I get asked all the time why do I illustrate all my books for all the different coloured children I meet and to keep my answer as simple as possible all the children I meet on all the school author visits that I do promoting literacy, virtually every class has children of all different colours. personalized children story books the loveliest smartest brightest kids and some of them simply don’t have normal ordinary everyday story books with pictures that look like them and I don’t think that’s fair. I never have done and so one day When a little black boy of about seven called Gabriel walked up to me after one assembly and asked me why there wasn’t a kid that looked like him in my books, I thought to myself “yeah why isn’t there” and so I went away and I illustrated the book especially for Gabriel. I did another for his sister Pearl, so now personalized children story books I have storybooks with black children and Chinese children as well and have plans to do Asian children.
Creating new characters for my books is effectively to create a whole new book, it is time-consuming and very expensive, as all of my books are hand painted and not computer generated characters, so the only drawback for me is that each story that I write is not one book but actually ends up as eight or 10 books because of all the variations.
I am delighted to be vindicated in my belief that all children of all colours deserve and have the right to be represented in just normal ordinary children’s books by the fact that it has now been recognised that children from non white backgrounds have difficulty in finding ordinary children’s books that represent them and I hope my books will go some way in redressing the balance for them.
Being inclusive as a society and learning to be inclusive as an individual starts at a very young age and children being made to feel completely ordinary no matter what their background is in my opinion a great thing.
In a recent article published by the BBC, I was delighted to read that my concerns about black and minority black background children was not only my concern and that steps are being taken by others involved in children’s literacy to create books about children with different coloured skin in Rubysbooks.com is quite simply the place to come if you are from black, Asian or in fact any background and I will do my best to make sure everybody feels they are represented in my ruby and the skinny monkey series of books.
The BBC article is available to read on this blog in its entirety and spells out exactly why what Rubysbooks.com is doing is important to the future of our nations children.