BAME people are not being represented in children’s books – says London author
Between 2007 and 2017 only 8.6% of children’s book creators were people of colour. In 2017, only 1.98% of British authors were people of colour. Whilst this number is slightly improving, in the age of Black Lives Matter and this Black History Month, author Winsome Duncan is changing the narrative with her own campaign the ‘Look Like Me Book Challenge.’
During the COVID pandemic, Winsome, an independent publisher and entrepreneur from South London, gathered together over 30 young people aged 7-12 years old from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds and ran her own alternative education series guiding young people on reading and writing skills, for the creation of The Popcorn House book.
The book, which follows the story of two cousins named Zion and Nevaeh who mistakenly enter the magical land of Kalaria. Using their superpowers, they conjure an invisibility hoodie and Ether Spaceships to help them out on their adventures.
The research team at the Centre of Literacy in Primary Education writes the Reflecting Realities report which highlighted these cataphoric marginalised statistics. We acknowledge that the low percentages are unacceptable, BAME young people are being taught that their stories are irrelevant and by continually underrepresenting them in fairy tales, where their imagination lives.
Winsome hopes that with this campaign, she can enable more young people affected negatively by lockdown to be proud of their culture and turn to writing in order to maintain better representation across society.
The book, The Popcorn House, launches online and at Waterstones tomorrow and is being celebrated with workshops with young black and minority ethnic authors across the country as part of Black History Month.
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