Dealing with Toxic Debate and Hate Crimes

From Amnesty International UK: Countering Toxic Debate and Hate Crimes {With Books}

Literature helps us to dream differently. It can inspire ambition, plant seeds of hope and, of course, educate us.

For Black History Month, I want to reflect on how ethnic representation in children’s books can help counter hostility and show us how diverse our communities really are.

Only 7 per cent of children’s books published in the UK in 2018 featured Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME) characters, and only 4 per cent featured BAME main protagonists, according to the latest Reflecting Realities report. This is a ground-breaking survey run by the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) and I’m proud to be on the steering group.

These figures show a woeful under-representation compared to the UK population, but it gets even worse when compared to the increasing ethnic diversity within our school population – BAME children make up 33.1 per cent of the school population in England.

As gatekeepers it is beholden on us to ensure that children’s literature in our schools, homes, libraries and elsewhere reflects the reality of multicultural Britain – not a homogenous or assimilated Britain but a diverse and harmonious Britain.

Read on for how to break down stereotypes using books on Amnesty International UK.

Connect on Twitter with the research team: Amnesty UK | CLPE | Vini Lander

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