Call this inclusive? Why only 4% of kids' book heroes are BAME

Call this inclusive? Why only 4% of kids' book heroes are BAME

More than 33% of students at UK schools are from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, but only 4% of the protagonists in children’s books in the UK are BAME. The publishing industry has made big claims about its push for inclusivity both on and off the page, but some believe progress is painfully slow. Grace Shutti investigates what’s taking UK publishing so long and meets some of the creators who are championing change, including the authors of hit books Amazing Grace and Look Up!, and the owners of inclusive publisher Round Table books

‘What’s taking so long?’: children’s books still neglect BAME readers, finds study ►

Subscribe to The Guardian on YouTube ►

Support the Guardian ►

Today in Focus podcast ►

Sign up for the Guardian documentaries newsletter ►

The Guardian ►

The Guardian YouTube network:

Guardian News ►
Owen Jones talks ►
Guardian Football ►
Guardian Sport ►
Guardian Culture ►


Like it? Share with your friends!


What's Your Reaction?

hate hate
confused confused
fail fail
fun fun
geeky geeky
love love
lol lol
omg omg
win win
The Guardian


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. If I were to travel to some little black village in an African country, would the black story writers/orators there portray white people as being the chief hero in their stories?

  2. In the last census 87% of the UK residents identified as white, so your 33% doesn''t quite add up. But be it 13 or 33, if you had the slightest clue about the inner workings of any mass market industry, like publishing, you'd know they're just as bad as democracy: minorities don't matter.

  3. Interesting vid, thanks for this. I am of mixed heritage and self published a childrens book in English and Gaelic (which I also speak) versions a couple of years back. While the two main characters were based around my dogs going on their first sailing trip, the supporting crew were of Indian and Scottish heritage, reflecting my own background. In that sense, it felt very natural. However, as you pointed out it is far from common in most children's story books, primarily because there are so few Bame authors. Maybe more white writers need to feel comfortable also writing about characters from a variety of ethnicities? I think it is getting better, particular the sense I get from generations younger than me, but still a ways to go! It is certainly something I intend to do in any future children's book I write, because why the hell not

  4. Maybe because you are in the UK, a white nation with a white culture. I dont think that only 4% of childrens books in Namibia are going to have black protagonists.

  5. To the guardian everything is white privilege.

    Stop looking for problems in everything.

    Why don’t the guardian read by example, fire all the white journalists and employ only black or Asian.

    How many chinese authors, South American, polish etc.

    Nothing I imagine to do with unpopular statistics re education etc.

  6. Gee… I guess because the indigenous population of this country is white and because most British books were written when this country had a exclusively white population and because it was whites who invented printing in the first place. Anything else?

  7. The most lethal form of Ethnic Cleansing is being visited upon Europe. Don't care what political stripe you belong to. How is it a mass population replacement taking place at an industrial scale considered ethical or moral?

  8. Why are the Guardian white-knighting and trying to push their white culture on to black people? Reading is not part of black culture, black people didn't have books in fact there was no written language in sub saharan Africa. Forcing people to be the same just results in eradication of culture

  9. 87% of the population is white, the country is majority white and has been historically white, therefore most kids book heroes are obviously going to be white. I'm a British Indian, and believe that it shouldn''t matter what colour the hero is. This identity politics thing is nonsense. In India, majority of the heroes are Indian. It's the same in every country in the world.

  10. so if you cannot identify with white people in white stories, does that mean that WE white people can't identify with black people and black stories? How can we possibly live together then???

  11. Hopefully one day things like BAME will be obsolete and taking tallies won't be a necessity because people of every race will just do things without their colour being a factor. Sure, publishers should give everyone a fair chance, it should never be a case of "they're black, we need more black people, we'll take any story" but more of a "this is a great story, we'll give you an offer". I don't know how many of each race have an interest of being kids authors or how much of a factor it plays, I only believe the only way humanity will progress is by not seeing race as the main thing and only looking at the content of character of people who come into their lives.

Choose A Format
Personality quiz
Series of questions that intends to reveal something about the personality
Trivia quiz
Series of questions with right and wrong answers that intends to check knowledge
Voting to make decisions or determine opinions
Formatted Text with Embeds and Visuals
The Classic Internet Listicles
The Classic Internet Countdowns
Open List
Submit your own item and vote up for the best submission
Ranked List
Upvote or downvote to decide the best list item
Upload your own images to make custom memes
Youtube, Vimeo or Vine Embeds
Soundcloud or Mixcloud Embeds
Photo or GIF
GIF format