Inclusion Ambassadors

The Inclusive Minds network of Inclusion Ambassadors is an invaluable resources for the children's book world. The network offers book creators a chance to connect with 'experts by experiences' at the very earliest stage in the book creation process. 

Who are the Inclusion Ambassadors

The Inclusion Ambassadors are a network of young people (and some parents, teachers 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. 

How it works and the value

The network aims to connect authors and illustrators with Inclusion Ambassadors to work together on the development of new books. We strongly encourage publishers and book creators to consult the Inclusion Ambassadors at as early a stage as possible, in order to involve those with direct knowledge and experience from the start. This way Inclusion Ambassadors can be having conversations with authors and publishers at character and plot development stage which helps to shape authentic characters.

Conversations early in the book creation process are the most effective way for marginalised young people's’ voices to truly be heard by book creators and for a range experiences and comments to be taken on board, leading to greater authenticity of diverse characters.

Connections between authors, publishers and Inclusion Ambassadors should be made, at the very latest, alongside the development/structural edit (but ideally much earlier), and as Inclusion Ambassadors are not sensitivity readers, Inclusive Minds won't pass on details of any projects that are at copyediting stage or later.

The potential value of this new network to the publishing sector is vast. For those wanting to ensure diverse characters are included appropriately and authentically in a forthcoming book (and we hope that is all of you), our growing network of Inclusion Ambassadors may well be able to help. Initial ideas can be bounced, an early manuscript read, feedback supplied, rough artwork checked, a possible book cover viewed… the list is endless. We'd advise talking to more than one ambassador to ensure you hear about a range of experiences.

Becoming an Inclusive Minds Inclusion Ambassador

If you want to join the network, please fill out our Ambassador details form. If you'd like more information first, contact us at Inclusive Minds.

Using the network

To access the network, simply send an outline of your enquiry using the form, and we will share it across our network to see whether we can connect you to any of our ambassadors. Since the network is still growing, we cannot guarantee that we have Inclusion Ambassadors who can help with every specific request. However, with time and funding, we plan to grow the network. Please read the disclaimer statement before sending your enquiry.

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 Inclusion Ambassador with the relevant experience or background, we will do our best to try to recruit one.

Benefits for Inclusion Ambassadors

As well as giving young people a real voice and a chance to change the future of children's books, involvement in the network will provide insight to and experience of the publishing industry, hopefully making those young people 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 Inclusion Ambassadors are many and varied. In addition to being valuable work experience that may lead to references and further work experience, some of the benefits that Inclusion Ambassadors might receive include:

  • References
  • An acknowledgement in the book (wording should be agreed with Inclusive Minds)
  • Mention on book/author/publisher website (wording should be agreed with Inclusive Minds)
  • 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
  • Tickets/passes for events such as London Book Fair.

Cost to users

Please note that Inclusive Minds receives no core or regular funding, and the role of Inclusion Ambassador is also voluntary. Those using the network are therefore encouraged to give back to Inclusion Ambassadors in any way they can (see suggestions above) and to confirm this with Inclusive Minds.  We also request the following:

  • If Inclusive Minds successfully matches you with an Inclusion Ambassador to help you with your book project, we suggest a donation of £50 to Inclusive Minds to cover the admin costs associated with finding an appropriate Ambassador and monitoring the project. This donation enables us to keep the network running. If this amount is not feasible, please donate what you can.
  • For an initial conversation or any input that takes no more than an hour or two, we’d suggest that (in addition to any of the benefits listed above) a book token or similar gesture of goodwill for the Ambassador would be welcomed.
  • For anything beyond this, the network user (be that publisher, author or illustrator) would be expected to introduce and agree fees with the Inclusion Ambassador.* 
    This might be an hourly rate or a flat fee, dependent on the work and feedback involved, and can be discussed with Inclusive Minds and the Ambassador once they have expressed interest in a particular project.
  • Expenses should be covered for face-to-face meetings.
  • Please note that Inclusive Minds ran a crowdfunding campaign to fund the development and management of the network. Although the campaign has now ended, you can still support the ongoing need for the funding of this by making a donation.
  • A copy of the final book should be sent to any Inclusion Ambassadors worked with, and two copies should be sent to Inclusive Minds.

*If for any reasons this would be financially challenging, please let us know on the enquiry form and we will see if an ambassador is happy to work with you on an altruistic basis. This, however, should be the exception rather than the norm.

Public speaking

Many of our Inclusion Ambassadors are also willing to represent Inclusive Minds by taking part in media opportunities to talk about the need, provide quotes or speak at events. Inclusion Ambassadors have already appeared on national television (such as Newsround) and radio (including Radio 4), taken part in literary festivals (including Imagine Children's Festival), spoken at many conferences and events and been interviewed by national press (including the Guardian). In 2019 they developed and ran a panel session at the London Book Fair. Again, please contact us if you are interested in discussing an opportunity for our Ambassadors.

Child protection

Please note that all contact with Inclusion Ambassadors under the age of 18 takes place via a parent or carer.

Finally, you can read blogs by some of our Inclusion Ambassadors here.

The Inclusion Ambassador scheme was announced in The Bookseller.

Please note that we are currently receiving a lot of enquiries, so it may take some time for us to process your enquiry and get back to you. Please ensure enquiries are made in plenty of time.