Blog image
Created: 8th December, 2021

Reading should be a universal experience. It seems like a simple concept to understand, but the importance of it is often overlooked. Not only should literature reflect the vast and diverse experiences of everyone around us,
but it needs to be accessible. It should not be a privilege to have literature readily available, no matter your economic background, the way you identify, or your educational needs.

At Pop Up Projects CIC, our Education Team seek to make literature accessible for every child, with a particular focus on SEND schools. Seeing and understanding that they are not alone and that they are capable of being heroes like the ones they read about, this is how we give them hope, confidence and faith in themselves from a very young age. This is what
‘Reflecting Realities’ means to me.

The Reflecting Realities report stated that between 2019 and 2020, there was a 5% increase in the percentage of children’s books published featuring Black, Asian or minority ethnic characters. Whilst this is hopeful, the number it increased to is only 15%. More still needs to be done. In 2021, at Pop Up, we launched our 10 Stories To Make a Difference. These stories explore a range of themes; diversity, caste systems, and LGBTQ+ identities, and were written by a diverse group of debut and experienced authors and illustrators. Most importantly, these books emphasise kindness. Kindness to anyone that sees themselves as different, however that may be. Kindness that is needed now more than ever as we struggle to find our footing in the world that is emerging from almost two years within a global pandemic. For most of us, the only constants in our lives have been ourselves, and we have had to think about what we can offer the world and what the world can offer us too.

Whilst there has been progress and this progress should be celebrated, it is so important that we do not stay stagnant. It’s our duty to instil hope, faith and confidence in forthcoming generations. There are so many stories that have not been told, and have the potential to inspire many. Our job in the publishing industry, now more than ever, is to keep opening doors for minorities. Moving forward, the Reflecting Realities report suggests that it is necessary for this industry to continue investing in a range of diverse, new and established
authors who are able to convey a multitude of stories with integrity. At Pop Up, our Pathways into Children’s Publishing work recognises the urgency and importance in giving individuals from underrepresented communities the opportunities to write, draw and be the representation they never saw themselves as children. Furthermore, our mentees work with and learn from mentors who are already established in the industry. Starting my journey this year in the industry, not as an author or an illustrator but as a woman of colour, I know first hand the impact and importance of seeing yourself in the books you read. I see the importance and appreciate organisations like Pop Up CIC (and my inspiring and supportive colleagues) and CLPE that focus on making positive strides forward for us all. As I continue and start to make my mark within this industry, I will remind everyone of the enormous amount of talent we are yet to see and that we must invest in bringing the people who possess this talent to the forefront. These types of opportunities open doors; not only for the people telling the stories but for the children reading the stories. These children will have values of hope, confidence and faith instilled in them from a young age and this is how greatness truly starts. If you believe, you can do it.

Nataacha Hussain
Sales and Marketing Assistant
Pop Up Projects CIC


For this year's Reflecting Realities Report blog series we have asked our friends from organisations close to CLPE to write blogs about what Reflecting Realties means to them and how it aligns with their organisations work.

Nataacha Hussain is the marketing assistant at Pop-Up. Pop-Up's vision is of a more literate society where it is the universal right of every child and young person to access and enjoy literature and they have the mission to transform lives through literature, especially through working with people in deprived places and challenging circumstances.

Find Pop-Up on Twitter here.