- New research from YouGov shows 64% of GB parents1 from all backgrounds would be interested in reading their child a book that has a diverse mix of characters2
- IBC’s new website will host trusted reviews and recommendations for hundreds of inclusive children’s books
- Nadiya Hussain joins as an ambassador to celebrate the platform
- Inclusive Books for Children also announce their inaugural awards, set to award £30,000 to authors and illustrators whose books demonstrate inclusivity
New charity, Inclusive Books for Children (IBC) has launched a website that makes sourcing high-quality inclusive children’s books a seamless experience.
IBC, a not-for-profit entity, joins a host of organisations and individuals working for change in this space and hopes to make a unique contribution by positioning themselves primarily to support time-pressed parents and caregivers in their book-buying decisions. With over 700 freely available, expert book reviews and recommendations, buyers and borrowers alike will be able to navigate the easy-to-use website to find books featuring protagonists with specific characteristics, browse booklists curated by theme or types of representation and much more.
Nadiya Hussain MBE, chef, author, television presenter, parent and ambassador for Inclusive Books for Children, said:
“Diverse representation in children’s fiction is so important. As a mum, I’m always trying to make sure that my children can see themselves represented in the media they consume and are able to feel included and seen. Inclusive Books for Children is the perfect platform for finding exactly what I’m looking for, and with expert reviewers recommending books for my kids I know I can trust that what I’m buying is the best the book world has to offer.”
The idea for the IBC website was conceived in 2022 by Marcus and Sarah Satha, book-loving parents to two, young, mixed-heritage children. They experienced first-hand how difficult it can be to source children’s books that adequately represent different ethnicities, disabilities, and the modern family — and don’t draw on gender stereotypes. The project runs in parallel to IBC’s provision of funding to other not-for-profit organisations also working to improve inclusivity in children’s books, and access to those books.
Sarah Satha, co-founder of Inclusive Books for Children, said:
“We’ve created what we hope is a beautifully designed and truly inclusive resource. For anyone who has struggled to find their family reflected in stories — and for anyone else — we have fantastic book recommendations to suit everybody!”
Marcus Satha, co-founder of Inclusive Books for Children, added:
“Stories are powerful tools that allow us to relate, understand and connect with one another. We all want the children in our lives to be able to access the power of stories, and how they open the imagination and inspire creativity. That’s where the Inclusive Books for Children project began.”
The launch comes as a new study by YouGov, commissioned by IBC, reveals that 64% of parents from all backgrounds would actively choose to read a book with a diverse mix of characters to their child. With over 1,000 respondents from across Great Britain, the research also shows that 41% of parents of minority ethnicity struggle to find books for their children that they feel represent their child.
The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education’s (CLPE) Reflecting Realities Annual Survey (2022) said:
“Over the last five years of reviewing children’s publishing output, as the volume of titles we review has increased, so too has the variation of portrayals of characters of colour. As welcome as this increase is, it should be viewed with cautious optimism, firstly because it remains a very low figure and secondly because we cannot risk complacency at this point. Through access to quality representative and inclusive literature, younger readers have the opportunity to experience the world as it is, as well as enjoy the possibilities of how it could be.”
Fabia Turner, founder of the Jericho Prize and head of content for Inclusive Books for Children, said:
“Our book reviews are quick and easy to digest, and there’s huge variety within our current offering, which is mainly fiction for all children up to nine. We have everything from relatable everyday stories to fantastic magical adventures — books to enthuse all children, suiting a wide range of reader needs and tastes. Of course, the books also reflect the rich demographic diversity of the UK and beyond — and many parents will appreciate that.”
Jake Hope, awards executive for the Yoto Carnegies and reviewer and adviser to Inclusive Books for Children, said:
“With around 10,000 children’s books published annually, finding the best books to suit particular readers and situations can sometimes feel a daunting task. Every book on IBC is carefully appraised to explore the types of representation that feature in it, considering the role characters play in the book, the types of world they inhabit and the motivation and agency they possess. They help everyone to feel part of a world of stories and ideas that fire young hearts, minds and imaginations!”
The charity has also announced its first Inclusive Books for Children Awards, which seeks to celebrate the talent behind the best, new inclusive children’s books published in the UK. Submissions will open Monday 18 September 2023 and close Friday 27 October 2023. A panel of children’s literature experts and inclusivity advocates will award a £10,000 prize for the winning book in each of three categories: books for babies and toddlers aged 1–3, picture books for ages 3–7, and children’s fiction for ages 5–9. The prizes will be shared between the author(s) and Illustrator(s) of the winning books. The shortlists will be announced in January 2024, and the winners announced at a ceremony in March 2024. More details on eligibility and how to submit an entry can be found here.
For more information about Inclusive Books for Children, visit: www.inclusivebooksforchildren.org