Children’s coloring authors published in the UK to grow to 11.7% of the market in 2021

New research has found that 11.7% of children’s book creators published in the UK in 2021 were people of colour, up from 5.6% in 2017,

However, despite major improvements, “UK children’s literature as a whole remains far from represented”, Diana Gerald, chief executive of the Booktrust, said in the report’s foreword.

The under-representation of people of color among children’s book makers in a UK report by the University of Glasgow’s Dr. was written by Melanie Ramdarshan BOLD and commissioned by Booktrust. It found that while overall 11.7% were people of colour, only 4.5% of children’s book makers were British people of colour. However, there were 74 British debut creators of color in 2021, up from just 12 in 2017.

As well as statistical research, the report also interviewed 20 authors and illustrators about their experiences in the publishing industry, including Dapo Adeola, Maisie Chan, Serena Patel, Dean Atta, Rashmi Sirdeshpande and Onini Iwu. Some said they had strong relationships with publishers and saw publishers making long-term investments in the careers of creators of color.

However, the creators also felt “unable or unwilling to speak openly about instances of racism and discrimination in the publishing industry”, and raised concerns that “some publishers are superficially engaging with issues of exclusion and under-representation”. “. Some writers felt that some publishers were rushing into publishing books by creators of color to capitalize on the popularity and demand for “diverse” books.

“We’re getting a lot of what I call cookie cutter books”, Adeola said. “fill-in books that get thrown out, just to fill shelf space and tick boxes” so publishers can say “we have this book […] about diversity.

Dr Ramdarshan Boldt said, “It is great that there has been a temporary increase in the number of children’s coloring authors published in the UK”.

But, he added, “beyond the numbers, it is clear that there is still a lot of work to be done to make children’s publishing more equitable”.

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“Creators of color interviewed for this report gave very honest accounts – both positive and negative – of their experiences in children’s publishing, outlining some of the key obstacles and enablers they face,” she continued. “This ranges from daily micro-aggressions to active colleagues in publishing to the pleasant effects of school visits. I hope book industry professionals, and those adjacent to children’s books, truly reflect on these experiences and report We do our best to ensure that diversity, equality and inclusion are sustainable and embedded parts of the world of children’s books.

A second report from Booktrust was also released on Wednesday, detailing the experiences of elementary school teachers and students who welcomed creators of color into the classroom.

The Booktrust Represents Schools Support: Evaluation Report, 2022 found that “representation in children’s books and their creators has a significant impact on children’s wider learning experiences and development in the classroom and beyond”. It also found that visits from creators of color inspired many students to “write their own stories, with the authors they were serving as positive role models”.

Gerald said that “there are now more opportunities for creators of color to publish children’s books in the UK, which means more children can read their fabulous stories”.

“Yet creators of color still experience constraints,” she continued. “Overall, when you take into account the volume of books published previously and which still inspire children and remain on bookshelves today, Britain’s children’s literature remains far from representative.

“Improving representation in the books children read remains at the forefront of our work, and we’re committed to working in partnership with children, families, creators, publishers, schools, libraries and others to get there.”

Read full story at the guardian.com

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