World Book Day 2022. Chelsea FC Foundation launches equality, diversity and inclusion school programme with Little Box of Books and support from Rochelle Humes
This year (3rd March) marks the 25th anniversary of World Book Day. An annual event which encourages children to dress up as their favourite book character and celebrate the joy of reading. To mark the celebration inclusive book company, Little Box of Books has joined forces with Chelsea Foundation to launch a new school programme, using representative books to teach children about equality, diversity and inclusion. The first session brings children from five London primary schools together, in their World Book Day costumes, for an event at the Chelsea’s stadium, Stamford Bridge.
To mark WOlrd Book Day 2022, Rochelle Humes, TV host, author and long-term supporter of Little Box of Books, says,
“When I was growing up, I didn’t see people like me and my family in the books we read. That’s why I decided to write my own books, so that my children and many others could relate to the characters in the stories. Whoever you are, wherever you’re from, whatever you look like – you should be able to see yourself in the books you read and be the hero of the story. By teaching children about diversity and getting more inclusive books into schools, Little Box of Books and the Chelsea Football Club Foundation are helping us all to work toward a more equal society.”
In the UK 33.9% of school age children are of black, Asian or minority ethnic origins. However, the CLPE report, Reflecting Realities, revealed that only 8% of children’s books published in 2020 feature non-white protagonists. This figure has increased since 2017, when only 1% of children’s books featured a main character of black, Asian or minority ethnic origins. While representation has increased, the challenge now is getting those books into schools. A recent study by National Literacy Trust and Penguin Random House, The Future of Primary School Libraries, showed that 40% primary schools have no dedicated library budget. 1 in 8 primary schools don’t have a library at all and in more deprived areas, that statistic jumps to 1 in 4.
Chelsea and Little Box of Books
As part of Little Box of Book’s initiative with Chelsea Foundation, 15 schools will receive 100 new inclusive books, that represent society by showing diversity in race, culture, family set up and relationships. The programme will run with five schools over five weeks. Bespoke sessions will bring diversity and inclusion into the classroom through the stories provided, helping children understand diversity and write their own stories. The sessions and resources will help embed inclusive books into schools, so they leave a lasting legacy.
During the first session at Stamford Bridge, 150 children will take part in a ‘draw along’ workshop with illustrator and character designer, Selom Sunu. They will each design their own character to create a ‘community of characters’, illustrating that each and every one of us is unique. Other workshops and stories on the day will highlight that everyone deserves to see themselves in the books they read.
Lynsey Pollard, Founder and Director of Little Box of Books, says “World Book Day is a wonderful celebration of reading and a great opportunity to get more inclusive books into schools, so everyone can see themselves in the books they read. Working with the Chelsea Foundation as part of this project will allow more children to access books that reflect the society we live in, in all its multicultural and diverse brilliance. The new programme will help children to celebrate diversity and recognise that everyone deserves to see themselves in a leading role.”
Head of Education at Chelsea FC Foundation, Sam Gaskin-Kemp, says:
“ We are delighted to be launching this very exciting opportunity for primary schools pupils to engage in as it feeds in very naturally to our wider, continuous drive to promote diversity and equality. Providing inclusive resources and activities which enable young readers to recognize relatable characters in stories who look, dress and sound like them is very inspiring for readers and powerful for everyone involved. We look forward to seeing the characters that the children create and the stories they write as part of the project.”
NOTES TO EDS
Little Box of Books
Little Box of Books specialises in delivering inclusive and representative books to families and schools. The aim of the organisation is to help more children see themselves in the books they read and to help all children better understand the world and their place in it.
The book boxes from Little Box of Books show diversity in race, culture, family set up and relationships, they also include representations of disability and gender roles. Boxes are available for schools, as gifts or monthly subscriptions. There are book boxes for 0-3 year olds, 4-7 year olds and 8-11 year olds.
For more information visit Little Box of Books
Centre For Literacy In Primary Education (CLPE) Reflecting Realities Report:
National Literacy Trust and Penguin Random House:
To buy a World Book Day Inspiration box head here.