Our commitment to diversity, inclusivity and equality

An illustration of a group of children and a teacher holding books, smiling and waving

BookTrust exists to get every child reading – regularly and by choice. Reading matters because it can have a lifelong positive impact on a child, affecting their health and wellbeing, creativity and educational outcomes.

We want to see a generation of children starting school who confidently choose a book from a shelf and ask an adult to read it to them. We want to see a generation of teenagers who identify as readers and who read to create space to reflect and relax, to be themselves and to understand the world around them. And within this our priority is to support economically disadvantaged children and families, and those from vulnerable family backgrounds, to become readers.

We are committed to embedding and promoting diversity, inclusivity and equality in all that we do, to deliver this real and lasting change for children.

We are focused on taking practical actions to address barriers to participation for children and families to read because by doing this we can transform lives and create a more equal society.

In the context of our commitment to diversity, inclusivity and equality our priorities are:

  • Enabling fair access to the benefits of reading for all children and providing support that takes account of the diverse backgrounds, context and environment of children and families.
  • Distributing and recommending diverse and inclusive books and promoting writers and illustrators from diverse or under-represented backgrounds. We do this because children need books which reflect their own realities and which broaden the world beyond their own experiences.
  • Providing equality of opportunity as an employer and working to ensure that our governance and workforce reflect the diversity of the communities we serve.

Our approach to diversity, inclusivity and equality is guided by the following principles:

  • We begin with the needs of the children and families that we serve.
  • We are committed to understanding and responding to these needs. We acknowledge that the perspectives, identities and priorities of these children and families will be diverse and overlapping.
  • Diversity is about recognising, respecting and valuing people's differences and their right to contribute and to realise their full potential.
  • Inclusion is about promoting a culture which allows everyone to contribute and offers them the opportunity to realise their full potential.
  • We believe that embracing diversity and inclusion as core values of our organisation enriches our thinking, promotes creativity and creates opportunities for us, for our stakeholders, for the partners we work with and for the children we serve.
  • We aim to understand and respond to the varied needs and perspectives of our diverse range of stakeholders and partners including schools, early years professionals, librarians, funders, supporters, publishers, authors and illustrators, and staff. This partnership working is how we deliver our work and we benefit from this wide range of partners and the different perspectives and priorities they bring.
  • Our definition of diversity is wide-ranging. It reflects our work across many different communities, sectors and spheres and is developed from the nine legally protected characteristics as set out in the Equalities Act 2010*. Our definition covers age, race, colour, ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability (including mental health), sex, sexual orientation, gender, marriage or civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity. The definition of diversity we use also encompasses socio-economic disadvantage, vulnerable children and families, and geographical diversity across the UK. This includes the diversity of different communities in Northern Ireland and the particular contexts of very urban and very rural communities across the UK. We also acknowledge the needs of Welsh-speaking communities as part of our overall commitment to the Welsh language. We also acknowledge the potential barriers against inclusion within the wider community that face families with children aged 5 and under.
  • We recognise that multiple forms of discrimination combine to impact on individuals and increase barriers to participation.
  • We acknowledge that societal change is progressive. We will continue to listen, to learn and to adapt and change our approaches as we develop our work.
  • We hold ourselves to account with a specific and long-term action plan across all elements of our work which is regularly monitored and updated by our senior leadership team and board of trustees.

* The nine legally protected characteristics as set out in the Equalities Act 2010 are race, religion and belief, disability, age, sex, sexual orientation gender re-assignment, pregnancy/maternity, marriage and civil partnership

We aim regularly to showcase how our work embraces inclusivity and diversity.

Read our Black Lives Matter statement

More about our work

Disability and books

Explore our Bookmark section, featuring top tips, guidance and reading recommendations around disability and mental health.

BookTrust Represents

Find out all about BookTrust Represents, our programme to support and promote children's authors and illustrators of colour.

Letterbox Club

Discover our Letterbox Club, which supports children who are vulnerable or looked after with parcels of books, stationery, and activities.

Explore our booklists

We've put together themed booklists to cover a range of different subjects, from mental health and wellbeing to topics such as bereavement and family separation.

Picture books that celebrate LGBT families

It's so important that little ones grow up and see their type of family set-up reflected in the books you share with them. Here's a list of our favourite children's books that show – and celebrate – diverse families. Perfect for babies all the way up to aged five.  

Black Lives Matter

Our pick of the top books that examine the structural oppression experienced by people of colour, aimed at inspiring and empowering young children to talk about anti-racism.

Autism

We believe that books are a great way to raise awareness and improve understanding of different experiences. This booklist aims to provide a range of children's and teens' books that feature characters who are on the autistic spectrum or have Asperger’s Syndrome.

The Next Chapter - our strategy

There’s never been a more urgent time for us to inspire a new generation of children on their reading journeys. The Next Chapter sets out how we will get every child reading, regularly and by choice, so they can reap the lifechanging benefits of reading.

Find out more