Reflecting Realities - A Survey of Ethnic Representation within UK Children’s Literature 2017

Reflecting realities

In February 2018 we launched Reflecting Realities, a new study into ethnic representation in children’s literature. Funded by the Arts Council, the aim is to quantify and evaluate the extent and quality of ethnic representation in children’s publishing in the UK. This process involved processing submissions of all children's literature published in the UK that featured Black or minority ethnic (BAME) characters to determine to what extent they were represented.


Summary of findings

  • There were 9115 childrens books published in the UK in 2017. Of these only 391 featured BAME characters
  • Only 4% of the childrens books published in 2017 featured BAME characters
  • Only 1% of the childrens 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

Download the full report from the link on the left

We have conducted this survey alongside our colleagues at BookTrust who are simultaneously reviewing data about the correlation between authorship and ethnicity over the last decade.

Teachers can use teaching sequences for books that reflect the realities of our children. Please download them from our Core Books site or use the link on the left.

Please download the full report on the left for the full findings. If you have an enquiry please download our FAQs on the left or email us.

If you have a media enquiry please contact Annabel Robinson or Sophie Goodfellow at FMcM Associates on 020 7405 7422

Illustrations © Holly Sterling and reproduced with her kind permission.

Booklet design: Ben Cotterill