I am finding the articles about monochrome children’s books (Report, 17 July; Opinion, 23 July) particularly dispiriting because in 1971 a team of London children’s librarians, led by Janet Hill of Lambeth, undertook a survey of books for children which reflected the homelands of immigrants in Britain, published by the Institute of Race Relations. At the time we found most of the books depressing, mediocre and dull, patronising and insensitive. We imagined that our comments would be heeded by the publishers of children’s books, but very little seems to have changed.

–Veronica Porter 
London


 As the grandparent of a British/Korean child I have found that east Asian children are rarely, if ever, represented in children’s literature. I hope someone can show me that I’m wrong and that there are good stories around which feature children my granddaughter can identify with.

–Barbara Thompson
Sheffield


 Colin in The Secret Garden does indeed use a wheelchair (Letters, 23 July), but he is not shown as someone who is leading a life where he happens to use a wheelchair, and it is incidental to the plot. His father cannot easily be in his company, and he is left most of the time, deeply unhappy, to the care of servants in a vast house. With the help of two children and the secret garden he recovers, and only once he can walk again is he reunited with his father in a happy ending: “Across the lawn came the Master of Misselthwaite, and he looked as many of them had never seen him. And by his side, with his head up in the air and his eyes full of laughter, walked as strongly and steadily as any boy in Yorkshire – Master Colin!”

Not the ideal message for children today, whether or not they use wheelchairs.

–Judy Turner
Malvern, Worcestershire


 It’s not just children’s books where you almost never find a wheelchair user or other visibly disabled individual (Letters, 20 July), it’s adult books, TV, films, magazines, adverts, boardrooms, selective schools, buses, trains…

–Max Fishel
London

Article Originally Appeared on The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/jul/27/a-depressing-lack-of-diversity-in-childrens-books

Leave a Reply

avatar