Finding books that truly reflect the diversity of families in the UK is challenging. Research carried out by BookTrust has revealed that over the past 11 years, fewer than 2% of all authors and/or illustrators of children’s books published in the UK were British people of colour. This is why they have launched a project called BookTrustRepresents.
The project will:
- support and subsidise authors and illustrators of colour to promote their work and to reach more readers through events in bookshops, festivals and schools
- offer training and mentoring
- launch an online community to support the next generation of great authors and illustrators of colour
The key findings of the research are represented in this graphic:
The statement in the red column doesn’t immediately strike me with concern. It seems more or less in keeping with overall UK demographic distribution. [But until I delve deeper into the research I can’t see how the statement tallies with figures in the rest of the graphic, which suggest, at best, a 1 in 10 ratio.]
The stark difference is between the teal and the purple columns, illustrating that it is British ‘creators of colour’ who are the under-represented group.
I worry that heightened attention on ‘representation’ will skew decisions made by publishers and editors in favour of material that they might otherwise not consider purely on its merits.
Discussion of the matter is good, however. On which note, I presume there has already been a good deal of debate about the phrase “of colour”, which, whilst politically correct, is still widely resented by black people… EXAMPLE https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/black-women-people-of-colour-racism-beyonce-coachella-black-lives-matter-a8316561.html