CLPE at Building Inclusivity in Publishing Conference

The London Book Fair’s annual Building Inclusivity in Publishing conference was held on 27th November 2018. In association with The Publishers Association, the conference brought together keynote speakers in adult, children’s and educational publishing, as well as charities linked to fostering diversity, inclusion and accessibility across the arts sector as a whole.

Speaking on the panel ‘Getting it Right from the Start: Children's Entertainment and Education’, alongside David Stephens from children’s publisher KnightsOf; Inclusive Minds Ambassador Heather Lacey and Hachette’s THRIVE chair Ruth D’Rozario, CLPE Chief Executive Louise Johns-Shepherd delivered a talk focussed on the CLPE’s 2018 Reflecting Realities report – the first large scale survey into ethnic representation in children’s literature across the UK.

Louise elaborated on the reasons why the survey was vitally needed in the UK, drawing attention to a literary landscape where BAME children were more likely to find themselves represented as inanimate objects or animals over fully realised people. “Children need to see themselves in stories – representation makes children believe they are included, it says this world of reading and books is for you and you are part of it.”

To summarise, the Reflecting Realities report has found:

  • There were 9115 children’s books published in the UK in 2017. Of these only 391 featured BAME characters
  • Only 4% of the children’s books published in 2017 featured BAME characters
  • Only 1% of the children’s books published in the UK in 2017 had a BAME main character
  • Over half the fiction books with BAME characters were defined as ‘contemporary realism’(books set in modern day landscapes/contexts)
  • 10% of books with BAME characters contained ‘social justice’ issues
  • Only one book featuring a BAME character was defined as ‘comedy’
  • 26% of the non-fiction submissions were aimed at an Early Years audience

More information about the Reflecting Realities can be found on Learning Programme Leader Farrah Serroukh’s blog

Read how one school has implemented the report’s findings to foster inclusive and empathetic reading cultures.