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Tiny Owl’s campaign for more visibility for diverse books continues!

Children from BAME backgrounds aren’t seeing themselves reflected in the books they read. We launched our campaign Diversity Now! to try and change this. So far we’ve had fantastic responses from author Elizabeth Laird and illustrator Jackie Morris. For our newest interview we spoke to the author and critic Nicolette Jones to get her perspective on the issue.

Nicolette Jones

We asked:

“32% of school children are BAME, but according to Reflecting Realities survey only 1% of the children’s books published in the UK in 2017 had a BAME main character. There are some indie publishers who work hard to create diverse and inclusive books, but they don’t have the same visibility in the media, bookshops, schools and libraries. What can be done to change this?”

Nicolette said:

  1. Actively seek out BAME authors and illustrators, and find opportunities for BAME people to work in publishing and bookselling (as well as teaching, journalism and libraries), until the book industry is representative of the country.
  2. Fund libraries and school libraries so that they can afford to stock diverse books.
  3. Keep talking within and outside the industry, in initiatives like this one (see also Empathy Lab, Booktrust, Letterbox Library), about the need for inclusivity, to raise awareness of producers, suppliers and consumers.
  4. Buy children you know, of any ethnicity, books featuring BAME characters.
  5. Support outlets that offer the books (pop-up shops, as in the initiative by Knights Of publishers, or ask for stock in any bookshop or library) and spread the word about what is available (by talking at events, on social media, on websites and blogs – as eg Books for Keeps, LoveReading4Kids, Bags of Books have done – and in review pages).

Nicolette Jones is an author, critic and Children’s Books Editor at the Sunday Times. She’s re-written Bijan & Manije for Tiny Owl.

  • Read our introduction to the campaign
  • Watch Elizabeth Laird’s response to ‘Diversity Now!’
  • Read Jackie Morris’ response to the campaign

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