According to stats provided by the European children’s fiction publisher Knights Of, “‘diverse’ books are often shelved as ‘niche’ while less than 4% of the publishing workforce in the UK is non-white.” But a partnership between them, BookTrust, and the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education looks to correct that discrepancy.
With the Happy Here anthology to be published on August 5, children of seven years and older can will have access to tales from a range of backgrounds and experiences. Each contributing author has been partnered with an illustrator to bring comprehensive richness to the stories. Some of the authors included are Joseph Coelho, Patrice Lawrence, and E L Norry. And names like Olivia Twist, Camilla Ru, and Wumi “Wumzum” Olaosebikan are only a few on the shortlist of Black British artistic talent participating in the project.
“Happy Here is going to thrill and inspire children in families and schools across the country, and we want to make sure it is read by thousands of children,” Jill Coleman, director of children’s books at BookTrust, said. “We are proud to be working with Knights Of and CLPE as part of our effort to drive a long-term, sustainable increase in the diversity of voices published in children’s literature.”
BookTrust also happens to be the largest children’s reading charity in the United Kingdom.
“Being able to commission work that has no motive other than to amplify, uplift, and celebrate what it means to exist in the UK today as black British is liberating for our team,” Aimee Felone, the co-founder of Knights Of, said. “Each and every author and illustrator has focused not on the trauma or hardship of their existence, which is too often highlighted in children’s fiction, but the experience and possibility of happiness for their characters.”
Hopefully, the program is successful and gets adapted worldwide to shed light on talented Black authors.