Seven children’s books that are inclusive – and great!

Friday, February 9, 2018 - 15:12

Representation matters. The moment of seeing a character whose experience reflects our own – be it in books, on film, in politics, in sport and so on – can be a powerful driver of self acceptance. It can also help give people with different realities an important insight into how others experience the world.

The organisation Inclusive Minds campaigns for publishers to support books that deal with issues of equality, and which feature diversity, inclusion and accessibility and they have recommended some of the best inclusive children’s books to us.

My Mummy is Magic by Dawn Richards and Jane Massey

My Mummy Is Magic book cover

This is a simple, charming story about a mother and a child going about their days, and the special moments between them where they find magic in the everyday. It makes the Inclusive Minds list because it features a mixed-race family, the child’s gender is not specified, and the adult who stays home when Mum goes to work could be a female partner, a childminder or a relative, making this book particularly relevant for lesbian or single parents.

Through The Eyes of Me by Jon Roberts

Author Jon Roberts discusses children's book Through the Eyes of Me

Video: Jon Roberts talks about why he wrote Through the Eyes of Me

Through The Eyes of Me is a story about Kya, a four-year-old girl who loves to run, read, look at and rip up stickers. It was written by Jon Robers when his own daughter, also called Kya, was diagnosed with autism, and aims to encourage understanding of the condition among siblings and classmates of children on the autism spectrum. Illustrations are by Hannah Rounding.

S.C.R.E.A.M. The Mummy’s Revenge by Andrew Beasley

Charlie Steel and Billy Flint are top secret investigators specialising in Supernatural Crimes, Rescues, Emergencies and Mysteries (S.C.R.E.A.M.), and in the first book of this Victorian-era series they must tackle terrifying mummies who have come back to life. Charlie is in a wheelchair because of polio, but she doesn’t let it stop her from getting involved in the action and cracking the case.

George by Alex Gino

Alex Gino Talks About Their Book GEORGE & Other Transgender Fiction for Young Readers

Video: Alex Jino talks about their book George and other transgender fiction for young readers

This story has an authentic, transgender character at its heart – and speaking in her own words. That character is Melissa, who knows she’s a girl even though some people think they see a boy when they look at her. Melissa’s teacher tells her she can’t audition for the role of Charlotte in the school play because she’s a boy. Can Melissa and her friends come up with a plan so that she can be herself – and play Charlotte on stage?

She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick

The main character of this book is blind and fittingly it was published simultaneously in accessible formats, with the audiobook being read from the Braille version. It tells the story of what happens when Laureth and her brother must try and solve the mystery of what happened to their beloved father, who has gone missing. Laureth, who is blind, must use all the skills her father has taught her to make the connections and find him.

Sam Wu is NOT Afraid Of Ghosts! by Katie and Kevin Tsang

Sam Wu hates being called a scaredy-cat. When a trip to the Space Museum takes an unexpected turn, Sam has the chance to prove to his classmates – and the school bully – that he is truly fearless. All he has to do is hunt a ghost...

This brand new book is written by husband and wife team Katie and Kevin Tsang, drawing on some of Kevin’s own experiences growing up as a Chinese American. And good news: if you love this there’s a follow up due in summer called Sam Wu is Not Afraid of Sharks!

Ossiri and the Bala Mengro by Richard O’Neill & Katharine Quarmby

Travellers don’t feature all that widely in children’s literature, so this book, by Romani storyteller Richard O’Neill and picture book author Katharine Quarmby, makes a refreshing change. It tells the story of Ossiri, a Traveller girl, who builds her own musical instrument and then ignores advice not to practise it in the hills for fear of awakening an ogre.

With thanks to Inclusive Minds
Inclusive Minds

families at Southbank Centre

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