Children’s books across every genre need to feature more black characters in central roles, according to a government-funded report on UK-published literature.

Highlighting figures showing almost a third (32.1 per cent) of primary school pupils in England are from a minority ethnic background, the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) said it was unacceptable that only 4 percent of books published for this age group in Britain last year featured non-white characters.

Noting that the figure dropped to 1 per cent for books in which the protagonist was from a black, Asian, or minority ethnic (BAME) background, researchers demanded authors place non-white characters in roles which are “central” to the narrative rather than “[featuring them only] in the margins”.

The CLPE stressed it was important that “BAME characters should exist across a range of genres” in the report, which found that 56 percent of books featuring non-white characters involved “contemporary realism” issues such as war, refugees, and racism, compared to just 9 percent classed as historical fiction.

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