greater diversity across the sector.
Sarah Crown, director of literature at ACE, said: “There is reliable recent evidence that children’s literature does not adequately reflect the diversity of twenty-first century Britain. Black and minority ethnic writers and illustrators are particularly under-represented and there are far too few ethnically diverse characters in children’s books. Every child should be able to see themselves and stories they recognise in the books that they read, and the creators of those books can be powerful role models – inspiring children to read for pleasure and to write creatively. Books can also play an important role in children developing understanding of other people and the wider world in which they live. This research aims to explore the barriers and enablers to diversity in children’s literature, to help bring about positive change across the sector.”
The closing date for the survey is Friday 26th April.
Recent research has explored the inclusion of characters from BME backgrounds and the representation of BME authors and illustrators in children’s literature.
Last year a report from the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) showed that only 1% of children’s books published in the UK in 2017 had a BAME main character.