Disabled children characters in stories: they're just not there

12 November 2014

At KIDS, we've been talking quite a bit about the representative of disabled children as characters in stories. After this guardian article, we asked whether you could think of any – as we couldn't. We had a few responses, but still no main characters that we felt were truly memorable.

Yesterday Sir Quentin Blake spoke out with a similar message. He believes there should be more illustrations of children with disabilities in children's literature, saying that "They're just not there".

In an article on BBC news, Quentin Blake, the well-known children's illustrator best known for capturing the characters of Roald Dahl's books, launched his latest book along with the statement "We need more disabled children in picture books".

He said he realised the level of under-representation after being asked to submit illustrations of children using mobility aids for an exhibition. He decided to create the new book to promote inclusion of disabled children, and show something where they don't remain on the sidelines.

The Five of Us is a story about disabled children who rescue their bus driver after he falls ill. Essentially, they are the heroes.

Here at KIDS we do a lot of work to promote inclusion for all children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. We believe that all these children aged 0-25 years have a right to live in an inclusive community which supports them and their families, and we work to make this happen through our services. We want to empower disabled children to reach their ambitions, and this cannot happen without a fair representation throughout society.

I welcome Sir Quentin Blake's realisation as a very positive step change, and hope that it encourages more storytellers to follow in his footsteps.  

Watch the full interview with Sir Quentin Blake


Digital Marketing Coordinator, KIDS

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