Writing a new chapter on inclusion this World Book Day

We’ve been working with local schools and libraries to ensure young people see themselves represented in the books they read this World Book Day.

On the twenty-fifth anniversary of World Book Day, we have provided schools with books that feature characters from a range of backgrounds and cultures.

Schools have also received costumes to allow pupils the chance to dress up as the main characters from these books.

In England, 34 percent of children of primary school age are from an ethnic minority background. In 2017 only one percent of children’s’ books, out of 9,000 published, had a lead character from a black or minority ethnic background.

Cllr Shabir Pandor, Leader of Kirklees Council, said:

“Literature is a key ingredient to a young person’s development and understanding of the world. That’s why it’s so important for our classrooms and libraries to promote books which reflect a diverse range of backgrounds and cultures.

“Representation matters and the work we are doing this World Book Day will ensure that young people see themselves in the stories they’re reading and as a result feel recognised and validated.

“In Kirklees our diversity is our biggest strength and World Book Day is a brilliant opportunity to celebrate it.”

Research from 2021 shows an increase in children’s books featuring a minority ethnic character. 15 percent included a character from a black or minority ethnic background.

Pooja Puri, author of ‘A Dinosaur Ate My Sister’, the first book in the Marcus Rashford Book Club, said:

‘From a young age, I loved visiting the library; reading gave me the opportunity to wonder, to imagine, to learn. I truly believe that all children should see themselves represented in books, to see characters from different backgrounds embarking on adventures, exploring fantastical worlds, or, like Esha in A Dinosaur Ate My Sister, inventing a time machine! World Book Day was always one of my favourite days in the school year and I’m extremely excited to be taking part in a ‘Library Adventures Live!’ event, in partnership with Kirklees Libraries.’

Library Adventures Live

Library Adventures Live is a virtual event taking place on World Book Day. Pooja will talk about her writing journey. As well as, talking about how her laugh out loud ‘A Dinosaur Ate My Sister’  was selected for the Marcus Rashford Book Club.

Pooja will answer questions from the children. She will also be sharing details of her latest book, ‘A Robot Squashed My Teacher’. Macmillan Children’s Books will be publishing the book in April 2022.

Library card competition 

Kirklees Libraries are running a library card competition for World Book Day. Young people aged 11 years old or younger from across Kirklees are encouraged to draw a main character from a list of selected books. The winner will have their design used on library cards across Kirklees.

To enter young people should visit their local library and pick up a form. Or you can download one on the Kirklees Libraries website. The deadline for submissions is Thursday 10 March 2022.

Schools have received the following books along with costumes of the main characters; ‘Ninja!’ by Arree Chung, ‘Mansa Musa Builds A School’ by Louisa Olafuyi and Oladele Olafuyi, ‘The Proudest Blue’ by Ibtihaj Muhammad, and ‘Coming To England’ by Floella Benjamin.

Library Adventures Live! launched in July 2020 by Kirklees Libraries by award-winning poet Joseph Coelho. The aim was to provide a range of diverse, inclusive, and accessible high-quality content to children. As well as, schools and families across Kirklees.

Providing costumes allows us to reduce the financial pressure on parents and guardians that can be experienced when dressing young people up for World Book Day.