Reflecting Realities Report
Created: 22nd October, 2021

CLPE Reflecting Realities - Survey of Ethnic Representation within UK Children’s Literature (November 2021)

This is the fourth Reflecting Realities report (focused on diversity and inclusion in children's books) and it was published in November 2021.

The Reflecting Realities report, identifies and evaluates representation within picture books, fiction and non-fiction for ages 3–11 and provides a benchmark to track and understand progress and a toolkit to support both producers and consumers of children’s literature to be more critically reflective in the move towards a more inclusive future. This report looks at the children's literature published in the UK in the 2020 calendar year.

The report's key points:

  • a positive increase in children’s books featuring a minority ethnic character from 10% in 2019 to 15% in 2020 and up significantly from the 4% reported in the inaugural report in 2017;

  • Increase in representation in picturebooks and non-fiction – representation in fiction books remains the same;
  • The Reflecting Realities reports have inspired a number of initiatives from a variety of organisations, implying positive change in the industry

Alongside the publication of the report:

  • CLPE have received funding from Paul Hamlyn Foundation to deliver a 3 year project (which started in October 2021) working with 10 schools, 300 children and charting their progress – bringing quality representative literature into the classroom. Schools were recruited via the Wandle Hub. Creative partners for this year: Ken Wilson-Max, Valerie Bloom and Joseph Coelho;
  • CLPE will be publishing a new book focusing on Reflecting Realities, Spring 2023 which will focus on the initial findings from the project;
  • Happy Here anthology has being distributed to all Primary Schools in England. This is the result of a collaboration with BookTrust. CLPE Teaching resources to accompany the book are available;
  • CLPE are delivering webinars for schools focused on Reflecting Realities: Nurturing Reader Identity and available to book for November 2021 March and June 2022. 

Read our blog Reflecting Realities, the methodology behind the report  by Farrah Serroukh and Louise Johns-Shepherd

Read our other blogs on Reflecting Realities 


Illustrations © Onyinye Iwu and reproduced with her kind permission.

Booklet design: Ben Cotterill