At the beginning of 2018, we invited Darren Chetty and Karen Sands-O’Connor to contribute articles to Books for Keeps examining the way black, Asian and minority ethnic voices have been represented in the English national story, through children’s literature.
Their articles make for powerful and thought-provoking reading. We bring them all together here.
The Fantasy of Story (Pt 1)
England’s White and Pleasant Land (Pt 2)
In part two of three, Chetty and Sands-O’Connor explore the English geographical space, and how the urban and the rural interact with depictions of BAME characters.
‘In Times of Peril’: Britons, Asians, Muslims (Pt 3)
The relationship between Britain and depictions of Asian and Muslim people in children’s books, and the positive movement towards change.
Beyond the Secret Garden: Portrayals of Mixedness
Darren Chetty and Karen Sands-O’Connor explore the representations of mixed-race characters in children’s fiction, and the importance of reflecting many young children’s realities.
Beyond the Secret Garden: #ReflectingRealities & #OwnVoices
The importance of publishing more and more BAME voices, and the significance of having BAME characters written by BAME authors.
Beyond the Secret Garden: ‘We English’: Nonfiction and Belonging in Children’s Literature
Nonfiction and reference books focusing on children’s literature.
Beyond the Secret Garden: Rap, Rhythm and Rhyme
The language of rap and hip-hop, and its impact on children’s fiction.
Beyond the Secret Garden: Protest and the British Children’s Book
Rebellion and riot in children’s literature, the importance of protesting against injustice, and how this is explained to children through the novels they read.
Beyond the Secret Garden: Taking Series Seriously
In books popular enough to create sequels (and then some), Chetty and Sands-O’Connor explore how BAME characters are portrayed in highly successful franchises.
Beyond the Secret Garden: Outside, Over There
The representation of BAME authors in various children’s fiction awards, and the ways in which we can improve representation in long and shortlists.
Beyond the Secret Garden: Animal Fables and Dehumanization
The role of the anthropomorphic animal in children’s fiction, especially picture books, and its complicated relationship with depictions of race.
Beyond the Secret Garden: Books for Everyone
A Christmas themed Beyond the Secret Garden, a great list of books by and about BAME people.
Beyond the Secret Garden: A Sporting Chance
Darren Chetty and Karen Sands-O’Connor focus on books about sport, and the developing role people of colour have played in this genre over the years.
Beyond the Secret Garden: Classic Literature and Classic Mistakes
Children’s classics, and the developing relationship progressive attitudes have with them.
Beyond the Secret Garden: Hoorah for Health Workers!
A celebration of fictional doctors and nurses, and the importance of immigration and the Windrush generation in shaping our health service.
Karen Sands-O’Connor is the British Academy Global Professor for Children’s Literature at Newcastle University. Her books include Children’s Publishing and Black Britain 1965-2015 (Palgrave Macmillan 2017).
Darren Chetty is a teacher, doctoral researcher and writer with research interests in education, philosophy, racism, children’s literature and hip hop culture. He is a contributor to The Good Immigrant, edited by Nikesh Shukla and the author, with Jeffrey Boakye, of What Is Masculinity? Why Does It Matter? And Other Big Questions. He tweets at @rapclassroom.