Manchester schools in book drive to better reflect racial diversity – BBC News

Free books better reflecting racial diversity will be handed out at several schools in a new literacy scheme, Manchester City Council said.
A report published this year found that ethnic minorities remained "under-represented" in children's literature.
Despite a third of English primary school pupils being from an ethnic minority, BAME children featured as main characters in only 8% of books.
The council said it was "important for children to see themselves reflected".
According to a 2020 report by the National Literacy Trust (NLT), one third of children said they struggled to find characters like them.
This could reduce their engagement with reading and miss out on its benefits.
Manchester City Council's Read Manchester campaign, which is working with the NLT, said 24 schools would each receive 25 books reflecting diversity in the See Myself In Books project.
This will help children "understand and appreciate the lives of others", the campaign said.
About half of the participating schools have more than 95% of pupils from an ethnic minority.
Many parents and campaigners have criticised the education and publishing sector for shortcomings in reflecting diversity.
Data shows that children's books were found to be eight times more likely to feature an animal than a non-white person in the lead role.
Manchester teaching assistant Ayesha Ansari-Choudhury set up independent book retailer Mirror Me Write in 2019, saying she "couldn't shake the feeling that the curriculum was doing a disservice to pupils by not providing more inclusive literature".
In a recent blog, she said she had found that "buzzwords" such as inclusivity were being "touted around by management teams and in policies, yet never actively implemented", including in resources such as books.
She said the sector "needed a seismic shift" and "some change is taking place but many publishing houses still have a long way to go".
Earlier this year, the Manchester United footballer and anti-poverty campaigner Marcus Rashford started a book club to showcase representation and improve literacy among disadvantaged children.
Publishers Macmillan will donate 50,000 books.
Rashford has recently announced that he will team up with author Alex Falase-Koya to write The Breakfast Club Adventures, inspired by his childhood.
The NLT report found that 37% of children who receive free school meals said that they did not see themselves in what they read.
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