British children’s books don’t reflect cultural diversity, Laureate says

Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman

LONDON (Reuters) – British children’s books still don’t reflect the cultural diversity of the country’s children and would-be authors, Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman said.

Her own best-known books, the Noughts and Crosses trilogy, tackle racism, teenage sex and terrorism – challenging stereotypes by showing white-skinned characters subjected to prejudices and restrictions.

She was criticized in the media for a sympathetic portrayal of a suicide bomber in the final part of the trilogy, “Checkmate”, that was released just a month before suicide bomb attacks killed 52 Londoners on public transport on July 7, 2005.

She responds by saying that those who criticized her had not read the books, and if they had, they would realize that the books help people understand motivations, not condone them.

“Very, very few picture books are published in this country that feature children of color,” Blackman told Reuters at a cafe in the British Library. “We might have dogs, cats, rabbits, puppies, but when it comes to children, very few (featuring different ethnicities) are published”…