Representation of people of colour among children’s book creators in the UK

Since we first published our research into children's book creators of colour in 2019, we've seen progress in the form of opportunities, communities, and representation - but there's still a long way to go. 

Illustration: Dapo AdeolaIllustration: Dapo Adeola

Research shows that representative and inclusive books not only shape how children view themselves and the world around them, but also affect their motivation to read. There is a clear and urgent need to ensure all children have access to a wide range of high-quality and representative books to choose from so they become lifelong readers.  

In 2019 BookTrust published its first report on the representation of creators of colour in children’s books. This new report provides longitudinal statistical evidence on how the people creating children’s books in the UK has changed during this period. This is enriched by interviews with creators of colour who reveal the challenges and opportunities they are experiencing in children’s publishing today. 

In 2021: 

  • 11.7% of children’s book creators were people of colour (322 creators of colour in total) and they created 9.1% of unique titles 
  • 4.5% of children’s book creators (125 people) were British people of colour and they created 3.6% of unique titles 
  • There were 74 British debut creators of colour published 
“Every time you write a character who is underrepresented, there is so much pressure. The burden of representation feels so heavy.” – Rashmi Sirdeshpande
“I think there are good people within publishing houses that are willing to [take a chance and try something different] […] But it’s like anywhere that’s been doing something the same way for a long time […] It has to come from the top really for anything significant to happen doesn’t it?” - Anonymous
“My dream is just to be known as an illustrator rather than a diverse creator. I'd rather my books to be read by all children, not [just] Black children […] That’s the aim of the game.” - Onyinye Iwu

Download the report in full.

Further links


BookTrust Represents

Our project promotes and supports children’s authors and illustrators of colour, so young readers find the books that represent them.

Learn more about BookTrust Represents