September 29 2014

Everybody in: Diversity and Inclusion – turning talk to action


Inclusive Minds made an exclusive announcement at the Bookseller Children’s Conference yesterday of a groundbreaking event which will turn discussions about diversity and inclusion into real action. The idea for the event came from looking at what is working in terms of inclusion and diversity in other countries, and is being developed by Inclusive Minds in partnership with publishers, the PA, IPG and EQUIP.

In recent months, the need for greater diversity has become an area of increasing concern in the children’s book industry, with numerous campaigns calling for more inclusive children’s books.

Inclusive Minds believe that we need to move on from just discussion and that by working together across the children’s book world we can effect real change. As such, the event represents the first part of a series of initiatives being planned by Inclusive Minds and other organisations, working together to support such change.

Leading book figures including former children’s laureates Julia Donaldson, Michael Morpurgo, Anthony Browne and Anne Fine have expressed their support for the initiative. Malorie Blackman also welcomed the news, describing the groundswell of cross-organisation activity around inclusion and diversity as 'more than timely.’

The initial Inclusive Minds event will take the form of a workshop for the children’s book world to debate the importance of inclusion and the barriers to achieving this.

‘A Place at the Table’, an afternoon event to be held on Wednesday 28th January 2015, will give publishers, booksellers, librarians and teachers the opportunity to come together in force to show their support for the subject, debate what are the barriers to change, and find solutions to move forward. The format is based on the successful event held at Simmons College the US by the Children’s Book Council Diversity Initiative. One review of which stated that ‘by providing a space for people to connect across disciplines, the event allowed new kinds of synergies to arise’.

The speed-dating style roundtable event will involve authors and illustrators who are committed to diversity and inclusion posing questions to each table. These will range from the importance of access to inclusive and diverse books, to ideas for practical and commercially sound strategies to ensure that more books are produced.

The workshop will allow those in the book industry to actively consider the barriers to inclusion and gain a heightened awareness of what is needed, and the skills required to translate this into action. Delegates will work on concrete action points to take away with them that can be applied in their sector, and publishers will have the opportunity to help develop and sign up to a new ‘Everybody In’ Charter, an inclusion and diversity charter for the children’s publishing industry.

If you're committed to working with us to change the face of children's books, tweet 'I'm in', using the hashtag #everybodyin

Who's in?