When I was growing up in the 1980s I don’t remember ever seeing girls like me reflected back in the books I was reading. In fact, according to research carried out by the charity Booktrust, over the past 11 years, fewer than 2% of all authors and/or illustrators of children’s books published in the UK were British people of colour.
Thankfully, things are starting to change and I’m happy to say I’ve noticed it. Even in baby board books there are now babies and parents with different skin colours and even more modern family depictions, like mums going of to work. Does this really matter? Well, when your baby points to a book and says “Mumma”, because he sees someone that looks like you, it’s a big fat YES!
Publishers like Lantana publishing are at the heart of this change and offer a variety of diverse children’s books from lots of different authors. Including Maisie’s scrapbook by Samuel Narh and illustrated by Jo- Loring Fisher. A book that shows a mixed race family, from different cultures and their daughter who gets to experience both of them.
My four year old loved looking at the pictures and hearing the imagery come alive with such imagination. ‘Dada points out turtles swinging on chandeliers of stars in the night sky‘, was one of his favourite pages. The illustrations and colours are bright and colourful without being too loud and really compliment the gentle narrative.
The book highlights the different countries that Maisie’s parent’s come from, by showing how they use different words for tomato or play different musical instruments. It’s subtle and gentle, so perfect for young children who do notice differences including different skin colours and need to see to this reflected in the books they read. It’s a lovely way to start to appreciate people’s different cultures and start talking about them with your child in a positive way.
Get your copy of Maisie’s scrapbook here
This book was gifted to me but I was under no obligation to post this review.