Reflecting Realities Report

From Centre for Literacy in Primary Education

Resource type: CPD resource

Price band: Free

Key stage: KS1, KS2

Region(s): All of UK

The Reflecting Realities report is an annual survey that reviews the extent and quality of Ethnic Minority representation in picture books, fiction and non-fiction titles for primary-aged children (ages 3-11) published in the UK.

The first Reflecting Realities report (2018) looked at books published in 2017 and provided a benchmark against which future publishing could be measured. Subsequent reports showed a year-on-year rise in Ethnic Minority representation in children’s literature, while also highlighting that there was still work to do to ensure that children’s books in the UK reflected the rich diversity of their readers’ lives.

The latest Reflecting Realities report was published in November 2023 and looked at books published in 2022. Key findings include:

  • Across all three categories – picture books, fiction and non-fiction – 30% of titles published in 2022 featured racially minoritised characters. This represents a significant and consistent increase from the 4% reported in the first Reflecting Realities report.
  • The percentage of children’s books published in 2022 that featured a main character from a racial minority background increased to 14% – up from 9% in the previous year and a significant improvement on the 1% first reported in 2018.
  • Ethnic Minority representation in fiction increased significantly, rising from 11% in 2021 to 24% in 2022. However, of the three categories, fiction remains the category with the lowest levels of representation.
  • For the first time in the report’s history, racially minoritised representation in picture books and children’s non-fiction fell in 2022. Representation in non-fiction dropped from 41% in 2021 to 30% in 2022, and in picturebooks from 61% to 52%. 
  • Overall, the report’s authors welcomed the sustained upward trend in the volume of inclusive and representative literature. They were also pleased to see more variation in the range of realities reflected in the books reviewed.

As well as providing statistical data, the report also looks at the quality of representation of Ethnic Minority characters and provides valuable tips on what to look for when choosing books for the classroom or school library. Find out more in our blog.

You can read the full report here.

Cost: Free.

About Centre for Literacy in Primary Education: CLPE is an independent charity whose aim is to raise the literacy achievement of children in primary schools by putting quality children’s literature at the heart of all learning. They have over 40 years’ experience of providing evidence-based CPD training and high-quality resources to support teachers.

Literacy Hive Likes:

  • CLPE runs regular Transforming Literacy by Reflecting Realities webinars to explore ways to nurture positive reader identity and broaden children’s outlook through the use of quality inclusive literature.
  • A Reflecting Realities book pack featuring a selection of contemporary titles that offer accurate and well developed characterisations of people of colour is available from Letterbox Library.
  • Find out more about the methodology behind the Reflecting Realities report in this blog.
  • Copies of previous Reflecting Realities Reports are available to read or download from the CLPE website.
  • You can find book recommendations, specialist booksellers and other resources to help you build an inclusive and representative library in the Reflecting Realities section of the Literacy Hive website.

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