A flag, a coat of arms, a statue. Passing, every day, the statue of an oppressor, a slave owner, or coloniser on our way to school or work. What do we learn from that? Our kids’ books, what do they show? A boy having an adventure? A bunch of white kids with maybe a couple of lesser characters played by people pf colour?
Pictures are everything. They tell us who is in charge. Who is important.
And so to the fight back. From Colin Kaepernick’s taking the knee, that has now become a common sight at anti-racist protests. To the toppling of statues of horrendous historical figures. The removal of the confederate emblem from state flags in America. A kneeling person or a flag or a statue might seem like an innocuous thing but all of those things have had enormous power. They show that racism is not going to be accepted anymore.
And books too are symbolic. The characters in books are symbols of real life. A child needs to see themselves in the pages of a book. Not only that, they need to see stories about every kind of person. Black people, white people, different cultures, clothes, religions, food, two mums, one mum, two dads, disabled parents, disabled children, people who like pink, or don’t like pink or who like pink trucks that fly to the moon. Kids need to see it all.
There’s not enough of that around. That’s why Parakeet Books are only diverse. Black main characters. People of colour in lead roles. LGBT+ families. But most of all they are cool stories that kids can get lost in.