Last month at the Bookseller Children’s Conference Inclusive Minds announced a groundbreaking event which will aim to turn discussions about diversity and inclusion in children’s books into real action.
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 in the US by the nonprofit trade association for North American children’s book publishers, the Children’s Book Council, through their diversity initiative, CBC Diversity. 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.
Leading book figures including former children’s laureates Julia Donaldson, Michael Morpurgo, Anne Fine and Anthony Browne 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.’
Further details can be found in the latest Inclusive Minds’ Newsletter.