Reflecting Realities - Survey of Ethnic Representation in UK Children’s Books (July 2018)

Reflecting realities

In July 2018 we published Reflecting Realities, the first UK study looking at diversity in children’s literature. Funded by the Arts Council, our aim was to quantify and evaluate the extent and quality of ethnic representation and diversity in children’s publishing in the UK. This process involved analysing submissions of all children's literature published in the UK in 2017 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

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 Sarah James

We have secured funding to continue this work and intend to produce a second report detailing our analysis of the publishing output of 2018. The criteria for submissions is outlined in the tab on the left and the deadline for publisher submissions was 25th January 2019.


Illustrations © Holly Sterling and reproduced with her kind permission.

Booklet design: Ben Cotterill