CILIP, the library and information association, is going to promote diverse and inclusive children’s literature via a new magazine, Pen&inc.
The first edition of Pen&inc launches today (2nd May) with information about 450 titles, submitted by publishers ranging from Egmont and Hachette Children’s Books to Lantana Publishing, Tiny Owl and Otter-Barry Books.
It will feature interviews with Catherine Johnson and Aisha Bushby, and a poem by Nyanda Foday, former Young Poet Laureate for Birmingham, and articles about publishers and academics such as Aimée Felone and Dr Melanie Ramdarshan Bold. The front cover features a piece of artwork from Yu Rong, who won the Quentin Blake Award for Narrative Illustration.
The magazine will be released twice a year and distributed for free to 1,500 bookshops, 150 library services and 10,000 individual librarians and library organisations.
Editor Rob Green said: “Giving children of all backgrounds the chance to read about characters like themselves gives them the confidence to seek out more books; the confidence to say ‘yes, reading is for me’. Too many children are falling out of love with reading for pleasure - a lack of representation is surely part of the problem. But we can all be part of the solution.
“This magazine provides a platform dedicated to those stories and characters that reflect a broader range of backgrounds - race, religion, gender, sexuality, disability. It’s not about worthy books, it’s not about diversity quotas - it’s just about great books.”
CILIP is funding the magazine through adverts and enhanced listings, where publishers pay for their books to be featured, but Green was keen to stress that all publishers will be offered the chance to see their diverse and inclusive books listed for free. “We want all publishers, regardless of size, to have their books included,” he said.
The magazine was launched at an event tonight (Thursday 2nd May) at CLPE’s Literacy Library in Lambeth, presented by Konnie Huq, TV presenter and author of the upcoming Cookie and the Most Annoying Boy in the World (Piccadilly Press, out in August).