Inclusive Minds has been developing a valuable new resource for the children’s book world. We've just announced a crowdfunding campaign to develop the pilot project into an extensive network and manage the team of ambassadors. Please support us in order to ensure the network is available to help with authentic inclusion and representation in children's books.
This is a team of young people (and some parents and youth workers) who share a real interest in seeing better representation of one or more facets of diversity. These are individuals (generally aged between 8 and 30) with important first-hand knowledge of particular facets of diversity and a genuine interest in sharing their expertise and experience to the benefit of children’s books.
The potential value of this new network to the publishing sector is vast. If you want to ensure diverse characters are included appropriately and authentically in a forthcoming book, our ambassadors may be able to help you. Initial ideas can be bounced, a manuscript read, feedback supplied, rough artwork checked, a possible book cover viewed… the list is endless.
Robin Stevens spoke in The Bookseller about how 'invaluable' the network was in ensuring the authenticity of characters in the fifth book in her A Murder Most Unladylike series.
To get the portrayal of George right, Stevens worked with Inclusive Minds, an “incredible” organisation that promotes diversity and inclusivity in children’s literature and runs a consultation scheme. The company gave Stevens’ manuscript to a group of Indian women, who checked the story for authenticity, something the writer says was “invaluable” in putting the narrative together.'
Using the network
To access the network, or to enquire about joining, simply send an outline of your enquiry to us at Inclusive Minds and we will share it across our network to see whether anyone can help you. Since the network is still in its early stages of evolution, we cannot guarantee that we have an ambassador who can help with every specific request. However, with time and funding, we plan to grown the network.
Signatories of the Everybody In Charter receive the benefit of priority access to the network. Priority access will guarantee a speedy response to enquiries about the network, and means that if we don't currently have an ambassador with the relevant experience or background, we will do our best to try to recruit one.
Benefits for ambassadors
As well as giving marginalized young people a real voice, involvement in the network will provide insight to and experience of the publishing industry, hopefully making them feel it is a place where they can belong, and in which they can play a valuable part. This in turn should help to diversify the workforce of the future.
The benefits to the young people on the ambassador scheme are many and varied, as well as being valuable work experience that may lead to references and further work experience.
Some of the benefits that ambassadors might receive are:
- An acknowledgement in the book
- Mention on book/author/publisher website
- Invitation to book launch or other promotional events
- Blog/interview in relation to their involvement in the development of a book or character
- A signed copy of the book from the author, or the publisher might donate books to the ambassadors school
Basic access to the network is currently free, however we do ask the following:
- Those using the network are encouraged to give back to ambassadors in anyway they can, and let us know how they plan to do this (see some suggestions above).
- Inclusive Minds has announced a crowdfunding campaign to fund the development and management of the network. Supporting us by backing the campaign in this way will help us to cover some of the costs and processing initial enquiries from the book world.
- In some cases, should relationships develop or lead to more official consultation, substantial feedback or sensitivity reading, the network user would be expected to introduce and agree fees with the ambassador. This can be discussed once ambassadors have expressed interest in involvement in a particular project.
Many of our ambassadors are also willing to represent Inclusive Minds by taking part in media opportunities to talk about the need, provide quotes or talk at events. Ambassadors have already appeared on national television (such as Newsround), on the radio (including Radio 4), taken part in literary festivals (including Imagine Children's Festival) and been interviewed by national press (including the Guardian.) Again, please contact us if you are interested in inviting one of our ambassadors to take part in an event.
Please note that all contact with ambassadors under the age of 18 takes place via a parent or carer.
The scheme was announced in The Bookseller.