The latest figures from the UK’s Publishers Association reveal that children’s authors of colour published in the UK rose to 11.7% of the market in 2021, up from 8.3% just two years prior. This is a welcome sign that diversity and inclusion are becoming increasingly important considerations for publishers when selecting authors and titles for their lists.
It is also heartening to see more children’s books featuring protagonists of colour or tackling subjects related to racism, identity and prejudice published than ever before. Examples include The Colour Of Home by Mary Hoffman, Black Is A Rainbow Colour by Angela Joy, and Brown Skin Girl by Mahogany L Browne – all of which received critical acclaim in 2020/2021.
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While this progress is encouraging, more work is still needed. Publishers need to continue their commitment to publishing diverse authors and stories so that children can see themselves in the books they read. And readers of all backgrounds need to ensure they support these titles and help them find a wider audience. By doing this, we can continue to build an inclusive literature culture that reflects our modern society.
Ultimately, with continued dedication from both writers and publishers, the UK’s children’s book market will become even more vibrant and exciting as it shifts towards greater diversity and inclusion
Additionally, libraries must be supported in promoting these titles by stocking them on their shelves where possible. By doing this, they can ensure that the voices of authors of colour are heard and ,their stories are visible. This is just as important as publishers making these titles available in the first place. Furthermore, libraries can host reading groups and other events to bring readers together to discuss books by authors of colour, allowing them to engage with each other’s perspectives and learn more about different cultures. Through these initiatives, libraries can play a vital role in helping promote greater diversity and inclusion in children’s literature.
Ultimately, if we all work together – from writers to publishers to librarians – we can create an inclusive literary culture that celebrates diverse identities and reflections of our modern society. That way, all children can read stories that apply to their lives. This progress will create a more just and equitable literary environment for everyone.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments! Have you read any of the books mentioned above? What did you think of them? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
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