BAME female characters in picture books

Yesterday The Guardian shared their research showing that the top 100 illustrated children’s books last year showed growing marginalisation of female and minority ethnic characters.

We take pride in stocking a diverse range of books and work hard to ensure every child can find themselves represented on our shelves. These beautifully diverse and gender-stereotype-squashing books are out there and this article highlights the importance of independent bookshops and booksellers who can get them into children’s hands.

We’ve put together a gallery of fantastic picture books that fit the criteria, available now or being published in the next few months. Look at them all! Aren’t they stunning. We would be very happy to share these books with you and will be adding them to our online shop over the next week. If you would like to order any now, contact us at the shop and we will work our bookseller magic.

Are there any brilliant books you would like to see added to our gallery? Comment on this post or get in touch via social media and share your favourites.

The Secret Dragon by Ed Clarke

Mari Jones is desperate to be a real scientist, even though she’s only eleven.
So when she discovers a tiny dragon while fossil hunting on the beach, she’s sure she can find a good scientific explanation – as long as she can keep it hidden long enough to study it. Unfortunately for Mari, this is one secret that doesn’t want to be kept. And as she starts to form a deeper bond with the mischievous dragon, she might have to admit that, when it comes to friendship, science might not have all the answers… 

The first in a new series, this is a heartwarming tale of family, friendship and following your dreams.

Mari is a fiercely determined and independent young scientist and we loved all the brilliant references to Mary Anning and women in science. There’s also some lovely swapping of gender stereotypes here. A brilliant book for the little feminists in your life.

And who could resist a tiny dragon that can curl its tiny tail round your finger but also burn your school down with one burp?! A perfect book for all budding scientists, adventurers and animal lovers.

We love the cover illustration by Ben Mantle and really do want our very own Gweeb to live in our shop.

Available in our shop now, you can get your copy online here.

Meat Market by Juno Dawson

Jana Novak is catapulted to superstardom when she’s scouted by a model agency. But the fashion industry is as grimy as it is glamorous, and there are predators at every turn.

Jana is an ordinary girl from a south London estate, lifted to unimaginable heights. But the further you rise, the more devastating your fall…

Honest and raw, this is a timely exposé of the dark underbelly of the fashion industry in an era of #TimesUp and #MeToo. It might just be Juno Dawson’s most important book yet.

We love this fast-paced and addictive read. Meat Market is Juno Dawson at her best; accomplished writing, beautifully diverse characters that dig into your head and heart, and a powerful storyline that is all too relevant.

Jana is immensely relatable. She is every young woman facing the challenges of growing up in this image-centric world. Just as Jana is pulled into the chaos of the fashion industry, we were swept along, unable to put Meat Market down, binge-reading all the way to that perfect, perfect ending. Jana’s downfall feels inevitable and inescapable, yet this is a hugely positive book with a powerful and hopeful ending.

A brilliant book that highlights the importance of friendship, standing up for what you believe in and being true to yourself in a world that often tries to tell young women otherwise. A must for raising the consciousness of the fashion-conscious.

You can order your copy here.

Lily and the Rockets – Rebecca Stevens

‘Whatever you decide to do,’ he used to say, ‘there’ll be people who’ll tell you not to, say it’ll be too hard, you won’t like it, it’s not for the likes of you. They’ll try and stop you, Lily-oh. But you mustn’t let them. Listen to me, girl. You Must Not Let Them!’

Lily and the Rockets – Rebecca Stevens

It’s 1917. Lily spends her days working in a munitions factory, her nights picking metal out of her hair, and her lunchtimes kicking a ball with her workmates. Together they form a football team, the Rockets, and a league soon follows.

But when the war ends, the girls lose both their jobs and their football. Not Lily. If her only chance of being a goalie is to play with the men, then that’s what she’ll do …

An empowering story about having the courage to be yourself and follow your dreams. Brilliant for 10+

We love the beautiful cover illustration by Harriet Taylor Seed.