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Diversity in Children’s Literature 1: history and context, with Michael Rosen, Sanchita Basu De Sarkar and Melanie Ramdarshan Bold

This is the first event in our series on cultural diversity in children’s literature. Michael Rosen, Sanchita Basu De Sarkar and Melanie Ramdarshan Bold discuss how children’s literature has progressed to become more culturally inclusive and diverse than ever before, with publishers like Knights Of, Otter-Barry and Lantana, and bookshops like Letterbox Library and Round Table Books successfully bringing truly representative fiction and non-fiction to children and young adults of all ethnicities and cultures.

Michael Rosen was one of the first poets to visit schools and is committed to the teaching of writing and the reading of literature in schools. He won the 1997 Eleanor Farjeon Award for distinguished services to children’s literature, and received an honorary doctorate in 2005 from the Open University and another from Exeter University in 2007. He was appointed the Children’s Laureate for 2007-2009. Much of his writing is influenced by the Yiddish culture he grew up in.

Sanchita Basu De Sarkar started working at the Children’s Bookshop in Muswell Hill when she left university, and in 2015 she became its owner. She strongly believes in finding the right book for each child, and has written in The Guardian (in 2018) that “The joy of seeing someone who looks like you on a page is huge – but some of us have a hard time finding them.” As an experienced children’s bookseller with a keen interest in culturally diverse books for children, we’ll find out whether she thinks things are changing.

Dr Melanie Ramdarshan Bold teaches and researches children’s and YA literature, literacies, and book culture at Glasgow University. She has published widely on inclusive youth literature; alongside numerous publications about contemporary book culture. She was a judge on the UKYA book prize, and is on the Advisory Boards for the CLPE Reflecting Realities project, the Pop-up Pathways into Children’s Publishing project, and Literature Alliance Scotland.

Although this event is not aimed specifically at an audience of children and young people, they may well find it of interest.

Tickets: £3, register via Eventbrite.

Supported by Lottery funding from Arts Council England.

Thanks to Bounce Marketing, who helped us find publishers and authors to take part in this series.

This event will have BSL interpretation provided. PLEASE NOTE: because of the way Zoom works on an iPad, you will not be able to see the BSL interpretation during the talk if you’re using an iPad – please use an alternative device to view the webinar.