Chapel Allerton community group starts crowdfunder to get more diverse books into schools

A community group in Chapel Allerton has started a crowd-funding appeal to increase diversity among the books that are placed in schools.

Wednesday, 21st July 2021, 4:45 am

The CA Spaces voluntary and community group in Chapel Allerton is working in partnership with The Little Bookshop Leeds after discovering, via Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) figures, that only four per cent of children’s books published in 2018 had a main character of black, Asian or minority ethnic origins - despite the fact that around 33 per cent of UK school children are of Black, Asian or minority ethnic origins.

A spokesperson for the group said: "Leeds is a hugely diverse city and we think that should be reflected in the books that children see in school and at home. We want children to see themselves and those around them reflected in what they read."

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A community group is trying to get more diverse books into Leeds schools.

CA Spaces said if children don't see or recognise themselves in books, they become less likely to get into reading and there is a danger of long-term damage to confidence.

They said: "Stories can excite and inspire, but they can also perpetuate stereotype and privilege, negatively affecting a child’s ability to recognise and realise their potential - as well as seeing the potential in others. Over time, certain ideas cement themselves in a child’s mind: that all superheroes are white, all explorers come from rich families, or all detectives are male. The damage is subtle, rarely discussed, and ultimately devastating.

"We want these books to show children that there are many different normalities beyond their own. They will encourage children to dream bigger, more ambitious dreams, inspire confidence, excitement and a sense that any child can achieve their potential, regardless of the colour of their skin, their gender or their background."

A £3,000 target has been set so the books can be purchased and sent to schools.