Appendix 4

Insights Into Inclusion Summary

Inclusive Minds

Alex updated the delegates on the ‘Everybody In’ charter, which a growing number of publishers, organisations, library professionals, booksellers, authors, illustrators and other individuals are signing up to, in order to show their commitment to improving diversity and inclusion.  Signatories also have the benefit of being able to display the Everybody In logo on their website. Alex also reminded delegates of the growing ‘Network of Young Ambassadors for Inclusion’ which makes valuable connections between book creators and young people with direct personal experience of different facets of diversity.  A number of the Ambassadors would be participating in the forum sessions. Alex also drew delegates’ attention to ‘Reflecting Realities’, a new Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) study which will chart the extent and quality of ethnic representation among characters in UK children’s books, mirroring the similar US survey.  Alongside this, BookTrust will also evaluate the number of children’s books created by authors and illustrators of colour.


Beth updated delegates on Thema, the book categorisation programme from EDItEUR and how it can be used and will be refined in future releases to tag books that are incidentally inclusive. Read the full statement from Thema/EDItEUR.

Siena Parker, PRH - WriteNow

WriteNow aims to find, mentor and publish new writers from communities under-represented on the UK’s bookshelves. This includes LGBTQ writers, BAME writers, writers with disabilities and writers from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

Run by Penguin Random House UK, to date WriteNow has welcomed 300 writers to 6 regional events, received 5,000 applications, has 23 exceptional writers on its year-long mentoring programme, and acquired books from 4 writers.


Bea Colley, Literature Programmer, Southbank Centre - Imagine Festival

Imagine is a long running children's festival at Southbank Centre. With storytelling at the heart of the festival, each year we present 9 days of music, theatre, dance, performance, creative workshops and a huge number of author events. Southbank Centre has been working year on year to build the diversity of the audiences and artists involved in the festival. 2018's festival works with writers from across a diverse spectrum and we are particularly proud of the many artists who are involved in the festival this year. We have worked with Inclusive Minds for the last 5 years and although we are excited to see diverse writers rising through our venues, we still feel there is a long way to go. We are hoping to build partnerships with publishers who are interested in ensuring all children feel reflected in the stories that we are putting onto stages and want to open up conversations about possible events, writers and opportunities that we may be able to collaborate on.

Janetta Otter-Barry, Otter Barry Books - Rising Stars

Positive Partnerships – A Publishing Case Study

Otter-Barry Books, Pop-Up Events and Arts Council England’s Grants for the Arts scheme came together to create a richly diverse and inclusive children’s poetry collection, Rising Stars, New Young Voices in Poetry, featuring five poets under 25, never before published in a mainstream collection, and three student illustrators, all from diverse backgrounds. The presentation shows how the partnership progressed, and describes the benefits and challenges of creating a book in this way.

Aimée Felone, Co-Founder, Knights Of - Unique Hiring Process

As a new publisher, Knights Of is committing to help fix the problem with diverse representation in the workplace by offering paid shadowing positions across numerous departments. The opportunity to work on a fixed term basis - usually from the beginning to end of a book project - is offered to candidates from diverse backgrounds in order to provide the opportunity to work alongside industry experts. Knights Of is determined to improve its workforce first and foremost in order to bring about more inclusive publishing.

Anna Howorth, Director of Global Branding & UK Marketing, Usborne Publishing - Usborne Academy

Publishing is a great place to work and of course we would say that children’s is the best bit. But we know that not enough children and young people are aware of just how many people it takes to make/launch/sell a book – or what type of careers might be open to them. In an effort to showcase what children’s publishing is all about, Usborne will be opening its doors for one week each August to 8 talented young people from groups currently under-represented in the industry. This immersive experience will be more than just a work experience placement! Usborne will be booking and paying for central London accommodation (in university halls), covering for travel expenses to get there on the Sunday night/get home the following Saturday (from anywhere in the UK), paying the London Living Wage for a 40 hour week for each candidate, and throwing in a weekly zone 1-2 travelcard. The scheme will offer time in a range of departments but also one-to-one mentoring sessions with senior staff, lunchtime seminars on a range of relevant topics, opportunities to socialise with staff (so they can get the scoop on what the industry is really like), and the chance to find out more about – and hopefully take part in – Usborne’s extensive charitable work. Usborne will be actively seeking applications from over 18s whether they be school or college leavers, graduates or in work, and are currently working on a campaign plan which ensures we reach the right candidates – those who might not have had an opportunity like this otherwise. In addition to the ‘inbound’ arm of the programme, Usborne will be encouraging as many of their staff members as possible to go into schools to talk about careers in publishing.

Nadine Kadaan, Author/Illustrator - The Jasmine Sneeze

When Nadine moved to the UK 5 years ago, she noticed that the conflict was the only thing that defined her country. Syria is in the media everyday with horrifying stories.

She felt sad to experience such negative perception as she had lived in Damascus all her life. As many might know, Damascus is the oldest capital in the world; it was built on layers of ancient civilizations with a magnificent architecture full of courtyards and fountains and jasmine trees. Nadine wrote The Jasmine Sneeze about her hometown the way she remembers it, away from the news’ reports. The book sheds light on Syria’s long and proud heritage that seems to be forgotten during the war.

Nadine was surprised and delighted that a simple story from back home could break so many stereotypes. Many parents mentioned after my reading that they didn’t know Damascus was the city of jasmine, they thought it was a desert! Several also mentioned that reading the story made them want to visit the beautiful city of Damascus, even at a time where Syria seems to be the end of the world.

Nadine feels fortunate that through the book she has been able to share some of the positive aspects of Syria (for a change) with UK readers. When there is little one can do during an ongoing and increasingly devastating war, children’s books are a great way to remind everyone (including herself) that we must not allow the conflict to colour how we see an entire culture, and the way it links to another.

Nicky Parker, Publisher, Amnesty International - The Amnesty CILIP Honour attached to the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals

The Amnesty CILIP Honour is an extra human rights commendation that Amnesty awards to one book from each of the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medal shortlists. The Honour is for books that best illuminate or celebrate human rights and the values that underpin them – like equality, justice and truth. They also write human rights education notes for all 16 shortlisted books. Amnesty do this because they believe that all good children’s books can build knowledge and awareness, broaden horizons, inspire empathy and – this is key - give young readers the confidence to stand up against discrimination and help shape a better, more representative and more inclusive society. They want it to become the norm to explore books through a human rights lens and for publishers to commission books using a human rights framework. Nicky spoke about Honour-winning There’s A Bear on My Chair by Ross Collins, which helped a child with special needs understand and articulate his rights to a safe place to sit in school.

@AmnestyUK @NickyParker111

Penny Joelson, YA Author - I Have No Secrets

Penny Joelson spoke about her YA thriller ‘I Have No Secrets’ published by Egmont in May 2017. The protagonist, Jemma, has severe cerebral palsy, and is unable to communicate but knows the identity of a murderer. Penny spoke about how although she doesn’t have direct experience of cerebral palsy she have worked with disabled people and was also helped by sensitivity readers to ensure authenticity. She highlighted some of the incredible response to the book:

‘I connect so much with Jemma. Not only do we share the same name - we share the same disability too. Thanks so much for writing this.’ Gemma Foo.

‘I think this book was great. I have never read a book from this perspective but it has opened my eyes.’ (Rachel – Goodreads).

Hajera Memon, Managing Director, Shade 7 - Hats of Faith

Hajera Memon talked about the beautifully illustrated board book, Hats of Faith, which introduces young children and their families to the shared custom of head covering across many faiths. It uses accurate terminology, phonetic pronunciations and bright imagery.

The book's author, Medeia Cohan, a Jewish mother was inspired to write this title when she found herself struggling to find a book to explain to her two-year-old son why people wear special head coverings as an expression of their religious beliefs.

Shade 7 will be participating at the Imagine Children’s Festival in Southbank on Thursday 15th February and are also in the process of developing a free, interactive UK wide school workshop tour in collaboration with the charity Penny Appeal.



Instagram: @HatsofFaith_

Twitter: @Shade7_

Ashley Jay Brockwell, Reconnecting Rainbows

Ashley Jay Brockwell, co-founder of the social enterprise Reconnecting Rainbows (which promotes LGBTQ+ mental health) spoke about the importance of inclusive books for the mental health of LGBTQ+ children and adolescents. They contrasted the increasing diversity of fictional characters today with the situation in the 1980s and early 1990s when Section 28 of the Local Government Act prohibited schools from 'promoting homosexuality', and as a result there were no children's or YA books readily available with realistic LGBTQ+ characters. The feeling of being unseen, unheard and unrecognised has contributed to low self-esteem and a high incidence of mental health problems among a whole generation of LGBTQ+ adults.   Ash called for publishers and authors to support the #LIFEsavingAllies campaign, which invites people to take four pledges to support transgender and non-binary friends, relatives or colleages: "L = Look at us as people, I = Identify us by our chosen names and pronouns, F = Find out what support we need, E = Educate yourself." More information on the campaign, which is being launched on 31 March (Trans Day of Visibility) and will be repeated on 17 May (International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia), 14 July (International Non-Binary People's Day) and 10 October (World Mental Health Day) each year, can be found at