Attention please… Something very exciting has just been announced in the world of children’s books.
This morning, Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books, announced it’s new Diverse Voices season – 50 of the Best Children’s Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK.
This is a list of 50 books chosen by an independent panel of experts for all children, from birth to teens. Books published since 1950 to the present day were considered. The list looks fantastic and includes a beautiful mix of picture books, poetry, novels, and biographies. These are books that will help children explore the world around them, giving them the opportunity to see themselves and the selves they could become and helping them understand all those around them.
Kate Edwards, CEO Seven Stories, National Centre for Children’s Books said:
“Children’s books shape our earliest perceptions of the world and its cultures, building understanding, empathy and tolerance. Despite this there is still a lack of representation of children from different cultural backgrounds – especially as main characters. By drawing attention to some best loved and well crafted children’s books, our Diverse Voices season will curate an exciting and diverse list of books that will help to inform the choices of librarians, teachers, booksellers and readers when they pick books to recommend, stock, read and enjoy. Britain’s rich and diverse cultural heritage is something to be celebrated and championed.”
Kate Edwards, I would very much like to shake your hand.
It’s a beautiful list. But it’s more than just a list. Seven Stories will be using these books as the basis for a whole world of exploration, discussion, creativity and play. They say:
“The aim is to raise the profile of these books, for the books to be read and celebrated, for children to see themselves, step into another’s shoes and find their place and belonging among the characters and settings of many cultural and ethnic backgrounds.”
Yes yes YES!!!
Seven Stories will be hosting a celebratory weekend on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 October with storytelling, music and activities inspired by Diverse Voices. And for the teachers and librarians out there, Seven Stories have also created learning resources for use in schools, which will be available from Thursday 16 October to encourage the use of books that reflect the diverse world we live in. See http://www.sevenstories.org.uk/learning for details.
The Guardian children’s booksite is celebrating diversity in children’s books all this week with features, discussions, author interviews and galleries. I can’t wait! Join in the fun here
Now for the list. Let’s celebrate, discuss, wave flags and break open the biscuits for these books. Which are your favourites? Which have spoken to you or the children you’ve shared them with? Which will you add to your ever-growing wish list? Have a look here.
I think Sarah Crossan’s Weight of Water is my favourite. But I have only read eleven of the fifty! This excites me! Look at all these lovely new books for me to discover. *orders them all*
What are your favourites??
Diverse Voices Book List and season is supported by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books and has
evolved out of the Diverse Voices Book Award, which was founded in memory of Frances Lincoln
(1945-‐ 2001) to encourage and promote diversity in children’s literature.
Refuge Boy is certainly my favorite from the list – but I, too, was surprised at how few of these books I’ve read! My TBR list just got lot longer. Thank you for sharing.
Ah the joy, I am really excited about this list, and like you, there are quite a few I still need to read! I have a few favourites that are not on the list however, including the Anna Hibiscus series by Atinuke. She is a great character for young readers as she is full of life and joy and has a great mixed family (a Canadian mama and an African dad). I twitted yesterday about the additional list of books we could all contribute to here: http://list.ly/list/StF-more-diverse-voices-in-childrens-books If you’ve got any ideas or suggestions, feel free to add them!