Problem of diversity in children’s books? 6 in 10 parents and children have lost the love of reading because stories lack representation



NEW YORK – More than a third of children don’t feel represented in the books they read – because of their gender or ethnicity. A poll of 1,000 US children aged 6-12 and their parents reveals that almost three quarters (74%) read regularly – but agree that the characters always look the same and do not represent different points of view .

Of the 50% of girls who feel unrepresented, 39% say they have lead roles in stories always seem to belong to the boys. Meanwhile, only 13% of parents have seen minority races represented in books read by their children.

It also emerged that 62% think their child would be more inclined to read more often if the main characters bore similarities to them.

Commissioned by personalized book brand Wonderbly and produced by OnePollthe study reveals that 61% said that a lack of representation in terms of race and gender completely deterred them from reading books.

Diversity is ‘key to engaging a child’ when it comes to books

Other Features Kids Didn’t See in their books, according to their parents, include physical disabilities, differences in gender identity and varying religious beliefs. Skin conditions, allergies, and wearing glasses are also rare in the books.

The parents also identified unusual hair colors, dyslexia, and living in an apartment as other scenarios that the authors often omit. Three quarters believe it is important that children see themselves represented in the wide range of content they consume, including films, television and books.

“Children want nothing more than feel part of a story and research has shown that some are capable of it, for various reasons, some are not,” Asi Sharabi, CEO and co-founder of Wonderbly, said in a statement. “Engaging a child so they feel like they can relate to the story or the characters involved is key. The research also found that parents are also keenly aware of this when it comes to finding content they consume as they strive to find things like books that are more representative of their children. .

Almost half (44%) of kids would like to see more people like them in movies, 44% say the same about TV shows, and 43% would like to feel more visible in video games.

Do children want more inclusive stories?

While 36% of kids have never seen a character they identify with on TV, 55% have asked their parents to buy books with more personalities who talk, look or act like them.

Parents believe that portrayal is vital in such mediums in order to normalize their feelings, to help them relate more to a story, and to know that other children are in the same circumstances as them.

According to OnePoll data, an additional 37% don’t want them to feel different. Two in three (67%) also think seeing characters like them in books will make them feel capable of anything. However, 58% of parents admit that it is difficult to find books that represent their children.

“It’s so important that children feel represented in the books they LilySharabi says. “When children see themselves as the hero of a story, it helps them to believe that they can do anything they can imagine; that any story they imagine could be their story. Books are also a way to educate your child on an endless number of topics and themes that shape their view of the world. The personalization helps children understand the plots and makes them much more receptive to the key messages and learnings of each tale.

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