The need for diversity in children’s books
Diversity is a highly relevant topic in every area of life, but it’s something that has historically been very much overlooked in children’s literature. Whilst it’s something that’s definitely changing, it’s still fairly rare for a mainstream book to feature a prominent character from a minority background. One of my friends who has mixed raced children told me that she has to actively seek out BAME characters in books to give her children an inclusive experience, and they’re often not easy to find. When over a third of primary school aged children in the UK are from BAME backgrounds, this feels like it’s dramatically out of sync. There are some fantastic books being released which address race and are specifically targeting children from BAME backgrounds but, whilst that’s undoubtedly extremely important, I feel that all children need to be seeing characters of different races in all sorts of contexts, not just those stories that are specifically targeted to BAME children or are addressing diversity directly. There’s definitely a lot more work that can be done and the more that subjects like this are discussed, the quicker the changes will start to happen. I hope that in my character, Dillon, children from any background can find a genuine, kind and courageous character that they can relate to and be inspired by.
If you are looking for books that specifically celebrate diversity, there are some great books out there. Check out https://www.theschoolrun.com/best-childrens-books-by-bame-authors