Sita, who is well known for addressing topical issues in the literary world, will take on the role for six months.
She recently wrote an article on what books children can read after the terrorist attacks in Paris; and her latest title Red Leaves was endorsed by Amnesty International UK as a book to enhance understanding of human rights. She has also won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize for Artichoke Hearts and written a dyslexia-friendly book called Brace Mouth, False Teeth.
From Monday 23 February Sita will provide weekly blog posts on Booktrust’s website (www.booktrust.org.uk), addressing issues facing children’s publishing.
‘I will be writing this blog as we approach a general election in Britain in which many themes children’s writers don’t shy away from are being constantly raised,’ Sita explained.
‘How is society addressing some of the pressing needs of young people facing poverty, homelessness and social inequality? How do parents, educators, librarians, authors and publishers offer this generation narratives that can lead to greater understanding and empathy? What opportunities can placing a book in a child’s hands bring them?’
Taking over from Philip Ardagh, Sita’s residency will also see her championing diversity in children’s books and revealing her own personal experiences with diversity. She is also keen to hear from young people and those who work with them, about the impact of diverse representations in stories.
She said: ‘It feels as we have entered a time when there is a real consciousness that we need to have a wide range of stories and characters that are more reflective of our population. Through this blog I’ll try to contribute my own and other’s diverse voices to this movement.’