Both The Guardian and the Independent have reported on calls from Rachel Shenton and Julia Donaldson for authors to include more diverse characters in their books.
Rachel Shenton won an Oscar for her film The Silent Child, which tells the story of two parents getting help from a social worker to prepare their daughter Libby, who is deaf, for going to school. She said, “I’ve learnt just how important it is for … children to see themselves in the programmes and movies they watch and in the books they read. Never seeing themselves can … make their experiences seem invisible.”
Julia Donaldson, world-famous author of The Gruffalo said, “I’ve seen first-hand how powerful it is for a child to have their lives and their experiences reflected in what they read – to be able to say ‘There’s someone like me!”’
Their comments were made to mark World Book Day on March 7.
Lists of books featuring disabled characters are readily available on the internet featuring everything from Steinbeck’s classic Of Mice and Men to more modern titles such as The War That Saved My Life and Me Before You.