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White Children Need Diverse Books As Much As Black And Brown Children

Last week a white girl in my four year old daughter’s class told her that her hairstyle and hair was ‘not right’ for their upcoming graduation service. She was wearing two Afro puffs. It clearly bothered my daughter and I spent a good hour talking through the incident and reaffirming her. I am going to go out on a limb and say that if Susie Whitestockings (not her real name) read a few more books featuring black girls with afro hair going about their daily lives, she may have not felt it necessary to make such an ignorant comment to my daughter.

A recent study by The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) found that only 1% of the books published in 2017 featured a black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) character. That is an appalling figure, especially when you consider that the percentage of the British population that identifies as non-white is 14%. This issue of diversity and inclusion in children’s publishing isn’t new and no one seems to know what to do about it. But believe me, something needs to be done, if we are ever going to see real change in this country when it comes to race.