On World Book Day, Black Characters Matter

As a black British children’s author, I’m all too familiar with issues concerning diversity (or lack thereof) in children’s literature. I’ve written about it, I’ve seen the statistics surrounding it, I continually champion the #RepresentationMatters hashtag – I get the drill.

Yes, it is hugely important that we challenge the publishing industry to redress the balance when it comes to delivering books featuring children of colour. But while we’re doing that, we can also champion the books that do feature black children. And what better time to do that than on World Book Day (March 7th 2019)?

I came close to tears (of joy) last year when I received a message from a mother, whose son had chosen to dress up as Riley – the lead character from my first book, Riley Can Be Anything – for World Book Day (image below). It served as a reminder that book characters don’t have to be internationally recognisable to be both important and impactful for young readers.